Dancing in the Isles (of Greece) – September — WAIT LISTED

Led by Jim May, Professor Emeritus of Classics, and Rick Newton, Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies at Kent State

September 6–22, 2018


Once again this program is full and wait listed. However, with departure still nearly a year away, anything can happen. I encourage you to contact me to add your name to the wait list in case space opens up again. 

The June program filled so quickly that we’ve added a September departure!

Join us for a slightly different sort of study tour to Greece, the Cradle of Western Civilization. During the day, we will, as usual, explore many of the legendary sites of Ancient Greece, including Athens, the birthplace of democracy and the home of the Acropolis; the renowned oracles at Delphi and Dodona; Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games; Butrint, Albania (the ancient site of Buthrotum), a thriving seaport in ancient Greek and Roman times; Corinth, where St. Paul lived and worked for a time; and the islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Ithaca (home of Odysseus!), and Kefalonia. In addition to well-known sites, we will, as always, visit places off the beaten path of typical tourist attractions. In the evening, after our archaeological visits, we will delve into the modern side of Greek culture as we learn about the traditional music and dances of Greece by attending performances, participating in sing-alongs, and actually learning the dance steps to many Greek dances that are still performed today at any of several Greek celebrations.

Our time in the islands will be spent on our own private yacht, Aegiotissa (“The Aegean Lady”), equipped with two-bedded cabins, for a group of only 20 people (see photos below). As we sail from island to island, we will stop at each to take in the ancient sites, explore the local culture, and learn a dance step or two! Along the way, we will learn about the history of Greece, both ancient and modern, sample delicious Greek cuisine, and experience first-hand philoxenia, legendary Greek hospitality, for which the country and its people, from the time of Homer, are justly famous.

Jim May, who has led more than two dozen study tours to Greece, will be joined by his good friend and colleague, Rick Newton, as co-leader of the group (see below for more extensive biographies). Rick and Jim have been close friends for over 30 years; they have gone on pilgrimage together to Mt. Athos, the Holy Mountain, and have spent many an hour singing and dancing to Greek folk music. Rick, in addition to his training in classics, is an expert in all forms of Greek music and dance, and will be our chief instructor in song and dance. Rick and Jim will also be joined by their wives, Evangeline and Donna, veterans of many sojourns in Greece.

Program Leaders  

Jim May has taught at St. Olaf since 1977. He was named the Kenneth O. Bjork Distinguished Professor in 2014. He is the author of many articles and chapters on Cicero, classical rhetoric, and Latin pedagogy, as well as a book entitled Trials of Character: The Eloquence of Ciceronian Ethos, an annotated translation (co-authored with Jakob Wisse) of Cicero’s On the Ideal Orator, two textbooks, 38 Latin Stories and 46 Stories in Classical Greek (both co-authored with Anne Groton; the Greek reader won the Ladislaus J. Bolchazy Pedagogy Book Award for 2016), and A Cicero Reader: Selections from Five Essays and Four Speeches with Five Letters. He edited Brill’s Companion to Cicero: Oratory and Rhetoric. His latest book, How to Win an Argument: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Persuasion, is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

May received the Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics from the American Philological Association (now the Society for Classical Studies) in 1986, and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in 1991. Former President of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South and the Classical Association of Minnesota, May has held two NEH Fellowships and directed two NEH Summer Seminars for School Teachers. He was Provost and Dean of St. Olaf College from 2002 to 2011.

In his spare time May competes in handball, restores antique trucks, cars, and tractors, builds harpsichords, plays baroque instruments, chants (Gregorian-style), and sings in a Renaissance chamber choir. Besides having visited Greece 35 times, his greatest claim to fame is having rowed the trireme Olympias around the Aegean Sea in 1990.

Rick M. Newton is Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies at Kent State University, Ohio, where he taught language, literature, and culture courses in ancient Greek, modern Greek, and Latin for 35 years. He served as Chair of the KSU Department of Modern and Classical Languages and holds the Kent State College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award. He has published over 50 articles and chapters on Homer and Greek tragedy in classical journals and books and produced over 30 translations of modern Greek writers. He holds the 2002 Translation Prize from the Modern Greek Studies Association of North and South America and a 2014 English PEN Award from Arts Council England. With his wife Evangeline, Professor Emerita of Education at the University of Akron, and two other KSU colleagues, he has co-authored 22 books, including a Kindergarten-through-High-School curriculum series that teaches Greek and Latin roots as the foundation of academic vocabulary. The series is in use in all 50 of the United States.

An avid philhellene from his undergraduate student days in Athens, Rick is passionate about modern Greek music and folk dancing. He has led students and colleagues on study tours and lectured on Cunard cruise ships, teaching British, American, and German tourists how to “dance in the isles.” A chanter in the Greek Orthodox Church and holder of a diploma in Applied Orthodox Theology, with specialization in Byzantine iconography, Rick has immersed himself in all things Greek, from ancient to modern, from classical to Christian, from alpha to opa.

See the full itinerary.

What to Expect  

Greece is a mix of modern and rustic. Large cities have all the usual amenities, while smaller towns and rural areas may feel like a step back in time, with an unhurried air, and warm, friendly people.

Greece is not handicapped accessible. Though we will transfer between cities by air-conditioned private motor coach, you should be prepared for lots of walking. Greece is full of tiny streets, mountains, hills and dales — places a bus just can’t get to. To participate you must be in good physical condition, able to walk up to 5 miles per day, on frequently rough and uneven terrain. You should be able to tolerate walking in heat, and should probably not be prone to sea-sickness (although the seas are generally calm in September in the Ionian Sea, winds can come up and cause some tossing and turning on the yacht). And, ideally, you should not be shy about getting out of your seats to try new dance steps!

Hotels will be tourist class (typically three or four star) with private baths, air conditioning and English-speaking staff. In smaller towns, we often secure the best hotel available, which may be two star (small sleeping rooms, and fewer amenities such as in-room coffee making service). Rooms are typically much smaller than guests are used to in the United States.

Our vessel is a 20-passenger yacht, plus 6–7 crew members. All cabins are lower-berth with en-suite bathrooms, twin beds, air conditioning, and heat. The average cruising speed is 11 knots. Keep in mind that this is not a large cruise ship (such as Princess or Carnival lines) or even a barge-type ship like a Viking River Cruise. Both individual rooms and the social areas are small, and there are no amenities on board such as casinos, a spa, or multiple restaurants.

September weather in Greece is generally even more delightful than in June — averaging 60s (Fahrenheit) in the evenings, and 70-80 during the day. Keep in mind that these are averages and that temperatures could fluctuate by 5 to 10 degrees in either direction. We recommend packing light layers than can be added or removed as you move through the course of the day and evening.

When on land, most days we will depart the hotel between 8 and 9 a.m.; we will coordinate our departure time in order to maximize our time at that day’s sites. We will stop for lunch at some point in the early afternoon (usually between 12 noon and 2 p.m.). Often we will resume our program after lunch, visiting another site or museum. We will try to avoid the hottest part of the day, but sometimes being out in the sun will be inevitable. Some days will have several hours of free time; others will have very little or none at all. We try to return to the hotel in time to relax and freshen up for dinner. Greeks eat dinner much later (particularly in the summer months) than do Americans, and dining for the Greeks is much more than eating; it is time to socialize, to sing, to dance, and generally to experience fellowship with friends. We generally arrange for our evening meals between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. This can make for long days on certain days.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit cdc.gov or who.int.

Program Fee  

The program fee is $6,700 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes discussions led by Jim May and Rick Newton, assistance by Donna May and a national guide, accommodations, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, admissions for group activities, ground transportation during the program, gratuities to group guides, drivers, ship’s crew and meal servers, and some medical coverage while overseas. There are no single berths available on the yacht; however you may inquire about the cost of reserving an entire cabin.

Because of the yacht size, this program is open to a maximum of 18 participants. The cruise portion makes the program fee higher than those in the past, but is certainly less than chartering a private yacht from other tour operators.

Airfare to and from Greece is not included. Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: Airfare between your home town and Greece • Airport transfers in your home town and Greece • Any passport fees • Any recommended immunizations or vaccinations • Baggage insurance • Trip cancellation insurance above $2,000 lifetime coverage • Beverages at group meals • Laundry • Dry cleaning • Phone charges • Room service or other items of a personal nature • Expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities • Lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary.

A minimum of 15 participants is needed for this program to go. The latest go/no-go decision date is May 1, 2018. If the program fills before then, the go call may be made sooner. Due to the yacht size, maximum registration is 18 participants.

More Information and Important Documents   

See immunization or entry requirements.

Or check out our other Resources, including frequently asked questions, included travel insurance, general health information, and more.



Payment and Refund Schedule

Terms and Conditions

Release and Waiver

For Participants