Press Releases

New Book by Mark and Helena Greathouse Shows How Dancing for Fun Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Husband and wife duo encourages activity through contemporary dance and music
Portland, Ore. (PRWEB) March 27, 2015 -- According to Everyday Health, the benefits of dancing include overall fitness, memory boosting, stress reduction and improved flexibility.

To make these health benefits accessible for people of all ages, husband and wife author duo Mark and Helena Greathouse have created “Dancing for Fun,” a collection of folk-inspired, contemporary group dances accompanied by originally composed music.
This beginner level book contains music and choreography with detailed directions and links to YouTube videos displaying the dances, demonstrated by one member of the group, so that individuals of any age and ability can take part in the fun while achieving an active lifestyle.
The inspiration for “Dancing for Fun” came as no surprise to Mark and Helena. When professional musician and composer Mark Greathouse needed to put his music to dance, he looked no further than his accomplished wife to transcribe the choreography. With her many years of experience as a rhythmic gymnastics advanced level competitor, professional coach and international judge, Helena Greathouse was the perfect choice to compliment Mark’s music.
By taking part in these dances individuals will not only learn a new skill, but they will also be exposed to the social and health benefits associated with group dance.
“This book will teach you how much fun it is to dance in a group to melodic music,” Mark and Helena said, “You will feel healthier and happier as soon as you begin.”
The duo’s combined experience has led to a truly beautiful and imaginative compilation of music and dances appropriate for individuals of all ages and ability.
For more information, visit

 “Dancing for Fun, Book 1” 
By: Helena and Mark Greathouse ISBN: 978-1-4917-4750-6
Available in softcover (15.10) and e-book (3.99) Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Store

About the Authors:
Professional musician and composer Mark Greathouse and his wife Helena Greathouse, a rhythmic gymnast, coach, and judge, perform together throughout the world. Besides the United States, the duo also performs in Germany and in Helena’s home country, the Czech Republic.
For review copies or interview requests, contact: Muriel Cross
Online Web 2.0 Version
You can read the online version of this press release here.

Greathouses' life story becomes a show set to music

Created on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 15:47 | Written by Barbara Sherman | Printe

Mark and Helena Greathouse have fun sharing details of their wide-ranging lives

Photo Credit: AMMON RILEY/FOR THE REGAL COURIER - Mark and Helena Greathouse's performance of 'You Do Speak English, Don't You?' includes a compelling story, some great music and many costume changes, all used effectively to tell the story of how they met and married.
Photo Credit: AMMON RILEY/FOR THE REGAL COURIER - Mark and Helena Greathouse's performance of 'You Do Speak English, Don't You?' includes a compelling story, some great music and many costume changes, all used effectively to tell the story of how they met and married.
Very few people can turn eventful moments and experiences in their lives into a song-and-dance act like Helena and Mark Greathouse have done.
An atypical couple – she is from Czechoslovakia and he is from Oregon – who had an improbable meeting on a bus, they have turned parts of their life story into a delightful one-hour show that they appropriately named, “You Do Speak English, Don’t You?”
The title comes from Helena’s experiences being misunderstood at times when she was speaking English and was asked what language she was using.
In the delightful and often-humorous show, the Summerfield residents alternate telling their story, with Helena singing songs, including some written by Mark, who plays the accordion. When she goes offstage to change costumes, he entertains the audience with additional stories and music.
The show showcases Helena’s singing and dancing skills and Mark’s composing and playing talents.
One of their performances took place Sept. 13 at the Beaverton History Center in downtown Beaverton, where a crowd enjoyed hearing their story and seeing the show.
Helena kicks off the show singing “Cabaret” while wearing a slinky black dress and red boa, and the story starts with Mark, who, having majored in German in college, moves to the beautiful city of Hamburg, Germany, for a year to improve his language skills. Being an accomplished accordion player, Mark rented an accordion to play for relaxation.
As Mark talks about his love for Hamburg, Helena reappears wearing a traditional German red, white and blue costume, complete with ruffles and a full skirt.
As students at the University of Hamburg, they both signed up to take a one-day bus trip to northern Germany to see mummified bogmen, who fell into bogs more than 2,000 years ago and were preserved. “That bus ride would change the course of my life,” Mark says.
Helena dons a blue Slovak apron over her costume in anticipation of singing a Slovak “czardas” as the story continues.
On the bus, Helena was anxious to talk to Americans to get their opinions on the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
The timing of their meeting was fortuitous, because Mark explains, “I had just broken up with my German girlfriend the day before. She wanted me to grow out a full beard, and I shaved it off that morning in protest.”
Helena picks up the story, saying, "Luckily for you! Otherwise, we would have talked about the election and nothing else.”
Photo Credit: AMMON RILEY/FOR THE REGAL COURIER - Mark and Helena Greathouse's show includes recreating some of their conversations that actually took place, including the first one when they met on a bus in Germany on the way to see 2,000-year-old mummified bogmen.
Photo Credit: AMMON RILEY/FOR THE REGAL COURIER - Mark and Helena Greathouse's show includes recreating some of their conversations that actually took place, including the first one when they met on a bus in Germany on the way to see 2,000-year-old mummified bogmen.
Sitting on the stage, the couple recreates their first conversation on the bus before their story really takes off, highlighting their performances together in a café and teaching each other about their cultures.
“I was curious if Helena knew anything about the accordion, which she didn’t, so I taught her about it,” adds Mark, demonstrating what an accordion can do.
As Helena’s costume changes reflect the various parts of their lives, Mark continues the story, saying, “After a year and a half, we were married,” and a man in the Beaverton audience said, “Wow!” causing other audience members to laugh.
Almost like a magician pulling rabbits out of a top hat, Helena pulls out props to illustrate their story.
After the couple was married, Mark was anxious to show Helena his country, and they moved first to California and then to Oregon, where Helena’s language problems increased exponentially.
She kept seeing signs in stores that read, “No checks accepted,” and she wondered, Why not Germans? Why not Polish people?
And Helena hated to call people on the phone because they usually would hang up or say she had the wrong number, and she kept being accused of not speaking English.
One time while they were staying at a beach motel, she went to the reception desk to ask if they received PBS programs on Channel 10 and was told that breakfast was served in the lobby until 10 a.m.
For some reason, many people thought Helena was speaking Spanish instead of English with a Czech accent, and she sometimes was asked, “You do speak English, don’t you?” which became the name of their show.
But in real life and in the show, Mark and Helena decide to laugh off the experiences, with her singing, “Who Cares?”
Mark adds, “Don’t take life too seriously…” and Helena bursts into song, “Because life is a cabaret, old chum, so come to the cabaret.”


Sarah Thornton, Gary Romans,
 and Dalene Young
By Tina Arth and Darrell Baker
Evidently, divorce is not always a bad thing. It was allegedly Neil Simon’s split from actress Marsha Mason that indirectly inspiredFools, one of the funniest shows we’ve seen all year. An embittered Simon, faced with a settlement that awarded royalties from his next show to Mason, set out to write a total failure – but happily for audiences, he (ultimately) failed.
Broadway crowds, used to the urbane sophistication of Simon’s usual fare, gave the show a poor reception when it opened in 1981. However, Fools has been delighting less rarefied audiences across the country for the last 33 years, and the current production at the HART clearly illustrates why. The story is absurd, the premise  ridiculous, but Simon’s words, shaped by Director William Crawford and delivered by a strong cast, are genuinely laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Long ago a curse was laid on the inhabitants of a remote Russian village by the angry father of a deceased, less-than-brilliant young man. All of the townsfolk would be forever stupid – really, really stupid – unless the daughter of the (formerly) brightest family in town wed a son of the curse-laying family – OR until a teacher was able to (in 24 hours, no less) nudge the daughter’s IQ toward some unspecified magic number (100?). The teacher falls for the daughter, but realizes that he will never achieve his goal in the time allotted. In a stroke of masterful subterfuge (at least by local standards) the teacher pretends to be a long-lost member of the curse-laying clan, marries the daughter, and releases the town from the curse. Of course, adept audience members (perhaps from another, brighter, village) will discern that the curse should not have been lifted since the conditions were met fraudulently. Remember Dumbo? Timothy the Mouse pulled the same trick, and it worked then, too!
In a solid 10-person cast, clear comic standouts are Gary Romans (Dr. Zubritsky), Dalene Young (his wife Lenya), and Helena Greathouse (Yenchna, the peddler). Romans’ delivery, sense of timing and fluid facial expressions elicit some of the biggest laughs of the evening. Young is his perfect foil – a wide-eyed, good-hearted, slow-witted version of Imogene Coca. Greathouse – earnestly offering flowers as fish from her wagon (why should she suffer just because the fishermen had a bad day?) – plays her role with the intensity of Lady MacBeth, but coming from her it’s a lot funnier.
The roles of straight man and ingénue are generally limited in comic potential by their functions. Mitchell Stephens (the teacher Tolchinsky) and Sarah Thornton (Sophia Zubritzky) overcome this handicap with a combination of acting ability and, let’s face it, sheer cuteness. Thornton’s shining moment, when she demonstrates that she has nearly mastered the art of sitting down, is riveting, and Stephens frequent asides draw the audience into the bizarre, Brigadoon-ish village in which he finds himself.
Nobody plays bewildered better than Tony Smith, and as “Something Something Snetsky,” the Shepherd, he carries on his grand tradition. Brandon B. Weaver’s clipped, delivery (as the evil Count Gregor) bristles with befuddled menace. Thomas Wikle, Debby McKnight, and Jerry Hathaway fill out the cast with the requisite quirkiness.
Fools may be joke-riddled, but the HART was dead serious about the set – it is cleverly designed for ease of movement, and the interiors and exteriors are painted and papered to perfection – even in a relatively short show, audiences appreciate fast scene changes!
Fools runs through Sunday, September 21st with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:00 p.m. on Sundays at H.A.R.T. Theater, 185 S.E. Washington, Hillsboro.
For More Information Visit This Site

Couple creates Great House of Music

Helena and Mark Greathouse are powerhouse in metro music scene
By Barbara Sherman 
The Regal Courier, Dec 28, 2010

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK — Mark and Helena have a piano in their Summerfield home that Mark uses to create his original compositions.

Together, Helena and Mark are a total package: Mark is a composer who plays the piano and accordion, and Helena is a triple threat as a singer, actress and dancer in addition to formerly competing in rhythmic gymnastics and serving as an international judge.  Helena was born in Czechoslovakia, Mark is from Portland, and they met in Europe as college students.  Helena grew up in the beautiful city of Prague, noting that both her father and grandfather were talented musically, "so I sort of inherited the singing from my father's side," she said.
Helena's mother was a dancer and competitive athlete in track and field.
"She was preparing to compete in the sprint and high jump in the 1940 Olympics, which never happened (because of World War II)," Helena said.
When Helena was in the second grade, she started performing with the Czechoslovak National Radio Children's Ensemble, and in the fourth grade, she became a member of a dance group that performed periodically on the Czechoslovak National Television.
"My dance teacher needed someone who could sing and dance for television musicals, so I did that and stage shows from the fourth through the eighth grade," Helena said. "The shows were all for children, and I got paid for the TV as well as for the radio performances."
In the sixth grade, Helena started artistic gymnastics on bars and balance beams, "but I discovered I was scared to do it and switched to rhythmic gymnastics," she said.
Just as war prevented Helena's mother from participating in the 1940 Olympics, the Cold War had an impact on Helena's life.
In June 1968, when finishing her fourth year of university studies, Helena went to Hamburg in what was then West Germany as an exchange student with a group of 10 economics students and two professors.
"We were there for 10 days, and I lived with the family of an associate professor," she said. "Since I knew German well, I was the spokesperson for the group."
In August the Soviet army came with tanks and invaded Czechoslovakia.
"The professor from Hamburg remembered me and offered me a scholarship," Helena said. "Because Czechoslovakia did not have diplomatic relations with West Germany, I couldn't get a West German visa quickly enough to start the fall semester."
She got a transit visa for West Germany that allowed her to stay for two days before supposedly going on to Switzerland, and once in Hamburg, the professor and his wife signed her up immediately at the university, and only then did she go to the West German police to get her long-term visa so she could stay.
While in Hamburg, Helena met Mark, who was a foreign exchange student originally from Portland majoring in German.
He had earned a master's degree from Stanford and was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of California-Berkeley when he took a year off to study in Germany.
"We met on a cheap bus trip for students to go to a museum to see mummies," Helena said. "This was the fall of 1968, and I wanted to know about the election in the U.S., so I went around the bus asking if anyone was from the U.S. Mark was one of four U.S. students on the bus."
Helena and Mark learned they had music in common - Mark started playing the accordion at age 5, about the same age Helena started signing.
"I got a singing engagement in Hamburg at an international café where only foreigners could perform, and I needed an accompanist," she said. "Mark rented an accordion, and we performed twice a week. I was singing Czech and Slovak folk songs. Mark was a fast learner - at our rehearsals, I would just hum the melody, and he got it.
"During our programs I would explain in German about the songs, and no one knew he was American. He never said a word, and when we finished performing there in July 1969, the MC said, 'We want to thank our Czech friends.'" 

There were cheap flights to the U.S. for students, and Helena went with Mark for the rest of the summer. She got sponsors and was able to obtain a U.S. visa. Helena and Mark bought Greyhound tickets available for purchase only in Europe that allowed them to travel all over the U.S.
They met Mark's parents in Berkeley, and when the summer was over, Helena took a bus back to New York and flew home, where she had one more year of school to get her master's degree.
"We decided we would get married in a year, and I wanted the wedding to be at the Old Town Hall in Prague, but you had to sign up eight months in advance to get the space," Helena said. "Also, in order to get married, Mark had to get a certificate saying he was not married. Technically he would need one from every US state since there is no central registration of marriages in the U.S. But he went to the Oakland City Hall and after explaining the situation, he got a certificate that worked."
Mark came to Prague in June 1970, and they were married that month. They went on a honeymoon around Czechoslovakia, and in September Mark returned to Berkeley to continue as a teaching assistant at the university.
Helena finished school in Prague, receiving her master's degree in economics and statistics, and then joined Mark in the U.S.
When Helena couldn't get a job using her economics degrees, she found work teaching gymnastics in Oakland and other places in the Bay Area.
They moved to the Portland area in 1974, where Helena taught rhythmic gymnastics, "which was totally new in the U.S."
She added, "I was one of the founding mothers of rhythmic gymnastics in the U.S."
Helena ultimately worked for Bonneville Power Administration for 20 years as a mathematician, "but I always did gymnastics judging on the side," she said.
Helena served as an international rhythmic gymnastics judge between 1974 and 2003, including three World championships, Pan Am and Good Will Games, and two Olympics.
Meanwhile, Mark also got a job at Bonneville Power Administration, where he initially worked with the computer information center (help desk) and later with computer operations, where he served as liaison and overseer between the computer contractors and BPA.
During that time Mark started composing music and took an early retirement in 1999 so he could spend more time composing and taking piano lessons. His original instrument was the accordion, and he wanted to compose music for the piano.
Helena took an early retirement in 2001 and started taking singing lessons again.
In 2003, the couple started performing together and formed the Great House of Music to provide various forms of entertainment, including vocal and instrumental ethnic music with dance; accordion solos; oldies, familiar melodies and music from musicals; classical and modern vocals with choreography; and vaudeville.
Helena has performed in numerous local productions at such venues at Imago Theatre, Beaverton Civic Theatre, Clackamas County Theatre, Opera Theatre Oregon and MCO (Music, Comedy, Opera) Productions.
"And we do private parties," Helena said.
Mark has now composed more than 40 pieces, according to Helena.
"He has a composition teacher, who thought Mark's compositions would be suitable for group dances," Helena said.
A Portland modern dance choreographer choreographed 12 dances to go with Mark's melodic piano compositions for their first book, and Helena's niece, a former soloist with the State Opera House who now teaches dance in Prague, choreographed the dances for the second book to go with more of Mark's compositions. 

In 2010 Mark and Helena published the first book of "Dancing for Fun," which has a dual purpose: For piano students, there is sheet music and a CD; for dance students, there is written choreography and a DVD.
The second book, which will be published in February 2011, includes 10 additional original compositions, written choreography, a CD and a DVD.
The couple also has produced five CDs. The latest two CDs are "Across the Board," which includes a wide range of vocal selections and Mark's own piano compositions, and "Czech & Slovak Folk Music," which is a collection of folk songs, including four Christmas carols. 

In 2010 Mark and Helena were in the West Coast judges' round of "America's Got Talent," which was held in Portland. They were one of 400 acts that advanced from the 70,000 initial entries nationwide.
Mark's mother Kathryn Greathouse, who used to live in Summerfield, died in 2001, and Mark and Helena moved into the house in 2002.
For more information on Mark and Helena, their performances and their books and CDs, visit or call 503-968-2364.
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