Friday, September 29, 2017

Dances from Albania - and more

I've been focusing on dances from Albania learned from Steve and Suzy Kotansky in my international folk dance classes at College of Marin and in Petaluma. These are all dances Steve and Suzy saw and danced while they were traveling in southern Albania earlier this year. 

As opposed to what has frequently been in the international folk dance repertoire, these dances are not highly choreographed; there's a basic pattern, with perhaps a variation or two. Several of them are quite similar to dances done in bordering countries: Elenoqi and the Bulgarian dance Svornato are both in 9/8 rhythm with a 4-measure pattern; Valle Katushkes is basically a paidushko (Bulgaria and Macedonia), but danced in a 6/8 rhythm that also changes the styling; Valle e Isuf Apart is much like a Greek tsamiko. And all of the music is wonderful.

You can come learn all of these dances - plus some old favorites (Horehronski Cardas, Bufcansko), my latest favorite Israeli dance (Tzil Ha Emek), a new line dance I just learned (Summer Night Cha Cha) plus lots more on Monday nights in Petaluma (drop-ins are always welcome) and at my College of Marin class on Wednesdays (next session starts October 25; for this class you need to register for the full session in advance at ).

Note that there are numerous videos of dances that I am currently teaching, as well as others I've taught previously, on this blog in the Dance Video section.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about the dances or my classes at or 415-663-9512.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Launch into Fall with Folk Dancing!

The beginning of September marks the beginning of new folk dance class sessions! Here's my schedule:

  • Petaluma Monday Night Folk Dancing: Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., September 11-December 11, at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. Cost is $65 for the 14-week session, or $7 drop-in.
  • College of Marin International Folk Dance Class: Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m, September 6-October 11 and October 25-December 6 (no class on November 22), at PE#2, Kentfield Campus. Cost is $59 for 6-week session (ESCOM members); register at
  • Israeli Folk Dancing: Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m., September 7-October 19 (no class September 21) and October 26-December 6 (no class November 23), at Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road. Cost is $25 members, $35 non-members per 6-week session (register at the front desk), or $7 members, $9 non-members drop-in.

Newcomers, beginners, and experienced dancers are always welcome. I hope to see you on the dance floor!

If you have questions, or need more information, please feel free to contact me at or 415-663-9512.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Dance for Kids!

Every summer I have the great pleasure of teaching folk dancing for kids at my local summer camp. I've developed a repertoire of dances from all over the world that work for kids ages 6-14. 

I look for certain basics - fun lively music, lots of stomping and clapping, easy step patterns, and cultural diversity. And I always give myself the liberty to simplify and modify as appropriate. Here are some of the dances my kids love:
  • Singing' in the Rain (U.S.)
  • Syp Simeon (Russia)
  • Zemer Atik (Israel)
  • La Mariposa and Chilili (Bolivia)
  • Zimbole (South Africa)
  • Huayno (Peru)
  • Cupid Shuffle (U.S.)
  • Chicken Dance (surprising, originally from Germany)
  • Macarena (Spain)
  • Hukilau (Hawaii)
  • Hoe Ana (Tahiti)
I've been teaching long enough that kids returning to camp come up to me and request favorites. And, living in a small town, one of the very best things is when I run into one of my kids in town, and they point to me and say "that's my dance teacher!"

Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to some tips about teaching kids, or if you'd like me to come and teach a workshop.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer Dancing

You can come to all-request international folk dancing in Petaluma or Israeli folk dancing in San Rafael with me this summer:

  • Summer Folk Dancing is on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma starting June 5 and running through August 7. There will be no formal instruction, but the first hour will be easy, fun dances and I'll be there to help newcomers and beginners jump into the dance circle. The rest of the evening we'll be dancing to requests, so bring your list of favorites. Cost is $5 per evening.
  • Israeli Folk Dancing is happening at the Osher JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael on Thursdays 1:30- 4 p.m. through June 1, and then again from July 6-27. The first hour is a beginner session; then I'll teach a couple of intermediate/advanced dances, and then we'll dance to requests. Cost is $7 drop-in.

Hope to see you on the dance floor!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dancing to Fabulous Balkan Music by Staro Vino

A great dancing time was had by all at our 
Annual Spring Folk Dance Party on April 22 
with live music by Staro Vino!

Monday night dancing in Petaluma continues through May 1, then resumes for Summer Dancing on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma from June 5 to August 7.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Party time!

You are invited to the Annual Petaluma Spring Folk Dance Party on Saturday, April 22!

  • Time: 7:30-10:30 p.m.
  • Place: Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma
  • Admission: $10
  • Format: The first hour will be dancing to old and new recorded favorites, followed by fabulous live Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Greek music by Staro Vino.
  • Musicians: Mark Jenkins, percussion and vocals; Greg Jenkins, clarinet and vocals; Peter Bonos, trumpet;  Andrew Cohen, accordion and vocals.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Spring Folk Dance Class Schedule

Here's what's up for the spring:

Monday night dancing in Petaluma continues at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue through May 1 (no class April 9). Drop-ins and newcomers are always welcome. 

We had a wonderful evening dancing with the Yale Women's Slavic Chorus members and listening to their beautiful singing on March 13. Our next big event will be our Annual Spring Folk Dance Party on April 22 with live music by Staro Vino.

My next College of Marin of Marin International Folk Dance Class starts on April 5 and runs through May 10 on Wednesdays 2:30-3:30 p.m. in PE#22 on the Kentfield campus. I'll be teaching a lovely new dance from Croatia and a Finnish circle dance in waltz rhythm plus favorites from Macedonia, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Romania, and Bulgaria. you can register now for this class at:

Israeli Folk Dancing at the Osher JCC, 200 San Pedro Road, San Rafael, continues through April 13 (no class on March 23) on Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. Newcomers, beginners, experienced dancers, drop-ins, and all ages are always welcome. You don't have to be a JCC member (or Jewish) to attend the class. The first hour I'll teach easy classic dances, then I'll be teaching/reviewing Salamati and Shir Ahava L'Rhodus, and then we'll dance to requests. You can come just for the first hour or stay for the whole class; register and pay at the JCC front desk.