Monday, May 9, 2016

Great Dances, Great Crowd, Great Music!

Our Annual Petaluma Spring Folk Dance Party was a big success! Over 75 dancers came from as far north as Napa and as far south as Watsonville to dance to old and new recorded favorites as well as fabulous live Balkan music by Staro Vino:


Barbara Bevin leading a lively Cocek with Risa Aratyr and Gay Knight:



Wonderful selection of music from Greece, Bulgaria, and Macedonia with Peter Bonos on trumpet, Greg Jenkins on clarinet, Andrew Cohen on accordion, and Mark Jenkins on percussion:

Summer dancing in Petaluma starts up on Monday, June 1, 7-9:15 p.m., and runs through August 1 at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. My College of Marin class is taking a break for the summer, but you can dip into Israeli dancing at the Osher JCC, 200 N. Pedro Road, San Rafael on Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. through mid-July. Newcomers, drop-ins, all ages, beginners through advanced dancers always welcome!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Party time in Petaluma!

It's party week at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma:

We're having our end-of-session party on Monday, May 2, 7-9:15 p.m. All requests, and lots of fun. Admission for drop-ins is $7; refreshments provided.

And you're invited to our Annual Spring Folk Dance Party on Saturday, May 7, 7:30-10:30 p.m. The first hour will be dancing to old and new recorded favorites. After the, we'll be dancing to the lively and beautiful Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Greek sounds with live music by Staro Vino featuring Greg Jenkins (clarinet and vocals), Mark Jenkins (percussion and vocals), and Andrew Cohen (accordion and vocals). Admission $10; refreshments provided.

Put on your dancing shoes and come join us!



Friday, February 19, 2016

More great dances!


Here's a great photo of Bob, Paul, and Steve dancing in Petaluma. We started off this month by traveling to Northern Greece with these dances that I learned from Yannis Constantinou:

  • Sofka, a wonderful lively dance from the Florina area
  • Tsotso, also known as Aloniotikos
  • Baidushkino, a Greek version of paidushko that typically alternates between lift-steps and step-steps, but in 2/4 rhythm rather than the Bulgarian 5/8

Next we'll be digging into the repertoire with these old favorites:

  • Sestorka ("Dance in Six"), a wildly aerobic dance from east Serbia that gets faster and faster
  • Mogilce, a two-part Macedonian wedding dance in 11/16 rhythm introduced by Atanas Kolarovski
  • Koljovo Horo ("Kolyo's Dance"), a Tropanka-style dance from Dobrudza introduced by Yves Moreau

In the Israeli dance class in San Rafael, we've been tackling the complex but so very fun Bati Elecha, choreographed in 2011 by Eyal Ozari - and at the College of Marin we're working on Ciganskoto ("The Gypsy's Dance") which is a a big new favorite in the Bulgarian dance scene.

Note that beginners,and newcomers are always welcome in all my classes; and you can drop-in any time on Monday nights at Herman Songs Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma or Thursday afternoons at the Osher JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 


Monday, December 28, 2015

Lots of great dances on the list for 2016!

Monday night dancing in Petaluma will start on January 4 and run through May 2 (no class April 18) from 7-9:15 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. I'm planning to teach Abdala, Kulsko Horo, Dramskoto (Bulgaria); Skudrinka (Macedonia); Malhao (Portugal); TsotsoSofka (Greece), and Passa Torrau (Italy). Cost is $65 for the 17-week session, or $7 drop-in. You can register for the session at the first class.

Israeli Folk Dancing at Osher Jewish Community Center, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael will resume the first week in January on Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. with two 6-week sessions: January 7-February 18 (no class January 21) and March 3-April 7. I'll be teaching two favorites: Or Chadash and Bati Elecha. Cost is $30 per 6-week session, or $7 drop-in. You can register and pay at the JCC front desk.

The College of Marin International Folk Dance Class is on Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m. at PE#22 on the Kentfield Campus. Sessions are scheduled February 3-March 16 ($60 for the 7-week session), and March 30-May 11 (no class April 13 or 20; $45 for the 5-week session). You can register at: http://marincommunityed.comhttp://marincommunityed.com

Looking forward to dancing with you!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Da! Mozhem Rocked the House!

Fabulous music, wonderful crowd, and great dancing 
at our Annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party 
with live music by Da! Mozhem:




Happy holidays, and I hope to see you all on the dance floor when classes resume in Petaluma, at College of Marin, and at the Osher Jewish Community Center in 2016!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Party Time!

You are all invited to the Annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party
 Monday, December 14, 7-9:30 p.m.
at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma.

The evening will feature dancing to old and new recorded favorites 
plus fabulous live Balkan music by Da! Mozhem.


Da! Mozhem plays a great mix of Balkan and international music. With veterans of many well-loved groups including the People's International Silver String Macedonian Band, Westwind, the Slavonian Traveling Band, and Born to Drone, Da! Mozhem plays a lively and beautiful variety of folk dance music on tradition and modern instrument 
and sings lush multi-part harmonies. 

Admission is $10; all ages, dancers and listeners, welcome. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Romanian Hora, Israeli Hora

I’ve been teaching dances this fall in Petaluma and at the College of Marin that I learned on my summer folk dance trip to Romania. And I have just started teaching an Israeli folk dance class at the Osher Jewish Community Center in San Rafael.

The connection between these two dance cultures is fascinating and deep. For starters, both countries use the word hora. And yet – despite what you might think – the word itself does not translate literally to dance in either Romanian or Hebrew. Joc is the Romanian word for dance (it also means play – a dual translation I quite like). Machol is the modern Hebrew word for dance. If you take it back to the Bible, there are many more including karar (to dance or whirl), chagag (to move or celebrate in a circle), rakad (to dance and jump and leap), and alats (jump or dance for joy).

Here’s the Webster dictionary translation of hora: “a traditional Israeli or Romanian circle dance.”

Hora Nirkoda, Hora Bialik, Hora Chassidit, Hora Agaditi, Hora Medura – all of these are early Israeli folk dances done with simple steps, typically two or three patterns, using lots of grapevines and running steps, moving primarily to the left and then frequently moving in and out of center, in 4/4 rhythm with phrases of 4 or 8 measures. All are closed circle dances, without a leader.

Hora Mare de la Munte, Hora de Mina, Hora Lautareasca din Dolj, Hora pe Sase – all of these Romanian folk dances are done in closed circles as well, with similar styling and steps.

Romanian music also rings of klezmer – due to the Jewish musicians (along with their Romany counterparts) who traveled throughout the country providing music for parties and holidays and celebrations.

It’s a big world, and yet we are all remarkably connected through music and dance.