Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy new year! This is a great time to make a new year's resolution to start dancing - for fitness and fun. Did you know that:
  • Mayo Clinic researchers report that dancing helps to reduce stress, increase energy, improve strength, and increase muscle tone and coordination.
  • The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that dancing lowers your risk of heart disease, decreases blood pressure, and strengthens your bones.
  • As an exercise form, dancing is unique because it not only provides the heart-healthy benefits of aerobic exercise - it is also a wonderful social activity that’s just plain fun.
Come join a class: International Folk Dance on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., January 10-May 2, at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue Petaluma and on Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m., January 12-February 16, at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes; Swing & Salsa on the first and third Tuesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m., January 18-May 16, at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A great time was had by all at the Petaluma Snap-Dancers Holiday Dance Party!

Very special thanks to Nuri Bal, Natalie Hicks, Jim Avera, and Barbara Babin of Santa Rosa Vecherinka for the fabulous live music.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You are all invited to an evening of Turkish food and dancing on Monday, December 20, 6-8 p.m., at Afendi's Turkish Grill, 299 North McDowell, Petaluma.

Classes will resume after the holidays -- International Folk Dance at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma, on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. starting January 10-May 2; International Folk Dance at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes, on Wednesdays 7:15-9:30 p.m., January 12-February 16; Swing & Salsa at the Dance Palace on the first and third Tuesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. starting January 18.

Happy holidays to you all!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You are all invited to come to the Petaluma Snap-Y Dancers Holiday Folk Dance Party on Monday, December 13, 7-9:30 p.m.! The evening will feature dancing to favorite recorded music, as well as live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka (Nuri Bal, Barbara Babin, Natalie Hicks, and Jim Avera).

During the month of November, I will be teaching Padez Cacak, a lively Serbian dance that Michael Ginsburg led at a Balkan Camp evening party; Iste Hendek, a classic from Turkey; Severnjasko Paidusko, a Paidusko-style dance in three parts; Garoon, from the Armenian-American community; and Hora de Mina, a dance from Rumania done to new music by Les Yeux Noirs.

On December 6 in Petaluma, I will be reviewing all of the dances we have learned this fall. We'll be taking a break after our end-of-the year party for the holidays, resuming classes on January 10 through May 2. Classes in Point Reyes will continue through December 15, and resume in the new year on January 12.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In both the Point Reyes and Petaluma folk dances classes, we are learning Aj Lipo Ti Je, a beautiful Croatian circle dance in front basket hold. The dance was taught by Zeljko Jergan at the Statewide Festival in June. The song is sung while talking to and from a field or party; the lyrics say "it's nice to seed wheat but nicer when you see two in love."

We're also learning two dances from Macedonia (Changulovo and Elerinka), a very aerobic dance taught by Yuli Yordunav at Balkan Camp (Boaliysko Horo), a Rumanian classic (Vulpuita), two Israeli dances (Al Sadenu and Maria), and a lively Serbian cacak that was danced by Michael Ginsburg at a Balkan Camp party (Padez Cacak).

From 7-7:15 p.m. in Petaluma, I am teaching/reviewing one beginning dance from the repertoire each week. So far, I've gone over Setnja, Rumalaj, Vodeno Horo, and Gori Mare. The week of October 18, I'll be teaching the lovely Rumanian Dance, Hora Mare. Beginners and newcomers are always welcome to join both classes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New international folk dance class sessions will be starting up in Petaluma and Point Reyes next week!

Here's the schedule:

Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma

Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m.,The Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes

I've got a long list of wonderful dances to teach that includes: Changulovo, Dolgoto Oro, Elerinka, Ravno Oro (Macedonia); Boaliysko Horo, Severnyashko Paidushko (Bulgaria), Tremouliastos (Greece), Vulpuita, Hora de Mina (Rumania); Kak Po Logu (Russia); Al Sadenu, Ya Habib, Maria (Israel); Padez Cacak (Serbia), Iste Hendek (Turkey). In Petaluma, I'll teach and/or review a couple of beginning dances during the first 20 minutes if there is a critical mass of newcomers/beginners, then teach 2-3 intermediate or advanced dances around 8 p.m. the rest of the evening will be open dancing to requests and old favorites. We'll also have snacks and drinks each night.

Looking forward to seeing you all on the dance floor!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mark your calendars now for fall 2010 classes:

International Folk Dance in Petaluma: Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., September 13-December 13, at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma

International Folk Dance in Point Reyes
: Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m., September 15-October 27, November 3-December 15, at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes

Ballroom Dance in Point Reyes
: Wednesdays 6-7 p.m. - Cajun, September 15-29; Cha Cha & Rumba, October 13-27; Merengue, November 3-17

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

I'm just back from Balkan Camp where I took fabulous classes with Michael Ginsburg and Yuliyan Yordanuv! I learned many wonderful new dances that I hope to teach in the fall including Dolgoto Oro, Chanugulovo, Turkish Ramo, Shopska Ruchenitsa, and Padez Cacak.

Summer Dancing continues in Petaluma at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. through August 9. Come drop-in on a Monday night any time; bring your requests. And if you want to learn to Salsa Dance, I'll be teaching a 3-week session at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes from July 7-21.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer dancing continues at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma, on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. through August 7. Come with your requests! Beginners through advanced dancers always welcome to drop-in any time.

You can also come join a new 3-week Salsa class session at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes, on Wednesdays 7:15-8:15 p.m., from July 7-21. Great rhythms and music! Learn some basic moves, how to lead and/or follow, and how to just feeling comfortable dancing to the music with your partner.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In Point Reyes, we are learning three wonderful, classic folk dances: Vulpita (Rumania), Jove Male Momaj (Bulgaria), and Ravno Oro (Macedonia). Videos of these dances, as well as other dances taught in 2010, are posted in the "Dance Videos" section of this blog. The Point Reyes class continues through Wednesday, June 12.

Summer dancing starts in Petaluma on June 7 and continues on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. through August 9. Come with your requests! Beginners to advanced dancers are all welcome; this is a great opportunity to just drop-in and see how much fun international folk dancing can be.

You can also join me when I teach a Balkan dance class at the San Francisco Free Folk Festival
at 450 30th Avenue (near Geary), San Francisco, on Saturday, June 12, at 3 p.m. The event features a wonderful variety of dance and music, including an evening folk dance party from 6-8 p.m. with live music by Vecernica.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The spring session of Monday night folk dancing in Petaluma continues through May 3. During the next two weeks, I will be reviewing all the dances I've taught this session:
  • Valle Pogonishte, Moj Maro Moj Marine -- Albania
  • Papuri - Armenia
  • Sandansko Horo, Bucimis, Trite Pati, Dzangurica - Bulgaria
  • Lo Brisa Pe - France
  • Sfarlis - Greece
  • Erev Shel Shoshanim, Klezmer, Hashoshana Parochat, Bat Teiman - Israel
  • Cimpoi, Rustemul, Hora Fetelor, Hora Lautarilor - Rumania
  • Djurdevka, Pljeskavac Kolo- Serbia
  • Ordu, Oropa - Turkey
The last Petaluma class on May 3 will be our traditional end-of-session party. I will teach a 5-week session in Point Reyes on Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. from May 19-June 12. Summer Dancing in Petaluma will start on June 7 and continue through August 9.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New three-week class sessions will be starting up in Point Reyes on Wednesday, April 7-21. From 6-7 p.m., I'll be teaching Salsa - basic rhythms, simple moves, leading and following techniques. From 7:15-8:30 p.m., the focus will be dances from Bulgaria, Rumania, and Serbia (including both a Thracian and Shope racenica, U Cest, and Rustemul). Beginners and newcomers are always welcome; no need to come with a partner.

Monday night classes continue in Petaluma through May 3. In the next few weeks, I'll be teaching Bat Teiman (Israel) and Dzangurica (Bulgaria), and reviewing all the dances we've learned this session. Drop-ins are always welcome.

And I hope to see you all at our annual Petaluma Folk Dance Party on Saturday, April 10, 8-11 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. The first hour will be dancing to old and new recorded favorites; after that, there will be wonderful live Balkan music with Verna Druzhina.

Monday, March 1, 2010

We're learning Valle Pogonishte in both Point Reyes and Petaluma. This is a dance to Albanian music, choreographed by Yves Moreau (a wonderful folk dance teacher who primarily focuses on Bulgarian dance). The dance is based on the traditional Albanian pogonishte step - very much like a Greek sta dyo, in SQQ rhythm, but with a lighter and bouncier style.

There has been much discussion recently in Let's Dance magazine about the value of dancing choreographed dances versus traditional classic dances (though the distinction between one and the other is often subjective). My focus in teaching is find dances that I love, done to wonderful music, whether they be absolutely traditional or not. This dance is indeed choreographed, to great music, and it's wonderfully fun to do.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We are currently learning four dances from Rumania: Rustemul, Cimpoi, Hora Fetelor, and Hora Lautarilor.

Rustemul ("Rustem style") and Cimpoi ("Bagpipe") are Rustem dances from southern Rumania; these line dances are in 5/8 rhythm (QS) and featuring low swinging arms, crossing steps, and galloping.

Hora Fetelor ("Girls' Dance") and Hora Lautarilor ("Fiddlers' Dance") are Hora dances. These large circle dances in 4/4 rhythm are found in many variations throughout the country; they feature walking, leaps, stamps, and grapevine steps and frequently move first to the right and then to the left.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bucimis and Sandansko Horo are both classic Bulgarian dances with wonderfully complex rhythms.

Bucimis is a Thracian dance from the Pazardzik region of central Bulgaria. Dance styling is low and flat footed, with small steps and a constant bounce. The rhythm is 15/16 (QQQQSQQ) - four quick beats followed by a standard shirto (SQQ) rhythm.

Sandansko Horo is from the town of Sandanski in the Pirin (Macedonian) region located in the southeast corner of Bulgaria. The knees have a slight bend, the upper body is erect, steps are small and light. The rhythm is 22/16 (QQQSQQQSQQ) - two standard daichovo (QQQS) phrases followed by two quick beats.

These are challenging, quirky, driving rhythms - fast and relentless, but so very fun and exciting to dance!