Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday, and are ready to start dancing again

  • Classes at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma, will resume on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., January 9-May 7. I'll be teaching a beginning lesson at 7 p.m., and an intermediate lesson around 7:45-8:15 p.m., with the rest of the evening filled with dancing to old and new favorites. 
  • Classes at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes will resume on Wednesdays 7-8:15 p.m., January 4-February 8. Note that the first class on January 4 is free for newcomers who want to check out how much fun folk dancing can be. 
  • I'll be teaching several dances taught at this year's Kolo Festival including Retko Kolo (Serbia, taught by Bata Marcetic), Mori Odajo Sarena and Vallja Hajde Merre Furken (both from Albania, and taught by Steve Kotansky), and Kokonjeste (Serbia, with great new music from John Filcich). Also on the list: Tikfesto, Zagarisios, and Troirou (Greece); Boreasca and Joc Batranesc (Rumania), Isu Byala Nedo, Cicovata, and Narodno Horo (Bulgaria); Agadelcha and Hora (Israel).

Beginners, newcomers, and drop-ins are always welcome; hope to see you on the dance floor!

Friday, December 9, 2011

You are all invited to come to our annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party on Monday, December 12, 7-9:30 p.m.!

The first part of the evening will feature dancing to old and new recorded favorites, followed by live Balkan music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka with Nuri Bal on percussion; Barbara Babin on vocals and gadulka; Jim Avera on vocals and gajda; Natalie Hicks on vocals, tambura, percussion, and saz.

All welcome - visitor fee is $7, and drinks and snacks will be provided.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday night dancing in Petaluma continues though December 12, with a special Holiday Folk Dance Party on the last Monday featuring live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka. 

In November and December, I'll be teaching these new dances:
  • Or Chadash - a lively Israeli dance choreographed by Gadi Bitton
  • Staro Bansko Horo - a simple slow Bulgarian dance done to haunting vocals 
  • Ratevka - a popular 8-measure Macedonian dance in SQQ (7/8) rhythm)
And I'll be reviewing a few classics and favorites including: Jove Malaj Mome and Vidinsko Horo from Bulgaria; Tzel Midbar, and Erev Shel Shoshanim from Israel.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I've been teaching these wonderful dances I learned while I was in Greece:
  • Sofka: This lively, flowing dance is from Greek Macedonia.
  • Zaramo: Every festival I went to on my trip featured this simple dance from Greek Macedonia, with a basic pattern in 2/4 rhythm and lots of variations called by the leader.
  • Hora Samson: This popular Pontic dance is done in the classic flat-footed style with double bounces that travel up through the shoulders.
  • Paiduska: Greece has a whole tradition of paidusko-style dances in 5/8 rhythm; this one, from Thrace, has an unusual 11-measure phrasing.
  • Dipat: Dances from many regions of Greece are done in 9/8 rhythm; this one is Pontic, with a three-measure phrase, and is wonderfully hypnotic.
  • Pontic Halay: The beautiful song for this simple, very slow halay talks about how the Pontic people were exiled from their homes by the Black Sea, and how they yearn to return.
  • Zagarios: This dance from Epirus is done in 9/8 rhythm.
  • Tsamiko Konitsa: This beautiful, flowing six-measure tsamiko in 3/4 rhythm is also from Epirus. 
You can click on and watch great versions of Dipat, Tsamiko Konitsa, and Sofka in the Dance Videos section of this blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm just back from a folk dance trip to Greece and Albania - and excited about teaching some of the many dances I learned while I was there. Dances to be taught include Zaramo, one of the most common dances done in Greek Macedonia; a beautiful Greek Pontic Halay; and a lovely Tsamiko from Konitsa.

Here's a photo of our group performing at a glendi in Limno Chori in Greece:

And a photo of a wedding party dancing in the streets in Korca, Albania:

International folk dance classes will be starting up after Labor Day:
  • Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., September 12-December 12, Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue Petaluma
  • Wednesdays 7-8:15 p.m., September 7-October 5, Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes
I'll also be teaching a new daytime line dance class at the Dance Palace on Fridays 9-10 a.m., September 16-October 7.
Hope to see you all on the dance floor!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer folk dancing in Petaluma continues on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma, through August 1. The fall session will start up on September 12 and run through December 12. Every evening will include with a short beginner lesson at 7 p.m., teaching of 2-3 intermediate dances, and lots of dancing to requests plus old and new favorites.

International folk dance classes on Wednesdays 7-8:15 p.m. at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes, will start up on September 7 through October 5. I'll be teaching line dancing at a new morning time on Fridays 9-10 a.m. starting September 16.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I look forward to seeing you all on the dance floor in the fall!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Check out the video of the flash mob I did with my Point Reyes line dance class at the Point Reyes Farmers Market on June 25:

Dance: Russian Rumba
Choreographer: Carol Friedman 2011
Music: Malen'ky Malchik by Leningrad

New line dance class session at the Dance Palace on Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. runs from July 6-20. Summer Dancing in Petaluma on Mondays 7-8:15 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall goes through August 1. Hope to see you all on the dance floor!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Check out the new line dance I've choreographed, called Russian Rumba:

Music is by the Ukrainian band Leningrad, from the soundtrack to the movie Everything is Illuminated. I'm also teaching a basic Zydeco Shuffle, Pata Pata (music by Miriam Makeba), Hine Mah Tov 2 (music by the Miami Boys' Choir), and another new one of mine called I've Got News (music by Johnnie Otis). Line classes are at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes, Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m.; newcomers and beginners are always welcome. We've also got a special surprise event planned for June 25 - stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New line dancing class starts on June 8! Class is Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes.  I'll be teaching some Country Western and Israeli classics, the Zydeco Shuffle, the classic Pata Pata, plus some brand-new line dances I  have choreographed. Great fun, great exercise, great music - all ages welcome, and no partner is required. Stay tuned for a special surprise line dance event in the works...

Summer folk dancing (no instruction, just requests and favorites) will return on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., June 6-August 1, at Herman Sons Hall in Petaluma.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Join us for an evening of Turkish food and dance at Afendi's Turkish Grill, 299 N. McDowell Street, Petaluma, on Monday, May 16, 6-8:30 p.m.

Summer dancing in Petaluma will start on June 6 and run through August 1 (no dancing on July 4), Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall. No instruction during the summer, just dancing to old and new favorites. Bring your requests, or email them to me at

International folk dance class in Point Reyes continues through June 1 (no class May 16). After that, I'll be offering two 3-week sessions of line dancing June 8- 22 and July 7-21. I'll be teaching a few Country Western classics, the Zydeco Shuffle, the classic Pata Pata from South Africa - plus debuting several new line dances I have choreographed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The final class of the current session of Monday night folk dancing in Petaluma is Monday, May 2, 7-9:15 p.m. We'll celebrate the coming of spring and the session's end with an informal party, dancing to requests and old and new favorites. Summer dancing will start on June 6 and go through August 1.

Folk dance classes in Point Reyes continue on Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m. through June 1 (no class on May 18). We're learning these great dances: Romanalul de la Bolitin and Joc Batranesc (Rumania), Indiske Cocek (Rom), Sedi Donka and Drijanovska Racenica (Bulgaria), and a new line dance I've choreographed to music by the Ukrainian band Leningrad that I'm calling Russian Rumba. In June and July, I'll be offering two 3-week line dance workshops in Point Reyes, introducing more new dances I've choreographed plus teaching a wide variety of line dances from around the world.

And do mark your calendars for another fun night of Turkish food and dancing on Monday, May 16, 6-8:30 p.m., at Afendi's Turkish Grill, 499 N. McDowell, Petaluma.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Monday night folk dancing in Petaluma continues through May 2 as follows:
  • April 11 - Teach/review Eilat, Kak Po Logu, Melnik
  • April 18 - no class
  • April 25 - Review of all the dances taught this session
  • May 2 - End of session party
  • Summer session - June 6-August 1 (no dancing July 4)
Here's the Point Reyes class schedule:
  • April 20-June 2 (no class May 19) - New folk dance session on Wednesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m.
  • April 12, May 3 & 17 - Swing & Salsa on Tuesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m.
  • New summer line dance classes will be starting in June (featuring new lines dances I have choregraphed to a great variety of music)!
And be sure to come to our Annual Petaluma Folk Dance Party on Saturday, April 16, 8-11 p.m., at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. The evening features dancing to new and old recorded favorites plus live music by Verna Druzhina.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We've been a 7/8 rhythm roll in class, learning Tik, Laz Bar, Cretan Syrto, Thracian Racenica, and Kyustendilska Racenica. This coming month, I'll be teaching these dances:
  • Mardi Gras Mambo: this is a fun one-wall line dance, to music by The Meters, that I recently choreographed.
  • Dedo Mili Dedo: this Macedonian dance from the Kumanovo region is in 2/4 meter, with two parts.
  • Eilat: this lyrical Israeli dance was choreographed by Shmulik Gov Ari in 1992; the title refers to the southern-most city in Israel.
Be sure to mark your calendars for our upcoming annual Petaluma Folk Dance Party on Saturday, April 16, 8-11 p.m., at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. The evening will include dancing to recorded favorites, plus wonderful live Balkan music with Verna Druzhina.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here are the dances I'll be teaching in the next month:
  • Tesko Velesko: this beautiful Macedonian dance in 12/16 rhythm (SQQSQ) is danced to a song about unrequited love entitled Tri Godini Stana.
  • Thracian Racenica: the Thracian version of the racenica, in 7/8 rhythm (QQS), is generally slower and danced with a lower, heavier styling than the Sop version more commonly danced at Bay Area parties.
  • Tik: this lively and popular Pontian Greek dance can be done in a variety of rhythms, but most commonly 7/8 (QQS).
  • Laz Bar: This is an Armenian fisherman's dance from the Black Sea region, also in 7/8 rhythm; I'll be teaching a lovely, basic village version.
 We'll also be brushing up on all of our Greek dances in preparation for our upcoming dance get-together at Papa's Taverna (5688 Lakeville, Petaluma) on Sunday, March 20 at 4 p.m. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

So many wonderful dances to learn! During the next month, I'll be teaching these dances in Petaluma:
  • Duz Halay - a beautiful 3-part dance from eastern Turkey, taught by Ahmet Luleci
  • Ikariotikos - a lively dance done in shoulder hold that I learned and danced at many parties on the island of Ikaria in Greece
  • Tresenica - this dance from eastern Serbia, taught by Dennis Boxell, has mixed Rumanian and Serbian styling
  • Tri Godini Kate - a sweet Macedonian dance in 2 parts, to lovely music sung by Dragi Spasovski who teaches at Balkan Camp
Swing and Salsa classes continue in Point Reyes on the first and third Tuesdays 7:15-8:30 p.m.; next class is February 1. We'll work on the basic rhythms and steps of both dances, and learn some cool turns. Newcomers and beginners are always welcome.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monday nights in Petaluma we are learning three new dances:
  • Hozanki - a lively Kurdish dance from southeastern Turkey that was taught by Ahmet Luleci at the 2010 Kolo Festival
  • Yareach Limon (Lemon Moon) - an Israeli circle dance choregraphed by Kobi Michaeli in 2000
  • Cumbia Semana - a one-wall line dance choreographed by Ira Weisburd to a tune from Colombia entitled Fin de Semana, performed by Texas musician Fito Olivares
Wednesdays nights in Point Reyes we are learning:
  • Adje Jano and Gori Mare from Serbia, Ciuleandra and Joc de Leagane from Rumania, Ikariatikos from Greece, and Zorba which is an Israeli line dance choreographed by Kobi Michaeli to a contemporary version of theme music from the movie Zorba the Greek
Swing & Salsa classes start on Tuesday, January 18, 7:15-8:30 p.m. at the Dance Palace, 503 B Street in Point Reyes. Newcomers, beginners, drop-ins are always welcome at all classes.