Saturday, December 29, 2012

New 2013 folk dance sessions start up in January:

  • Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., January 7-May 6, Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma
  • Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m., January 30-March 13, College of Marin, PE #22, Kentfield
  • Wednesdays 7-8:15 p.m., January 23-February 27, Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes
I'll be teaching new dances and reviewing old favorites including Pustanka (Macedonia), Agadelcha (Israel), Mom Bar (Armenia), Talima (Bulgaria), Paiduskino (Greece) as well as taking time to review basic Balkan party dances (Daichovo, Cetvorno, Triti Puti, Pravo, Syrto, Lesno).

Beginners and newcomers are always welcome! I teach a beginner lesson every week in Petaluma at 7 p.m., and program the evening with easier dances for the first hour; the second hour includes intermediate instruction as well as dancing to more advanced requests and favorites. The College of Marin class is an Emeritus College class with a focus on simple, basic dances anyone can do. 

Note that I will be teaching an Urban Soul Line Dance Workshop on Wednesday, January 23, 7-8 p.m., at the Dance Palace. And mark your calendars now for our Annual Petaluma Spring Holiday Folk Dance Party on Saturday, April 13, 8-11 p.m., at Herman Sons Hall.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We had a great celebrating the third night of Hanukah and dancing at the Annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party on December 10!

Many thanks to Santa Rosa Vecherinka (Nuri Bal, Barbara Babin, Jim Avera, and Ken Genetti) for the wonderful live music as well as to everyone who brought menorahs, drinks, and snacks.

I hope to see you all when we start our winter/spring session on January 7, running though May 6 - Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Come join Petaluma Snap-Y Dancers for our annual Holiday Folk Dance Party with live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka!
  • When: Monday, December 10, 7-9:30 p.m.
  • Where: Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma
  • Admission: $7
  • Music: 7-8:15 p.m. dancing to recorded favorites; 8:15-9:30 p.m. Bulgarian and Macedonian music by Santa Vecherinka featuring Nuri Bal, percussion; Jim Avera, vocals and gajda, and Barbara Babin, vocals and gadulka.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A great time was had by all 
at the International Dance Festival for new Dancers in Petaluma this past Sunday! We had about 120 people attending, many of them newcomers. 

Here are some photos from the event.Thanks go to the California Folk Dance Federation for sponsoring the festival.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Come join Petaluma Snap-Y Dancers and the California Folk Dance Federation for the second annual free International Dance Festival for New Dancers!
  • When: Sunday, October 28, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Where: Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma
  • Admission: Absolute free!
  • With North Bay teachers: Marilyn Smith, Carol Friedman, Susie Shoaf, Jill Breslauer, Elsa Bacher, Leanne Schy, Vincent Taylor and Emma Charlebois

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've been teaching some great new dances in Petaluma and Point Reyes:
  • Joc in Patru -- a charming two-part Rumanian dance from the region of Transylvania (you can check out the video posted on my blog under "Dance Videos")
  • To Milo -- a four-part Greek dance in SQQ rhythm
  • Gaida Preshevare -- a Rom dance from Albania in SQQ rhythm that was taught by both Steve Kotansky and Michael Ginsburg, with the classic Macedonian structure of a basic stationary step followed by traveling steps
  • Eshebo -- a very popular Yemenite-style Israeli dance choreographed by Bebar Shushan (1991); the title means "beautiful" in Algerian
For beginning dancers, I'm teaching a fun International Folk Dance class at College of Marin on Wednesdays from 2:10-3:30 p.m., and you can sign up for the next session (October 31-December 12) at

And note that Petaluma Snap-y Dancers and the California Folk Dance Federation will be co-sponsoring a second annual (and completely free) New Dancers Festival on Sunday, October 28, 1:30-4:30 p.m., at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Here's my schedule for fall dance classes, all starting after Labor Day:

  • Petaluma International Folk Dance -- Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., September 10-December 10, Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma / $65 for the 14-week session or $7 drop-in
  • Point Reyes International Folk Dance -- Wednesdays 7-8:15 p.m., September 12-October 24 (no class September 26) & October 31-December 12 (no class November 21), Dance Palace, 503 B Street, Point Reyes / $55 per 6-week session or $12 drop-in
  • International Folk Dance at the College of Marin -- Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m., September 5-October 24 (no class September 26; CRN# 85133 EC); October 31-December 12 (CRN# 85134 EC), College of Marin, Kentfield, PE Building #12 / $59 per 7-week session, register at:
  • Line Dancing Around the World at Indian Valley College -- Tuesdays 7:10-8:30 p.m., September 4-October 23 (no class September 25, CRN# 85131) & October 30-December 11 (CRN# 85132), Indian Valley Campus, Building 15, Room 170 / $79 per 7-week session, register at:

Everyone welcome - all ages, newcomers, beginners through advanced dancers!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Dancing in Petaluma continues! Come dance to old and new favorites (and bring your requests) on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. through July 30 at Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma.

A few upcoming events to mark on your calendar:

  • Free Line Dance Class at the Point Reyes Farmers Market, Toby's Feed Barn, Point Reyes Station on Saturday, July 14, 9:30 a.m.
  • Live Greek music by Dromeno at Papa's Taverna, Lakeville Highway, Petaluma on Thursday, July 26, 7 p.m.

And note that I will be teaching two new classes in the fall through the Marin Community College District Community Education program: 

  • International Folk Dance on Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m. starting September 5 at College of Marin, PE #22, Kentfield 
  • Line Dancing on Tuesdays 7:10-8:30 p.m. starting September 4 at Indian Valley College in Ignacio.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Summer dancing in Petaluma starts on June 4!

Come dance to old and new favorites (and bring your requests) on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m., June 4-July 30, at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma.

Everyone is welcome - beginners, newcomers, intermediate/advanced dancers - and no partner is necessary. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Almost 100 people came and danced at our Annual Petaluma Folk Dance Party on April 14! 

Special thanks go to musicians Mark and Greg Jenkins, Diana Cross, and Dena Bjornlie who played a fabulous set of Macedonian, Bulgarian and Greek music for our dancing pleasure.

Monday night classes in Petaluma continue through May 7; on April 30 I'll be reviewing all the dances I've taught this session; on May 7 we'll have our annual end-of-session party. Summer dancing in Petaluma will run from June 4-July 28. Wednesday night classes in Point Reyes go through May 9; we're learning a great set of Armenian and Turkish dances.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You are invited to 
Annual Petaluma International Folk Dance Party!

Saturday, April 14, 8-11 p.m.
Dancing to old and new recorded favorites 8-9:15 p.m.
Live music 9:15- 11 p.m.
At Herman Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma
Admission $8

Dena, Diana, Greg & Mark play a great mix of Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Greek dance music. The members of the group are:
Dena Bjornlie: gadulka & vocals
Greg Jenkins: clarinet & vocals
Diana Strong: accordion & vocals
Mark Jenkins: percussion & vocals

Great dance floor, a wide range of music and dancing, and good company!
Sponsored by Petaluma Snap-y Dancers; drinks and snacks provided by the group.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

We hosted two wonderful Armenian dance workshops with renowned dancer, singer and folklorist Hasmik Harutunyan this past weekend.   She taught a wide variety of village dances from various regions of Armenia, including Papouri, Tamzara, Shoror, Ververi, and Kochari as well as two Pontic Armenian dances (Shrapar and Trtrook) and an Armenian version of Sheighana

We'll be reviewing and dancing many of these dances over the next few weeks at the Monday night class in Petaluma. I will also be teaching a 6-week session of Armenian and Turkish dances in Point Reyes from April 5-May 9.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

When I was in Greece last summer attending  a wonderful folk dance seminar, I fell in love with Greek Pontic dances. These dances originated in the area on the shores of the Black Sea, and came to Greece after the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 forced an exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece. 

The rhythm and style of Pontic dances are among the most difficult but also deeply compelling. The movements are sharp, precise; the body help upright, the arms close to the body; the dancers shoulder to shoulder, in closed circles (I was told this was to keep the good in, the evil out). We've been learning and dancing Dolme, Samson, and Dipat.

Throughout the next month, we'll also be reviewing and doing dances (Melnik, Thracian Racenica, Karamfil, Ballos, Eleno Mome, and more) that will be played by Deena, Greg, Lisa & Mark at our Annual Spring Party on April 14, 8-11 p.m., at Hermann Sons Hall in Petaluma. Be sure to mark your calendars now for this fun folk dance event!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's been exciting to welcome so many new students to Monday night dancing in Petaluma! The first half hour of class have been dedicated to teaching, doing quick reviews, and dancing favorite beginning dances including Kokonjeste, Boreasca, Narodno Horo, Lo Ahavti Dai, Rumalaj, Cocek, Ketri Ketri, Ivanica, Adje Jano, Koritsa, and Andro Retourne

 We've also been learning several great intermediate dances: Tikfesto and Mori Odajo Sarena (Greece), Esmer (Turkey), Cicovata and Isu Byala Nedo (Bulgaria), Mindrele (Rumania). Coming up in the next few months will be t'Smidge (Belgium), Giovarlandum (Greece), Retko Kolo (Serbia), and Mojo Mambo (U.S.)

Newcomers, beginners, and drop-ins are always welcome in both Petaluma and Point Reyes Station.