Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Party: A Great Time Was Had By All

Our Annual Holiday Folk Dance Party on December 12 was a great success! 

Santa Rosa Vecherinka played a wonderful selection of Macedonian and Bulgarian dance tunes.

Over 60 dancers came and danced all night.

Monday night dancing in Petaluma will start up again on January 2 and run through May 1 - Mondays 7-9:15 p.m. at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue Petaluma. Newcomers, beginners through advanced dancers, all ages, drop-ins always welcome.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It's Not Just Folk Dancing

These past few weeks, folk dancing has felt like more than just fun and community. It has felt like family, a refuge, a safe place. During the week after the election, folks walked into every class looking despondent and shell-shocked.

So I told them that we would not be talking about politics; we would simply dance. And that wonderful magical thing happened – I put the music on, we took hands in our circle, our feet found the steps, and by moving together in harmony and unison we found what is best in all of us and our country and our world.  By the end of each class, everyone was laughing and happy. 

These weeks have been a reminder of how central and important and wonderful this thing called folk dancing is. Of how important it is for all of us to cherish our dancing communities. So here’s a shout-out to my students, fellow dance teachers, and fellow folk dancers. Let's all keep dancing into the new year - and beyond.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dancing with Bulgarika!

Over 50 people braved the rain to come and dance to the soulful traditional Bulgarian sounds of Bulgarika this week! 

Fabulous musicians Nikolay Kolev on gadulka, Donka Koleva on vocals, Temelko Ivanov on kaval, and Nikolay Kodzhabashev on tambura were joined by the Bay Area's own Dan Auvil on percussion for a wonderful evening of music and dancing.


Devetorka, Daichovo, Cetvorno, Paidushko, Triti Puti, Eleno Mome, Dospatsko Horo - we danced them all. Highlights of the evening including two wonderful medleys of Pravo and Les Noto melodies sung by Donka Koleva. 


Be sure to join us again for our Annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party at Hermann Sons Hall on Monday, December 12, 7-9:30 p.m., featuring live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Parties & Classes & New Dances!

Come party!
Dance to the traditional Bulgarian sounds of Bulgarika on Monday, October 24, 7-9:30 p.m., at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. Admission is $10 for visitors, $5 for those already signed up for the fall session.

And mark your calendars now for our Annual Holiday Party with live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka on Monday, December 12, 7-9:30 p.m.

New sessions starting!
College of Marin International Folk Dance Class on Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m. in PE#22, Kentfield Campus, starts November 2 and runs through December 7.
The next session of Israeli Folk Dancing on Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. starts on October 27 and runs through December 8 at the Osher JCC in San Rafael. 

New dances!
We've been learning Rum Dum Dum, a fun and lively dance to Serbia music choreographed by Ira Weisburd:
And Rokdim Yechefim is my latest favorite Israeli dance that I'll be teaching:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Old & New Dances for Fall 2016

Fall is approaching, fall classes are underway, and I'm having fun teaching some dances that are new for me plus some old favorites:

Kotsakia is a wonderful Greek island syrto from Naxos; it was my favorite new dance that I learned from Joe Graziosi at Balkan Music and Dance Camp this past summer:

Kostursko Oro is an lovely old Macedonian favorite that's beautiful and quirky and fun to dance, with a 6-count dance phrase done against standard 4/4 rhythm:

Enigma is a lively, complex, contemporary Israeli dance choreographed by Robert Haddon in 2001:

Ashrei Ha'ish is a longtime favorite Israeli dance choreographed in 1982 by Dani Dassa:

Newcomers, beginners to advanced dancers, all ages, and drop-ins are always welcome in the International Folk Dance Class on Mondays 7-9:15 p.m at Hermann Sons Hall in Petaluma and the Israeli Folk Dancing class on Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. at the JCC in San Rafael. Come dance!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Fall Folk Dance Schedule

Hope you're all having a fabulous summer!

I'm looking forward to seeing you on the dance floor after Labor Day when all of my classes start up again. Here's the schedule:

  • Mondays 7-9:15 p.m.-- Petaluma International Folk Dancing starts September 12 and goes through December 12 at Hermann Sons Hall, 860 Western Avenue, Petaluma. Cost: a mere $65 for the 14-week session, or $7 drop-in. Beginner lesson at 7 p.m., intermediate lesson at 8 p.m., and lots of time for dancing to requests. You can register for the session at the first class
  • Wednesdays 2:10-3:30 p.m. -- International Folk Dance at the College of Marin; first fall session is September 7-October 19 (no class October 12), second is November 2-December 7. Cost is $54 per 6-week session (for ESCOM members); no drop-ins. Please register in advance no later than September 1 at
  • Thursdays 1:30-4 p.m. -- Israeli Folk Dancing at Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. First fall session is September 8-October 13, second session is October 27-December 8 (no class on November 24). Cost is $30 per 6-week session, $7 drop-ins (cheaper for JCC members). To register, call 415-444-8000.
Beginners through advanced dancers, newcomers, all ages always welcome.

And mark your fall calendars for these special events:
  • Monday, October 24, 7-9:30 p.m. -- Folk Dance Party with live music by Bulgarika
  • Monday, December 12, 7-9:30 p.m. -- Annual Petaluma Holiday Folk Dance Party with live music by Santa Rosa Vecherinka.

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.