Sunday, February 28, 2010

Morningside Demonstration - Wheel chair dancing

The Charlottesville International Folk Dancers were invited to do a demonstration at Morningside Retirement Home on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010. The facility had an International Theme for their monthly family dinner. They were a very receptive and appreciative audience. I only regret that I "asked" them to do a dance with us instead of just telling them that part of the "program" was audience participation. I lost my nerve because I hadn't done it before.

Zemer Atik is a perfect dance that can be adapted to wheelchair dancing. The first time I saw wheel chair dancing was in Ohio performing with Zivili in an outdoor festival. If anyone out there has some other ideas about dances to include in demonstrations with people who cannot fully participate, please reply to this post or email me at .

Of course, had I tried to do it on Thursday, I would have been "Flying by the seat of my pants", because I had only thought of the idea a couple of hours earlier. Now, I have more time to plan the specifics. Once I fully think it through, I will post the plans.

Another Day, Another Dance!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dancing after the Big Snows

People must still be digging out because not as many dancers came out to dance. The sun is still shining when we leave our house for folk dancing YEH :)! The dances reviewed last night were Siganos, Lilijano Mome, Dhivaratikos, Hora la Trei, and Vlashko. At this time I am unable to put the appropriate symbols on letters, so some of the dances are spelled phonetically in English.

You Tube has a Siganos @, couldn't find it on dancilla, or in Dick Oakes' dance notes.

I couldn't find any videos of the other dances that we reviewed this week. Another reason to post the videos as a review on this blog.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Technical Difficulties and First Video Instruction

Yes, I've been having technical difficulties in that the email address for this blog always goes to spam and is sent right back to me! Please email me with comments on this blog at and please add it to your address book.

Now for the videos. They are password protected so that only the participants from Charlottesville International Folk Dancers and guests are permitted to view them. In the future we may open them up to the public. This week it is instruction for Dhivaratikos.

Dhivaratikos 1 from M B Shaw on Vimeo.

Dhivaratikos 2 from M B Shaw on Vimeo.

Dhivaratikos 3 from M B Shaw on Vimeo.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Just received updated information from the MIT International Folk Dance Group ( ). Thank you.

It is exciting to have others support our efforts. In the coming weeks, we will continue to contact other organizations for their input.

The last post was a little serious. I just wonder how we can decrease the frustration of beginners. We naturally want them to come back. Unfortunately, we have many who try it but don't return. The MIT site has a "Catechism for Beginners". Any other suggestions? Please let us know.

Another Day, Another Dance.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Leaders vs. Followers

A question we should ask ourselves as educators is:"What is our purpose?" Is our purpose to train leaders or followers? The answer should be:"Our Purpose as teachers should be to train All so that they have the Potential to be leaders." The only way that we can be sure that All have the potential to be leaders is to listen and observe the participants and not be in too much of a rush to "get through" a dance.

As teachers, we know the material we are teaching and it may be hard to put ourselves in the place of the beginner. A phrase that is frustrating to a beginner is: "This is an easy step." From the view of the learner, it may not be easy at all. This is very true for those who do not have a large movement vocabulary.

Granted, most people are happy being followers and they don't ask questions or practice the movements between sessions. For those who do want extra instruction, our teaching videos will be available through a link to our group and by special request. The purpose of these videos is to review the dances to solidify in the learner's mind the steps of the dances taught.

I found another group that performs many Recreational Folk Dances. The site is Due to the weather we did not meet this past week.

Another Day, Another Dance!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Videos of Other Dances We Do

I was just browsing the web and came upon this site that has some videos of some of the dances we dance. Liljano Mome, Pajdusko, Ve David, Kortanc. I haven't taken the time to scrutinize them to see if they are done the same way that we do them. So just click on the link or copy it into your browser if you want to view them.

Another Day, Another Dance.

The Routine

This blog will focus on three aspects of Recreational International Dance.

I. The dances that are taught and or danced at our group each week.

Each week I video record the dances that are taught(there are over 500 clips for less than 1 year of videoing). After the teachers review the dances that they teach, I will post some of the instruction on this blog or a link to where it can be viewed for those who want to review the dance during the week. I will also browse the web to see if there is another example at another site. For example, Carnavalito was reviewed last week. A video can be found of it at

The other dances that were taught or reviewed were Hora la Trei, Dhivartikos, Techot Rechka, Liljano Mome, and Dirlada. As of this posting, I have not found links to those dances.

II. Observations and suggestions about teaching movement, or just observations in general.

III. Progress updates on the BIRD Project

I encourage everyone to comment, correct, and post links for all of us folk dance lovers to investigate.

Thank you in advance to all who participate.