Category Archives: Dance

Creative Juice #319

Creative Juice #319

The Thanksgiving weekend edition. I’m thankful for all the creative artists who inspire us.

I’d Rather Be Dancing at the 33rd Annual Phoenix International Folk Dance Festival


The title of the festival is a little misleading, in that the 32nd Festival happened in 2019, so the 33rd Annual Festival should have happened in March of 2020, but, you know, Covid.

Now we’re operating as though we’re almost back to normal (even though in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, 1500 people are still testing positive for Covid every day, and 34 people died of Covid last week). Masks were optional at the festival, which finally took place last Saturday, November 12, 2022.

Nevertheless, it was the first time I’d gathered with our large group since before the pandemic, and it was great to see many old friends. People came down from Prescott and Flagstaff and up from Tucson and Oro Valley. One former member came all the way from Florida. A group of hosts brought a van-load of foreign exchange students from their temporary homes in Sierra Vista. There may have been others who traveled great distances.

At our festival, anyone who wants to dance is encouraged to do so. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been dancing all your life. You see many skills levels, and it’s beautiful.

The festival ran for four hours. I didn’t think I’d have the stamina for that long, but I stayed three and a half hours. I sat out some of the more vigorous dances and filmed them instead, so I have some videos to share.

From Romania, Sirba din Cimpoi:

From Bulgaria, Varnenski Kjuček:

From Bulgaria, Vlasko Horo:

A Greek/Roma dance, Chikulata Chikita:

From Israel, Adir Adiram:

A dance from the Roma people, Cine Are Noroc Are:

From Bulgaria, Vrapceto. The exchange students wanted to join in as well, but they got hung up on the basket weave handhold until some of the dancers noticed and helped out.

From Turkey, Kirmizi Biber:

Three quarters through the program, community dancing took a break as several members of the Tucson International Folk Dancers entertained us with American dances going back as far as the 1920s.

It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got that Swing:

Lambeth Walk:

Maple Leaf Rag:

Tennessee Wig Walk:

And everyone was up again and dancing together for one more American dance, Louisianna Saturday Night:

For the rest of the afternoon until my early departure, there were a string of dances I really wanted to dance, so I don’t have any more videos to share.

We all had a wonderful time. I hope I see you there next year. And if you wish you could do folk dances like these, google “international folk dancing near me.” There are dance groups all across the country. We often have visitors at our Tuesday night dances who just happen to be passing through Phoenix and were looking for someplace to dance.

You might have noticed that a lot of our dancers are senior citizens. Some are well over 80 years old. Dancing keeps you young. It’s good exercise for the body and the brain, and it’s fun.

Video of the Week: A Non-Ballerina Learns About Pointe and Pointe Shoes


When she gave her “final performance,” I got teary-eyed.

What to see what a professional ballerina’s feet look like?

Creative Juice #317

Creative Juice #317

Lots of gorgeous photography this week.

Creative Juice #316

Creative Juice #316

12 wonderful articles to mull over.

  • Quilt show!
  • Now go to South Africa for a quilt festival. Be sure to watch the video, although it may give you vertigo. She runs through the whole exhibition hall and films hundreds of quilts in a few minutes. My eyes (and her camera) don’t focus that fast, and maddeningly, she doesn’t linger at some of the quilts I most want to get a good look at.
  • What will your legacy be?
  • Excellent destinations for a writer’s vacation. (Be sure to check out the suggestions in the comments as well.)
  • Why you should write short stories.
  • Amazing amateur photography.
  • Autumn foliage.
  • Why writers read.
  • These signs had me laughing out loud.
  • An unsolved mystery from 120 years ago.
  • Celebrating World Ballet Day.
  • The value of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been meaning to read it.

Video of the Week: Igor Moiseyev Ballet in Rehearsal


Please, let us not judge the Russian people by the actions of their dictator. Many strive to bring beauty to the world rather than misery.

I’d Rather Be Dancing Norwegian Folk Dances


Norway is known for Vikings, fjords, and long winters, but also for its beautiful dances, which often involve a lot of twirling.

I don’t know the name of this dance, but the children are performing at the Oslo Museum in a celebration on St. Han’s Day:

Gudbrandsdals Mazurka:

Hallingdans (highlights the male’s skills and is sometimes danced as a male solo):


Hans og Hånån:


Reinlender (the Norwegian equivalent of a Schottische):

Sandsvaerril (adorable; a lot of flirting potential in this dance):


Wengurka (the translation is “the Hungarian,” but the dance probably originated in Poland; this is the Norwegian version):

I’d Rather Be Dancing Polish Folk Dances


Dancing is a popular pastime and an important facet of Polish culture.

The Mazurka is one of the most famous Polish dances. This film clip discusses its significance:

W Moim Ogródeczku. This is one of my all-time favorite dances:

Ada’s Kujawiak is a beautiful, graceful couples’ dance:

Goscie Jada was choreographed by Ira Weisburd. The name means “the guests are coming.” Ira calls it the Polish Dance of Welcome:

Trojak. You’ll notice in this dance that each male has two female partners. Tradition has it that in the province where the dance originated (Silesia), females greatly outnumbered males because so many men perished in the mines. This performance appears to be a dance competition, judging by the numbers on the men’s backs. There are many variations of this popular dance; not all of the competitors are doing the same patterns.

Klapok is a mixer that alternates between two patterns—a polka and a hand-clapping pattern. At the repetition of the clapping pattern, you quickly turn and find yourself a new partner. As you can observe, it’s a lot of fun:

Krakowiak is a performance dance from Krakow. There are many different versions. This performance starts with the folk song:

Swir Swir Mazur. This performance occurred at the Pulaski Day Parade in Philadelphia, October 1999:

Varsovienne originated in Warsaw:

Zbójnicki is the Hatchet Dance. You don’t dare zone out during this one:

I’d Rather Be Dancing Ukrainian Folk Dances


Ukraine is on our hearts as the Ukrainians defend their country against Russian aggression.

Let’s celebrate their culture. Ukraine has a vibrant folk dance tradition.

Several of these videos were made when the Tucson International Folk Dancers performed at the 2019 Phoenix International Folk Dance Festival.

Bandura Kozachok. Bandura is a stringed instrument; Kozachok is a Cossack dance. It seems this dance is telling a story. A flirtation is attempted, and is not having the desired effect. But all’s well that ends well:

Donetskii Kozachok is a cute mixer:

Honei Viter  means “whirlwind”:

Hopak Trio is a dance usually done in couples, which has been adapted here for trios. This performance includes a couple of surprises:

Hutsulka means “girl from Hultsulshina”:

There are a number of variations of Khorovod, which is customarily a women’s dance. This one is a couples’ dance, usually done only at weddings:

Kolomeyka W Dwi Pari:

Kozachok Mixer:

Kozachok Trio:

Oj Maju Maju:

Oj na hori stoit khata (A house stands on the hill):

I found all of these wonderful dances on Folk Dance Musings. You can find the instructions there too.

Video of the Week #359: Advanced Dance Moves