Category Archives: Dance

#ALP: Pain

#ALP: Pain

What’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, physical or emotional? How do you deal with pain? How has pain shaped the person you are today?

  • Use this prompt any way you wish—for a poem, memoir, painting, short story, photograph, no limits. Enjoy!
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  • Be sure to visit at least two other participants to see how they interpreted the prompt.
  • Tag your entry #ALP (for ARHtistic License Prompt) to help others find your work on social media.

Video of the Week: Ballerina Misty Copeland


I’d Rather Be Dancing Albanian Folk Dances

I’d Rather Be Dancing Albanian Folk Dances

My hip replacement surgery is still more than a month away. I have pain every time I stand or walk. I miss my dancing.

I’m a sucker for the beautiful dances of Albania.

The first dance I ever learned to lead was Çobankat. In this video it is led by Lee Otterholt, a frequent guest workshop leader at Phoenix International Folk Dancers, who choreographed it:

Moj Maro Moj Marinë:

I know this dance as Populli Jon, but done to different music:

I love this one, Valle Pogonishte:

This song from Kosovo and Albania, Karafili, goes well with a Greek dance, Syrtos:

One I’ve never danced, Jarnana:

Another dance I don’t know, Oj Fato Fato:

Ketri Ketri, a Roma/Albanian dance:

Valle Shqiptare:

Valle E Permetit is another dance I like to lead. This is just a small portion of the dance, missing the transitional part that is done during the instrumental portions of the song. Note the “bicycle kick” step.

I don’t know all these Albanian dances, but when I hear the first bars of the ones I do know, I’m out on the floor, because they’re such beautiful dances. September, come fast—I can’t wait to dance again!

Creative Juice #95

Creative Juice #95

Twelve articles to tickle your fancy.

Creative Juice #92

Creative Juice #92

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. ~John Keats

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Y is for Ya da kalinushku lomala


A beautiful folk dance from Russia:

And as a special bonus, another folkdance starting with Y: Yar ko parag, from Armenia:



I’d Rather Be Dancing: Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I spent St. Patrick’s Day at the Festival my folk dance group produces every year. Most years, I dance. This year I couldn’t (I’m having hip surgery in a few months), so I brought my camera and took almost 500 pictures and videos of the festivities.

Dancers came to the festival not just from the Phoenix metropolitan area, but also from Tucson. Many come dressed in authentic ethnic costumes, or ethnic-y fashions.






Ferra came in her Indonesian warrior costume.

You may notice that many of the dancers are in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Dancing on a regular basis is excellent exercise, especially for your brain. If you want a long, healthy life, dancing can help you.

But that doesn’t mean that children aren’t welcome. In fact, passing on folk dance knowledge is one of the reasons why the Phoenix International Folk Dancers exist.


One of two folklore groups from St. Nikola’s Serbian church who performed dances for us.


Officially, the program consisted of 40 dances from all over the world (with two breaks featuring entertainment provided by the Tucson Folk Dancers and the St. Nikola folklore groups), but requests were also taken. Everyone is encouraged to try the dances, even if they are in the earliest stages of learning the choreography. Sometimes learners dance behind more experienced dancers to see the steps more clearly. In the pictures, some dancers are watching others’ feet, their serious faces revealing their concentration.






There are folk dance groups all over the United States. If you Google “Folk Dancing near…” and plug in any city or town, you will probably find at least one. In fact, some of the people who show up at our regular Tuesday night dances (6:30 – 9:30 PM at the Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Avenue in Phoenix) are out-of-towners who are in Phoenix for work or vacation.

Many of our dancers attend folk dance camps, cruises, and folk tours, as well as workshops with nationally known teachers. (Phoenix International Folk Dancers also host workshops; check our website frequently and like our Facebook page.)





Mostly, the annual festival is an excuse to get together with dancing friends and spend four-and-a-half hours having fun.




Here are the dancers in action:

Now it’s your turn. Do you dance regularly? What kind of dancing do you like to do? Share in the comments below.

I’d Rather Be…

I’d Rather Be…

Who are these friendly people extending their hands toward one another? See their smiles?








The arthritis in my left hip has reached critical mass, and until well after my hip replacement surgery in July, there are certain things I can’t do.

When I saw The Daily Post’s photo challenge this past week, I knew exactly how I would finish this sentence. You see, yesterday was the 31st Phoenix International Folk Dance Festival. I brought my camera and took lots of pictures, but I’d rather be…dancing.

Those lovely people above who look so happy are dancing to an American folk tune called Paul Jones and executing a square dance figure known as a grand right and left. If you scroll through the photos at just the right speed, you’ll get a feel for the sequence.

Or you could watch the short video below.

The festival was delightful, but I missed out on the best fun, the dancing. I have lots more pictures, so I’ll post a whole photo essay on the festival soon.

Creative Juice #84

Creative Juice #84

A dozen articles to amaze and inspire you.

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Israeli Dances


I am still laid up with hip issues, so I can’t folk dance. Sigh. I especially miss Israeli dances. Please watch with me while I vicariously enjoy:

  • The basic hora (circle dance). The simplest of the Israeli dances, often done to Hava Nagila. You might dance this at a wedding. You can have a conversation with your neighbor while doing this.Traveling clockwise (to your left), the sequence is: side, behind, step, kick, step, kick, repeat ad infinitum.
  • Jedid Nefesh. I don’t think my dance group does this one. I came across it on YouTube, and it’s lovely.
  • Ma Navu.
  • Hora Medura.
  • Mayim.
  • Erev Shel Shoshanim. There is more than one choreography for this dance; this one is my favorite.
  • Tzadik Katamar. See the palm trees swaying in the wind?
  • Sonata. Several of us in the Phoenix International Folk Dancers are obsessed with this dance. Watch the man in the center with the blue t-shirt–he choreographed this.
  • Salamati. This is one of the most complicated and athletic of the Israeli dances that we do. (Well, that my group does. I’m still learning it.)
  • Tzena, Tzena, and Hava Nagila with a more elaborate choreography.

I hope you enjoyed our little trip around the world to see Israeli dances. Personally, I’m ready to watch these videos all over again.