Tag Archives: Phoenix International Folk Dancers

Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

Phoenix Folk Dance Festival

This past Saturday marked the 32nd Annual Phoenix Folk Dance Festival.  You missed it? Tsk. Too bad. Make sure you come next year. It will be announced on the ARHtistic License Facebook page (another reason to “like” it). Or better yet, follow the Phoenix International Folk Dancers Facebook page, too.

In the mean time, I’ll give you a small taste of what you missed.


I didn’t take my good camera; after sitting out last year because of my pending hip replacement, this year I planned to dance all afternoon (12 noon to 4:30), and I didn’t want to have to babysit my expensive camera. So the photographs I took aren’t all that good; the shutter speed on my Sony Cyber-shot is so slow it didn’t take the picture I’d framed, and it didn’t freeze the action, so they turned out all blurry.


We danced folk dances from many countries: Serbia, Bulgaria, South Africa, Albania, Kurdistan, Romania, Israel, Albania, Russia, Turkey, Colombia, United States, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Bolivia, Macedonia, Scotland, Maldova, Armenia, Finland, and Japan were all represented, as were the Roma people.

Two exhibition groups performed. The Tucson International Folk Dancers danced Ukrainian dances.

The Asli Karatas Dancers were two youth groups. The youngest dancers performed Turkish dances:

And the older dancers demonstrated the Charleston and some Rockabilly moves:

And I captured the general participants doing an Israeli dance, Erev Ba.

The festival passed surprisingly quickly. We had guests from all over Arizona. We saw some old friends we haven’t seen in a while. We had a lot of fun, and we hope you will join us next year. Or if you’re ever in the Phoenix area, come dance with us most Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 at the Irish Cultural Center. Bring your dancing shoes.

Wayne Magninie took this panoramic video of most of the attendees. If you look very carefully, you might even find me!


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.

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Zorba the Greek


I’m sorry to say I’m currently missing out on one of my favorite activities. Usually, I spend Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings dancing—international folk dances. But arthritis in my hip has prevented me from dancing since October.  I miss it so.

Right now my dance group, Phoenix International Folk Dancers, is practicing for our 31st annual Folk Dance Festival, March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day, from noon to 4:30 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church at 1500 W Maryland Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. Come if you’re in the area–$10 donation at the door. If you have an ethnic costume, wear it. I, unfortunately, will not be dancing. Sigh. Though I hope I’ll be able to come and watch.

To try to make myself feel better, I watch dance videos on YouTube. I saw these wonderful versions of Zorba the Greek, and I thought I’d share.

First, here are some young students:

And this wonderful tutorial (though this is a different version):

And the National Dance Ensemble Romiosini:

And a flashmob in England:

Don’t these videos make you want to get up and dance?

Phoenix International Folk Dancers

Phoenix International Folk Dancers

My dance group is featured in this article!


Photos by Nicole Neri

Phoenix 30th Annual Folk Dance Festival

Phoenix 30th Annual Folk Dance Festival

A few photographs from yesterday’s festivities:


Middle school students performed an Indian dance, and high school students demonstrated a Turkish dance.

The Tucson Folk Dancers performed six dances from Italy and Spain…

…and a good time was had by all.



F is for Folk Dance Festival

F is for Folk Dance Festival

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably caught on that I love to folk dance. When I attended Duquesne University in the early 1970s, music majors enrolled in two semesters of eurythmics as their P.E. requirement. Simply stated, eurythmics is movement to music. Our professor, Brunhilde Dorsch, included a heavy international folk dance component in the course. Her annual Christmas parties for the music majors were legendary–they also involved lots of folk dancing.

About 10 years ago, I took Orff-Schulwerk Level I training in connection with my job as an elementary general music teacher. Again, the movement portion of the course included folk dancing, and it reminded me how much I’d loved dancing as a student. So after the course ended, I googled folk dancing in Phoenix and found Phoenix International Folk Dancers.

Every year, PIFD puts on a Folk Dance Festival. Members and friends of the group join together to perform more than 40 dances from around the world, and exhibition troupes amaze the audience with their skill.

Here are some highlights from this year’s festival, held March 5, 2016.

These were some “warm-up” dances requested before the official start of the festival:(Disclaimer: I apologize for the lack of quality of these video clips; I’m just learning how to use the video feature on my camera, and I’m not very good.)

A group of Bulgarian dancers wowed us with their precision and style.

The Tucson Folk Dance Club delighted us with dances from Germany. A wedding dance:


And a woodcutter’s dance, complete with schuhplatten:


Sorry I don’t have more pictures–I was dancing most of the time.

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