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Balkan Folk Dance Workshop
taught by 
Steve Kotansky
with live music by the band 

March 15 - 17, 2002
University City (St. Louis), Missouri

Move to the wonderful Balkan rhythms that have inspired new bands in Europe as well as the United States!  The patch of land connecting Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Albania has produced a rich tradition of village and urban music and dance with cross-fertilization from Turkish and Rom (Gypsy) music.  This is an opportunity to learn dances from one of today's greatest teachers, with one of the best bands available playing all of your dance favorites.  Many of these line dances can be done by those with no prior experience.  No partners are needed.

Friday, March 15
Church of the Holy Communion (see Locations below)
7:30 - 10:00 p.m. Workshop session $8  
Saturday, March 16
Church of the Holy Communion
9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Workshop session $8  
12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch $5  
1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Workshop session $8  
5:30 - 7:00 p.m. Banquet $10  
7:30 - 10:45 p.m. Int'l Folk Dance Party $5/10 *
Sunday, March 17
Focal Point (see Locations below)
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Review session I $10  
12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch (on your own)  
1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Review session II $10  
* Dance party paid for individually (at the door) is
  $5 for IFDA members and $10 for non-members.

Schedule and Prices

A weekend package is available for $50 ($43 for students) which includes all teaching and review sessions, Saturday lunch and dinner banquet, the Saturday night dance party, drinks, and snacks.  A package including everything except for the two meals is also available for $35 ($28 for students).  For those who prefer not to buy either package, individual sessions and the party may be paid for at the door (see schedule for prices).  Meals may also be ordered individually.  Meal reservations (individual or in a package) must be received no later than Saturday, March 2.  You may use the registration form to make reservations.

A 20% discount on workshop sessions is available for students.  Children under 10 are free but must be accompanied by a parent.  A limited number of scholarships are available for IFDA members; call Barbara Uhlemann at 314-726-5838 to apply.

About the Teacher and Musicians

• Steve Kotansky was raised in California, where he danced with the prestigious Aman Folk Ensemble after finishing high school.  Sojourning in Germany for over 7 years, he worked with ethnic communities in Munich while teaching dance and performing, and took advantage of his proximity to Balkan and eastern European countries to pursue his interest in the the dances of those regions.  He also lived in Bucovina, Romania for a while, learning the local folklore.  In the winter of 1979-80, Steve returned to give his first workshops in the United States, and has since taught at every major North American festival and camp.  Steve is both a fantastic dancer and a highly respected teacher, due as much to his infectious energy and enthusiasm as to his knowledge of a vast repertoire of dances and styles.  This will be his fifth time teaching in St. Louis.

Édessa is a Balkan dance band based in California which includes the following musicians:

• Dan Auvil (doumbeléki, daoúli, defi):  Dan was first exposed to Greek music as a college student in the San Francisco Bay Area and became interested in the new melodies and foreign instruments.  He was especially drawn to the large two-headed drum known as the daoúli.  He met George Chittenden at these events, and soon they were playing live music for a small dance group.  Over the years his skill and reputation have grown and he is known as a "dancers" drummer.  Dan teaches at the annual Balkan Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino, California.

• Paul Brown has been playing music for 27 years, studying bass and composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, and studying the oud (a Middle-Eastern lute) with Haig Manoukian and Necati Celik in Mendocino.  He is a member of the adjunct music faculty in the Contemporary Music Department at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico, and currently performs with Édessa, Orkestra Keyif, and Xsko, among others.

• George Chittenden (clarinet, saxophone, gaida, zourna):  George has been playing Balkan and Near Eastern music since the mid-1970s.  He has studied music extensively abroad, focusing primarily on regional dance music of northern Greece and Anatolian Turkey.  This has included traveling to remote corners of both countries to experience the social celebrations in which music plays a central role, as well as learning regional styles from both rural and professional musicians.  George performs regularly for ethnic communities and for folk music and dance events throughout the United States, and has also toured abroad.  He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Lise Liepman and plays in two bands: Ziyiá, a traditional Greek dance ensemble featuring regional instruments, and Édessa, known for playing high-energy dance music of the southern Balkans.

• Ari Langer (violin):  As a classically-trained electric violinist, Ari has been involved in an eclectic range of musical worlds and composition during his life.  After graduating from Evergreen State College with a degree in musical composition and production, Ari toured Europe as a violinist with the Irish musical group Draiocht (on the Shananchie label).  After moving to San Francisco in 1994, Ari produced music with the quirky underground dance favorite Voice Farm, played sessions on ambient/world music albums released on Six Degrees / Island Records, and has immersed himself in Balkan music with Édessa.  Ari composes music for Film and Corporate Videos.  His work has been heard on films shown on the Independent Film Channel, Bravo!, and

• Lise Liepman (santoúri, baglamá, accordion):  Lise began her involvement with Balkan music in 1976 in the vibrant dance scene of the San Francisco Bay Area.  She was a member and director of the Westwind International Folk Ensemble for many years.  Inspired by hearing the sound of the santoúri (Greek hammered dulcimer) at a Balkan music and dance camp, she began studying santoúri with the Philadelphia-based musician Yiannis Roussos.  She and her husband George Chittenden moved to Athens, Greece, where she continued her studies with the master musician Tasos Dhiakogiorgis.  Lise plays santoúri, accordion, and baglama with George and Dan in the bands Ziyiá and Édessa, and has toured internationally with the band Rebetiki Parea.  She has taught santoúri at Balkan music workshops on both the west and east coasts as well as in Hawaii.

To hear examples of the type of dance music that will be featured at this workshop, tune in to Music from the Hills on Saturdays from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. on radio station KDHX, 88.1 FM in St. Louis.


Church of the Holy Communion (Friday and Saturday):  7401 Delmar Blvd., University City, Missouri.  The church is on the northwest corner of Delmar and Jackson (see map).  Park on either street and enter through the red double door in the middle of the L-shaped building.

Focal Point Traditional Arts Center (Sunday):  2720 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, Missouri.  This is 1 1/2 blocks south of Manchester Rd. (see map).  Park on the street.  Directions will also be available at the Saturday sessions.

Other Information

Made possible by grants from
Regional Arts, Arts & Education, Ameren UE

Sunday Lunch: On your own; you may eat at the restaurant next to the Focal Point or elsewhere (price is not included in either weekend package).

Joan Amsterdam of International Folk Rhythms, Ltd. will be selling ethnic recordings, books, clothing and accessories, and crafts on Friday and Saturday.

Crash Space is available.  Please call Diana Blanchard at 314-726-5737.

For Other Information: Contact John and Barbara Uhlemann (phone 314-726-5838, E-mail, or Rex and Nancy Couture (Home 314-275-8228, work 314-935-4194, E-mail

Sponsored by the International Folk Dance Association of University City
 Made possible by grants from: 
The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis
The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis

Views and opinions expressed on this page are strictly those of the International Folk Dance Association of University City, which is not sponsored by or otherwise connected with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.

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Written by Roger Hill (, revised 2003 Dec 5