Chiara, Jennie, and I (Grace) attended our first folk dance session on March 7th, 2017 at St. Paul’s Memorial Church. At the beginning of the night, we were told to get in a line so we could begin dancing! The majority of line dances travel right, with the leader in front. Throughout the night we were taught a variety of dances, including dances from Turkey, Greece, Brittany, Israel, Armenia, and myriad other countries. There was no designated leader in the group. Instead, if an individual felt she knew about the dance, she would come forward and explain a little of the dance’s history, as well as go through the steps. Also, all the music was prerecorded and played through speakers that were connected to a laptop. However, some of the tracks were live performances that group members recorded while they were dancing with other groups!
Photo 1: In the picture below, Sahag, one of the dancers, is leading us in a Swedish dance.
Photo 2: Next, we were introduced to a circle dance!
Photo 3: Here is a picture of where we dance. Because the group rents space from a church, there’s a little moving around that has to be done before each session.
Photo 4: Next is a picture of Rolanda, pictured in the brown sweatshirt, explaining an Israeli dance! We begin the dance by facing our right and walking four steps, followed by two claps to the right and one clap left. This continues four times. Next, we face inward and take two steps, snapping right and left each time. After this we take four steps back and lower our arms. This continues again four times. Then we repeat!
Photo 5: Our last dance for the evening was from Brittany. Unlike most line dances, the ones from this country travel left.
We had a wonderful experience with the South Bend Folk Dancers! This was an extremely inclusive and gracious group, and we hope to be back soon.