Village, Performance, and Recreational Dances


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  1. Part 3 of your discussion oddly omits the very large group that did NOT abandon couple dancing, but went through some of the same philosophical arguments, the difference being that while there are hundreds of synthetic Balkan dances, like you describe, the Scandinavian dance movement here generated the same enthusiasm for learning the music and buying the costumes, but worked exclusively on learning repertoire from folklorists. Gone are the ghastly polka quadrilles and story dances, and now we have Polskas, Gångars, Springars, etc., all with reference to videotaped originals, and, often, teachers from the very villages the dances come from, just as Joe Graziosi, Steve Kotansky, Alex Marković, and others , will show originals at Balkan Camp. Loretta Kelly, formerly a Gâdulka player with AMAN, is now a prize-winning player of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle. Similarly, you need to mention the smaller, but equally fierce and “purist” Hungarian Táncház movement and its manifestations over here. A lot of recreational IFDers do all this on the side (like yours truly), or have simply stopped going to the IFD recreational dance groups and gone to Scandinavian and Hungarian groups, just as many of the folks at Balkan Camp now no longer go to “traditional” recreational groups. Balkan Camp, by the way (disclaimer, both my wife and I have served on the board of directors of the EEFC) actually is gaining younger members. There are hybrid camps, of course – with hybrid philosophy band playing the live music – the clip you showed of the Pinewood band had them playing a copy of an old folk dance record, something that does not happen at Balkan Camp. Ralph Iverson played on that Youtube but also is a good musical contributor at Balkan Camp. My summary: it is still a complicated and vibrant scene out there, and not just a slide into kolomania by unthinking Americans.


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