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Mainewoods Teachers for 2017
Susan Anderson, Joe Blumenthal, Tom Bozigian, Anne Ehrhart, Miriam Handler, Kitty Kagay, Harry Khamis, Karen Klevanosky, Steve Kotansky, Barb MacLean, John McIntire, Lee Otterholt, Vlasto Petkovski, Bob Schulz, Debby Szajnberg, Bill Wadlinger, Carol Wadlinger
Susan Anderson (International Folk Musician)
has been actively involved in the folk dance community since 1962 as an international folk dancer and musician. She has led international singing workshops for groups, festivals and schools and has taught folk dancing in the Philadelphia area and beyond. Her talents are many: she sings and plays fiddle, gaida, balalaika, keyboard, guitar and tambura; she is the leader of the International Folk Sounds and Ajde, folk dance bands. In addition, Susan leads a weekly dance and a monthly international music jam, performs Appalachian clogging with the Fiddlekicks, and sings with Svitanya, a women's Eastern European vocal ensemble.
Joe Blumenthal (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) is a Northampton, MA, based musician who plays bass in a variety of bands including Klezamir (playing Jewish weddings and bar-mitzvahs as well as concerts since 1988), Orkestar Banitsa (a folk dance band playing music of the Balkans), Mando Paradiso (a mandolin and guitar ensemble), in addition to MerakKef Express. He is a frequent “ringer” for Bobba Culpa, playing upright bass and percussion. He also leads AEIOUkes, Northampton MA's ukulele club. His day job is owning a musical instrument retail store, Downtown Sounds, in Northampton, MA, since 1976.
Tom Bozigian (Armenian) has an extensive knowledge of Armenian dances
from the pre-1915 period of Anatolya and the Caucasus. Each year he
travels to Armenia to continue his research, working with various
institutions and dance specialists. With these dance specialists he
travels to selected regions of Armenia to film and record. He has
taught at major camps throughout North America, Asia and Europe.
Teaching tours have taken him to five continents. Tom also specializes
in new Armenian folk dances and is an award-winning choreographer who
has set suites on numerous ensembles including Aman Folk Ensemble, the
Duquesne University Tamburitzans and various Armenian ensembles around
the world. He is also a professional percussionist, keyboardist,
vocalist and leads a folklore orchestra that has produced numerous
recordings. Born of Armenian immigrant parents, Tom teams with
Professor Artush Karabetyan of the Yerevan State Institute to collect
rural dance data and study theory. He graduated from the Sayat Nova
State Choreographic School and also holds an MA in education and a BA
in Russian Area studies.
Anne Ehrhart (International Folk Musician) has been active in folk dance communities since 1969, and has been singing songs from Eastern Europe for nearly 20 years, being deeply involved with Svitanya Eastern European Women's Vocal Ensemble for most of that time. She also sings and plays tapan & dumbek with Ajde. Having danced in North Carolina, Indiana, the DC area, and now southeastern PA, Anne leads folk dancing at Ann's Choice in Warminster, PA, dances regularly with other local groups, and is on the board of the Folk Dance Council of the Delaware Valley.
Miriam Handler (Israeli) has been teaching since 1979. Although she taught international for many years, her specialty and strength is in Israeli dancing. A native of Israel, Miriam came to the U.S. in 1960. Israeli dancing is very dear to her heart. The songs of the dances invoke deep-rooted cultural ties to the country. She has led dance weekends since 1979 and from 1990 - 2001 co-led the famous Israeli camp Rikudia with Danny Uziel. She has been a guest teacher in many sessions around the U.S. and Canada as well as other camps. Currently, Miriam leads two Israeli dance sessions and continues to spread the love of Israeli dancing to her students.
Kitty Kagay (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) has been actively involved in the folk dance community since 1975 as an international folk dancer and musician. She danced with the George Tomov Yugoslav Ensemble from 1977-1979. She was a founding member of the bitov group Nezabravka, brass group The Hačeks, and IFD dance band Bobba Culpa, primarily singing Balkan music. She currently performs with MerakKef Express. Her other vocal pursuits include Sacred Harp singing, with occasional forays into Scandinavian and Chinese singing.
Harry Khamis (Scottish) started international folk dancing in 1978 while in college; he started specializing in Scandinavian dances in 1988 and in Scottish Country dances in 2004. He received the "Big Silver Medal" in Swedish polska dances in Sveg, Sweden, in 1999 and has earned 13 "diploms." In 2016 Harry received full certification in Scottish Country Dance teaching at St. Andrews, Scotland. Harry taught international folk dance at Wright State University (Dayton, OH) as a college course for 13 years, and he has taught at dance camps, workshops, and classes in several parts of the country. He has been a regular teacher at the international folk dance club and Scottish country dance club in Dayton, OH, for many years. Harry welcomes the opportunity to share his favorite dances with others. He believes strongly in a warm, friendly, welcoming style of teaching. He recognizes that every student has their own way of learning and, with that in mind, his goal is to facilitate the learning process for everyone.
Karen Klevanosky (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) is a classically trained musician who has been playing flute for more than a half century, performing solo and chamber music in the Northeast and in France. She crossed over to the Balkan side in the mid-1990s when she joined the Bobba Culpa international band and began attending Balkan music and dance camps. Since then she has played various woodwind and percussion instruments and sung with Bobba Culpa, as well as the recently formed group, MerakKef Express. "kk" also sings in her synagogue choir and serves as a cantorial soloist.
Steve Kotansky (Balkan), known widely as a versatile dancer and teacher, has made many research trips to Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary and Greece. He has taught at major folk dance camps all over North America and Europe and has performed and choreographed for many performing ensembles throughout the U.S. and Europe. Steve is active as a teacher and researcher of dance in North American Albanian and Macedonian Roma communities. He also conducts world dance programs for grades K-12 in New York-area public and private schools. Steve brings a lively, in-depth knowledge to his teaching, and an intense joy to his dancing.
Barb MacLean (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) began folk dancing as a child and has played in folk dance bands since 1986. She has played in folk dance bands, Terpsichore and Nezabravka and is music director and a founding member of the band Bobba Culpa. She recently put together MerakKef Express. She sings and plays clarinet, tambura, and various percussion. She has taught folk dancing at the Dance Flurry in Saratoga, NY, at music therapy conferences and at her local dance group. She sings and plays percussion in the early music ensemble Lycaeides. Besides music, Barb's passions include traveling (including dance seminars in Romania, Greece and Turkey), photography and natural horsemanship. Barb has sung in numerous choirs, including Albany Pro Musica Masterworks, has directed a few of them and organized several small vocal ensembles. She is a retired music therapist, having spent most of her career serving veterans.
John McIntire (Contras & Squares / English Country) came to folk dance reluctantly in the mid 1970's when he was “invited” to attend the weekly English Country Dance in Portland, Oregon. In 1992, he took a calling workshop offered by Nancy Rosalie and then sought out Ted Sannella as a mentor. John now calls New England contra, square and circle dances at venues around Maine where his clear and patient teaching makes the dancing accessible to all. He has called at various festivals around New England and the Northwest Folklife Festival, and serves on the NEFFA Ralph Page Memorial Committee. Along with life partner Nancy Rosalie, he also leads a monthly English Country Dance.
Lee Otterholt (Balkan & Beyond) teaches international folk dance at workshops and festivals in Europe, the US and Asia and leads folk dance cruises and tours to many parts of the world. He founded the Norwegian Center for International Folk Dance and was a professor of folkloristic dance at the Norwegian National College of Ballet and the University College of Oslo. He was responsible for the establishment of four folk dance clubs and three performing groups that performed in festivals throughout Europe. He also produced teaching videos, books and CDs on folk dance for use in the Norwegian school system. In 1994 he was one of the choreographers of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Vlasto Petkovski (Macedonian) studied Macedonian folk culture in school and began his performing career with Cvetan Dimov in Skopje. From 1977 to 1995, he danced with Tanec, the Macedonian national folk dance ensemble. Aside from dancing and singing in the ensemble, he also worked as a choreographer for the folk dance group, Grigor Prlicev, in Skopje. Since emigrating from Macedonia to Canada with his family in 1995, Vlasto has shared his love of folk culture with Canadians and has directed many Macedonian folk dance groups including: Ilinden in Mississauga, Vezilka in Ajax, and Zdravec in Markham. He is also the director of SunStage Company in Brampton.
Bob Schulz (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) began playing electric guitar in 1965. After performing rock, jazz and folk guitar, Bob turned his sights on International folkdance music about 25 years ago. (He has been a dancer for many years and has taught folk dancing as leader of the Tri-City Folk Dancers in New York State's capital region and at the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, NY.) He has learned many Balkan styles and instruments by annual attendance at the EEFC's East Coast Balkan Music and Dance Camp. Bob has also played Early Music with the recorder consort Lycaeides. Surprisingly, he is not a founding member of the band that bears his name, but after joining the group he quickly caused so much mayhem that the band was retroactively dubbed Bobba Culpa. Bob has produced several CDs, including "Sundian subVersions: Far-Fetched Facsimiles oF Folkdance Favorites", "Balkan Beat" by Planeta Synteza (rock music with Balkan rhythms), and two CDs by Bobba Culpa: "Culpability" and "Culpability 2: Bobba's Revenge!"
Debby Szajnberg (International Folk Musician - MerakKef Express) has been folk dancing since childhood and performing world dance and music since her early adult years, especially from Balkan and Eastern European folk traditions. These include dancing, singing, and playing with Balkanske Igre and International Dancers in Chicago, and George Tomov's Yugoslav Ensemble in NYC. She also played and sang in A Different Village, Hijaz, and Yia Mas instrumental ensembles in Hartford, CT. She is a regular participant at the East European Folklife Center's annual Balkan Music/Dance workshop as well as folk dance seminars abroad. A retired kindergarten and music teacher, she has presented national and regional workshops on creative and folk dance to music educators. She leads community dances at local schools and libraries and is a frequent teacher at Always on Sunday International Folk Dancers in Wethersfield, CT. She sings, plays violin, doumbek, tupan and other hand percussion. One of her current projects is collecting, transcribing and teaching children's clapping and rhythm games from around the world.
Bill Wadlinger (International Folk Musician) founded Beaver College Folk Dancing with his wife Carol in 1977. He was a founding member and first president of the Folk Dance Council of the Delaware Valley. Over the years he organized countless Philly Area dance and music events in addition to teaching dance classes and workshops, and leading the weekly Beaver group with Carol. Then in the 90's, Bill dusted off his guitar and later acquired a mandolin, tamburas, and a charango. With his wife Carol, Susan Anderson and other musicians, Bill plays with International Folk Sounds (the IFS). He occasionally plays with pickup bands such as the Philly area contra dance band SPUDs. He currently teaches a weekly international dance class, “Folk Dance on Fridays,” in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.
Carol Wadlinger (International Folk Musician) has been active in the folk dance community since the 70's. She plays in two folk dance bands: International Folk Sounds, and Ajde. She plays flute, English concertina, piano and a smattering of other instruments. In addition to playing for folk dancers, she plays contra, klezmer, English, etc. She enjoys teaching and encouraging adults to make music for dancers. When she is not busy playing music (or working), she is on the floor dancing. She and her husband Bill started and ran the Beaver Folk Dance group in the Philadelphia area for over 25 years. She currently teaches music to very young children (one to six years old) in pre-schools.