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Mainewoods Teachers & Musicians for 2018
Roberto Bagnoli, Wim Bekooij, Joe Blumenthal, France Bourque-Moreau, Kitty Kagay, Karen Klevanosky, Steve Kotansky, Barb MacLean, John McIntire, Yves Moreau, Barbara Pixton, Tom Pixton, Julia Poirier, Richard Schmidt, Bob Schulz, Debby Szajnberg,
Roberto Bagnoli (Israeli) grew up in Rome, where he was first introduced to folk music and dance, eventually taking part in several performances and teaching dance classes. He subsequently studied various forms of folk dance in workshops throughout Europe, Israel, and North America under the guidance of renowned choreographers and teachers. From 1995 to 2003, he performed as a dancer and choreographer with the Terra di Danza Dance Company and was involved in the production of Raggi di luna Italiana and Capriccio Italiano (Italian dances), GiroGiroMondo (dances from around the world), Keltic Emotion (Celtic dances), Mazal Tov (Israeli dances), and Ethnos (international folk dances). He currently organizes two dance camps in Europe: Balkanot (Balkan and Israeli dance) and Camp Yofi (Israeli dance).
He is the founder of Folk Atelier Reggio Emilia (FARE), devoted to the development and conservation of folk dance heritage. He has also lectured and conducted workshops throughout Europe as well as on numerous occasions in North America, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
Wim Bekooij (International)
is known for his eclectic dance interests, including Albanian, Flamenco, and Asian dances. He began folk dancing in 1978, studying dance education at the Rotterdam Dance Academy, and did multiple tours in the U.S., Europe and Japan in the 1990s. This includes six months in Japan in 1992, where he danced as part of the stage ensemble of Nagasaki Holland Village. He was artistic director of two performing ensembles in the Netherlands and choreographed several award-winning suites of Dutch dances.
France Bourque-Moreau (French-Canadian and More) lives in Montreal, Quebec and for the past forty years has been active in Canada and abroad teaching folk dances for children and conducting special seminars to train school teachers in this field. Her current repertoire includes hundreds of dances and rounds from all parts of the world especially designed and adapted to various age and experience levels. Ms. Bourque-Moreau is also known for her French-Canadian repertoire which she has introduced at workshops and dance events in North America and abroad. In 2015, she was the recipient of the «Preserving Our Heritage Award» given by the National Folk Organization (NFO). At Mainewoods 2018 she will present a variety of traditional dances from Québec as well as other fun dances from other countries.
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.
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.
Yves Moreau (Bulgarian and Balkan) lives in Montreal and is recognized as one of North America's foremost exponents of Bulgarian dance and folklore. He has lectured and conducted workshops in Bulgarian and Balkan dance throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and choreographed stage suites for various amateur and professional dance companies worldwide. Yves speaks Bulgarian and is a regular contributor to various folk music and folklore programs for Canadian radio and television. He has presented several papers at various conferences on ethnomusicology and folklore in America, Asia and Bulgaria. In 1980, Bulgaria awarded him with the order of Kiril and Metodi (1st degree) for his work popularizing Bulgarian folk culture in North America. In 2008, he received the Presidential Medal and letter of congratulations from Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov. The year 2017 marks Yves' 50th year of teaching Bulgarian dances
Richard Schmidt (Polish) was chosen by Polish folklore at a very young age and for over 50 years he has been promoting it. In the year 2001, he was presented with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Polish government for his dedication to Polish culture abroad. Seventeen years later, he is still going strong as the Artistic Director and founder of the White Eagle Folk Dance Academy in Montréal, Canada. His instructional workshops and original works of choreography have been complemented by decades of study and research under many of Poland's experts and he is considered a master of Polish folk dance . Richard has worked with folk ensembles in Europe, Asia and North America since the age of seventeen and is also well-known on the International Folk Scene with standing invitations to teach around the world. His love of folklore and tradition also inspire him to lead Folk tours to Poland every year, as well as to Scotland, where he was born, and to Japan where he teaches on a regular basis. For more info on Richard, his ensemble and his tours, please visit www.folkdance.ca
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.
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 Haèeks, 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.
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.
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.
Barbara Pixton (International Folk Musician) began playing her mother's button accordion at the age of eight. She moved on to the piano, obtaining a degree in piano performance from Boston University. A folk dancer for many years, in the early 1990's she and her husband Tom Pixton began playing for dances. Since then they have put together several bands, played at music festivals and dance camps all over the US, published a music book, and made several recordings. Barbara has picked up skills on many other instruments including double bass, santouri, guitar, flute, violin and panflute. In 1994 she started the International Music Club under the sponsorship of the Folk Arts Center of New England. She is known for her wonderful ability to pull together amateur musicians for music-making and merriment.
Tom Pixton (International Folk Musician) is active as an International, Balkan, and Scottish folk dance musician. He has worked with many of today's most accomplished dance teachers and musicians as accordionist, pianist, band leader, music arranger, and CD producer.
As a soloist or with the Pinewoods Band, he has provided dance music for dance camps, workshops, and special events in the US, Canada, and Japan. He has provided music leadership for the Boston Branch of the Royal Scottish Dance Society, Cambridge Revels, June Camp (Illinois), August Camp (New Mexico), and the Folk Arts Center of New England.
Tom publishes the Pinewoods International Collection, a 400-page book of folk dance tunes and songs from around the world. The book has become widely known as a major source of dance music and as a reference volume.
Julia Poirier (International Folk Musician) has been singing and playing in Boston-area choruses and folk dance bands for more than 20 years. During that time she has led numerous groups in singing a variety of music ranging from Christmas choral arrangements to folk dance songs to a cappella pop. In 2009, she completed an MA in Ethnomusicology, focusing on Bulgarian traditional song. Julia plays rhythm guitar for The Pinewoods Band and The All-Girl Band, two of Boston's many folk dance bands. She also plays recorders and tenor viol, and sings with the Tufts Early Music Ensemble.
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.