Laguna Folk Dance Festival 2022 Confimation
The Laguna Folk Dance Festival 2022 Confirmation
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A native of Turkey, Ahmet is an accomplished choreographer, dance teacher and performer as well as a researcher of Anatolian culture. He is currently the artistic director of the Boston based Collage Dance Ensemble, which allows him to further his goal of making folk dance and music accessible to a wider audience.
Since arriving in North America in 1985, he has taught many workshops and camps throughout the United States as well as Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Holland, England, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Norway, Italy, Spain and Australia. He has set innumerable suites of dances for the stage working with dance organizations around the world.
Some of the notable performing ensembles with whom he has worked include AMAN of Los Angeles, BYU dancers of Provo, BUDLET of Hong Kong, LES SORTILEGES of Montreal, and VINOK of Edmonton. In his native Turkey, he choreographed for HOYTUR and TURHOY of Ankara, ANADOLU UNIVERSITESI of Eskisehir. In 1991 Ahmet joined the Artistic Staff of AMAN as resident choreographer.
His college major was music, specializing in voice. Just as his love of folksongs guided him toward academic study of music, Ahmet’s fascination with dance led him to conduct scholarly research into the historical, social and cultural background of the costumes and spoon dances from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. His efforts resulted in an exhaustive, 400 page study for which he was awarded First Place in the 1985 national competition in research on the folkdances of Turkey by the Turkish ministry of Youth, Sports, and Education. In 1997 Ahmet completed a second degree in Fine Arts.
He directed the folk dance bands Nisava, Balkan Cabaret and Kafana Republik as an accordionist and vocalist, recording several CDs. He is always busy playing for folk dance parties, festivals, camps and weddings. Michael performed in the 2013 movie Tazi Baba (This Grandmother), which features Penka Encheva, a native Bulgarian singer. He arranged her songs for accordion and recorded them with her. In the summer of 2016, Michael accompanied the Bulgarian Voices of Seattle Women’s Choir on a Bulgarian tour which included a spot on Bulgarian national TV.
Michael currently directs and accompanies the Bulgarian Voices of Seattle Women’s choir. Osem i Devet is his current band, composed of accordion and tupan, with David Bilides. We invite singers and other musicians to join us, depending on the musical event.
Lee Otterholt, born in the US of Norwegian-American parents, lived and worked most of his life in Norway as a professional dancer, dance teacher and choreographer. In Norway he founded and led the Center for International Folk Dance in Oslo, Norway. He was a professor of folkloristic dance at the Norwegian National College of Ballet and at the University College of Oslo. He was responsible for the establishment of 4 still-active folk dance clubs and 3 performing groups in Norway. He led these groups to festivals all over Europe. He also produced teaching materials (videos, books and CDs) on folk dance for use in the Norwegian school system. He has a professional education in choreography and was one of the choreographers of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994.
The last 20 years Lee Otterholt has been active on the international scene, teaching international folk dance (“Balkan and Beyond”) at festivals, workshops and camps in Europe, the US and Asia and leading folk dance cruises and tours to many part of the world. He moved to the US, to Laguna Beach, California in 2003. There he founded and led the international folk dance performing group “SYRTAKI,” and he is the lead singer in the BalkanBeat band “Zimzala.” He teaches regularly at local folk dance clubs in the area and teaches his own recreational folk dance group every Wednesday and Sunday evening at Laguna Woods. He is the chairman of the Laguna Folk Dance Festival. In 2015 he received the National Dance Award, presented at the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival.
Lee’s teaching emphasizes style: dancing well, not just “getting the steps.” Whenever he can, he also tries to bring improvisation, self-expression and spontaneity back into the folk-dancing traditions where these elements are a central part of the tradition. And he never loses sight of the fact that we recreational folk dancers dance because it is fun, and because these dances mean something to us – just as they were fun and meant something to the village dancers before us!
Tom Bozigian, of Los Angeles, California, is an internationally recognized dance instructor. He is a graduate of the Armenian State Choreographic Academy and also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (B.A.) in Russian Area Studies and a Master of Arts Degree (M.A.) in Education from Fresno State University. He is fluent in three languages: English, Armenian and Russian. He unites the elements of professional dancer-choreographer/linguist/musician to support his far-reaching research on the subject of Armenian dance ethnography. Tom Bozigian is particularly sought out for his extensive knowledge of dances from the pre-1915 period and has presented some of his material to institutes and ensembles throughout Armenia. His dance expertise also covers dances of the Armenian Diaspora and new folk dances. Tom Bozigian’s teaching has taken him to most continents of the world. He has been commissioned to set suites of Armenian dances for both Armenian and non-Armenian dance ensembles in various countries, and he regularly tours the Orient and Europe teaching Armenian dance.
Along with his teaching courses, which includes instruction in Russian character, Lebanese (Dabke) and Greek folk dances, Tom Bozigian leads a folklore orchestra which has produced numerous recordings. He is an accomplished percussionist with nearly 45 years of performance experience as a dancer/singer/musician.
After graduating from the choreographic school in Armenia and returning to Los Angeles in 1975, Tom Bozigian made the decision to devote his career full-time to the preservation, performance and instruction of original Armenian song and dance. Each year Tom travels to Armenia to continue teaching and research, working with various institutions and dance specialists such as Artashes Karapetyan of the Mankavarzhakan Institute for Dance as well as with folk musicians. Areas throughout Armenia, including other countries, are targeted and visited for the purpose of drawing analogies of original dances from both Armenia and the Diaspora.
In Los Angeles Tom continues with classical dance training and studies musical arrangement and harmony. Presently, he teaches weekly classes in Armenian dance in southern California and plays with his trio of folk musicians who have recently recorded two CD’s. He also regularly records with the Armenian State Television Ensemble for Folk Instruments which has also been included on his CD’s.
MIROSLAV “BATA” MARĆETIĆ
Miroslav “Bata” Marćetić was a leading performer, soloist and choreographer, with the Serbian National Folk Ensemble “Kolo” in Belgrade, Serbia for seventeen years and is the recipient of numerous awards for his artistic work.
Miroslav created a great number of choreographies, which have won either first or second prizes in competitions, both in Former Yugoslavia and in Canada. Under his artistic direction, many ensembles have won artistic awards.
In 2004 in Toronto, ON, Miroslav established his own dance school, “Academy of Serbian Folk Dancing Association” which consists of more than 450 dancers of all ages and a folk band. He simultaneously works with the international folk dance community where he teaches Serbian and East-European dances. He has presented workshops in former Yugoslavia, Japan, Israel, Brazil and Taiwan in addition to the US and Canada.
Miroslav Bata Marcetic has devoted his entire professional career to the preservation and perpetuation of folklore and dance. His contribution to the Canadian Serbian folklore community is immeasurable.
Melanie Lawson Kareem is the Founder and Creative Director of Get Started Playing Ukulele, an international network of good-hearted folk who embrace the joy of ukulele in daily, live, virtual lessons. Melanie’s proprietary teaching materials and methods simplify and expedite the learning process. Students with no previous musical experience are strumming and singing right away! More experienced players collaborate together at an intermediate-level and rehearse for shows. Adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, Melanie’s classes went virtual, and she has provided ukulele instruction and camaraderie to pandemic-weary people for 450 days straight. Many folk dancers find it a natural extension of their musicality to pick up a ukulele. That was the case for Melanie, who grew up in a folk dancing family. Raised in Pasadena, California, the Lawsons were knit together by music, song and dance. Melanie established her first School of Middle Eastern Dance before the age of twenty, and developed it over decades into a legendary multi-generational belly dance tradition, based in Topanga Canyon. After her father’s passing in 2015, Melanie answered the call to continue Chuck Lawson’s legacy of creating ukulele instruction for friends and neighbors who had never been musicians. This lead naturally to many multi-aged community ukulele performances in Topanga Canyon under the name “Topanga Ukulele Revival.” Melanie’s community of fun-loving ukulele students now stretches from coast to coast, and crosses international borders.
Genci Kastrati finished his studies at the Academy of Fine arts in historical dancing, which is the Albanian equivalent of folklore dancing. By that time he was already a solo dancer at the National Ensemble, but also became choreographer for the ensemble and presented his first complete concert in 2008.
Apart from this job, Genci is also teacher at the Art Academy, the Academy of Sports and member of the scientific council of the National Centre for Non-material Culture, and occasionally involved in teaching at amateur groups.
Since 2010, Genci has been teaching at workshops in Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Erica Goldman has been an engineering linguist, a high school English teacher, an Israel exchange program coordinator, a nonprofit Chief Program Officer, and alongside it all: an Israeli dance teacher.
A two-time Brandeis University graduate, she holds an MBA and a Masters in Jewish Professional Leadership and is a grateful Wexner Fellow. Erica is an Educator for the Cornerstone Fellowship, a program of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and in May 2015, she launched Ma’agal, an initiative to improve Israeli dance education at schools and camps across the nation.
Erica spent years performing with the Mandala and Collage Folkdance Ensembles, as well as many Israeli dance troupes including B’yachad and Zikukim. Having inherited her love of dance from her father, she can’t wait to pass on the passion to her toddler, Emerson. Erica made her Stockton debut in 2011 and it absolutely changed her life.
STEPHEN “STEVE” KOTANSKY
Stephen “Steve” Kotansky was raised in the San Francisco area, moved to southern California after high school, and danced with the prestigious AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN International Music and Dance Company) of Los Angeles, California. He also danced with Vince Evanchuk and his Ukrainian dance troupe, the Westwind Folk Ensemble, and the San Francisco Russian Dance Group, before becoming a dance major at the University of California at Los Angeles. Meanwhile, he continued his study and teaching of Balkan and Central European dance culture. He made his first research trip to Hungary and former Yugoslavia in 1970. In the early 1970s, Steve traveled throughout Germany for seven years. He worked with ethnic communities in Munich, teaching international folk dance, performed and co-founded the performing group Gajda, while taking advantage of his proximity to Balkan and Eastern European countries to pursue his interest in the study and research of their dances. He also lived in Bucovina for a while learning local folklore.
Steve taught folk dance in Western Europe and organized workshops in Hungary, Macedonia, and Serbia. In the late 1970s, Steve returned to Hungary and studied with dance master, Timár Sándor, among others. It was during this time that Steve met his future wife, Susan Snyder. Steve has since taught at every major North American festival and camp, often with his wife, Susy. Their work continues to be an expression of their love and passion for dance, finding time to teach dance to children K-12 in New York City area public and private schools. Steve also serves as a consultant to several Hungarian folk ensembles. Most recently, Steve has been researching Albanian and Roma dance from the Diaspora and continues his work and research in Balkan and Central European countries. He is particularly interested in dance culture as it has evolved since the “fall of the Wall” in these countries.
The Laguna Folk Dance Festival 2022 Schedule
10am (PST) - Genci Kastrati
Genci Kastrati finished his studies at the Academy of Fine arts in historical dancing, which is the Albanian equivalent of folklore dancing. By that time he was already a solo dancer at the National…
11am (PST) - Erica Goldman
Erica Goldman has been an engineering linguist, a high school English teacher, an Israel exchange program coordinator, a nonprofit Chief Program Officer, and alongside it all: an Israeli…
12pm (PST) - Lee Otterholt
Lee Otterholt, born in the US of Norwegian-American parents, lived and worked most of his life in Norway as a professional dancer, dance teacher and choreographer. In Norway…
1pm (PST) - Ahmet Luleci
A native of Turkey, Ahmet is an accomplished choreographer, dance teacher and performer as well as a researcher of Anatolian culture. He is currently the artistic director…
2pm (PST) - Singalong with Melanie and Michael Lawson
Join Melanie and Michael as they lead a singalong.
3pm (PST) - Tom Bozigian
Tom Bozigian, of Los Angeles, California, is an internationally recognized dance instructor. He is a graduate of the Armenian State Choreographic Academy and also holds a Bachelor…
4pm (PST) - Steve Kotansky
Stephen “Steve” Kotansky was raised in the San Francisco area, moved to southern California after high school, and danced with the prestigious AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN…
5pm (PST) - Bata Marcetic
Miroslav “Bata” Marćetić was a leading performer, soloist and choreographer, with the Serbian National Folk Ensemble “Kolo” in Belgrade, Serbia for seventeen years and is the recipient of numerous…
6-9pm (PST) - Dance Party with dance leaders!
Dance Party with many guest dance leaders! (Teachers are more than welcome to join in and lead dances)
~8pm – Presentation of the 2022 “Southern California Lifetime Achievement in International Folk Dance Award”
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Laguna Woods CA 92637 USA
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