Workshops

Traditional and experimental workshops. What’s the difference?

We propose two lines of workshops, traditional and experimental. Pick the one you like more, no one will judge your decision. Both lines are limited in the number of participants, so your registration will be binding.

  • Traditional line is for casual social dancers, who enjoy learning different folk dances from different countries and regions. Topics will be various and fun is guaranteed.
  • Experimental line is less about the dances and more about the dancing. Intense work focusing on general dance technique is suitable for seasoned balfolkies, who want to try a different approach.
  • The balls will stay the same for everyone.

Traditional workshops descriptions

SA 10:00-11:30 | The Strange Things Bands Play (Mikuláš)

Scottish, valse, mazurka, scottish, cercle, chapelloise, scottish… we all know how a bal folk night looks like. But sometimes band goes wild and announces školácká, moulinet, maraichine, paulaie or something else you don’t encounter every day. This is the workshop gathering all the strange and weird dances bands of the festival will play this year (not including those covered by other workshops, of course). So if you want to sail smoothly through the dance nights, don’t miss it out.

Mikuláš Bryan works hard on promoting bal folk on the Czech scene, while also teaching blues dancing and dance technique on a regular basis. His dancing background consists of tango, swing, salsa and, balboa with years of jazz and contemporary workshops here and there. Although he approaches every dance with a deep respect for its roots and traditions, he always aspires to broaden its horizons and create a bridge between tradition and modernity.

SA 11:30-13:00 | Couple dances variations: Lithuanian style (Goda)

Yes, sometimes it’s fun to do the crazy-hazy disco-post-glam-rock inspired pogo-fusion scottish. But it’s also great to dig in the local dances from different countries to find new, creative and completely traditional variations you can use to spice up your balfolk couple dancing. We will use bits of Lithuanian foxtrotas, waltzes and polkas to bring your game one step higher.

Goda Sungailaitė is a dancer, teacher and organiser from Lithuania. She specialises in folk dances of her homeland but also has a crush on French style bal folk. This time she will bring her two passions together.

Lucas ThébautSA 14:30-16:00 | Poitou revisited (Lucas)

Quick recap of some of the dances from Poitou region. Not only because they are great fun to dance, but also because Lucas will play them in the evening. So it’s probably something you would rather not miss.

Lucas is a born & raised Poitou dancer and musician, active through the years in many groups both in traditional and neo-folk scene. For the dances from Poitou, you would find only very few people as capable as him.

SU 11:00-12:30 | Re-Check the Czechs (Marie)

Every year, we bring you some Czech dances, coresponing to what we have brought to Prague. This time it will be something to do with finnish katrilli and en avant deux from Brittany and Poitou.

Marie Fričová has obtained a degree in dance pedagogy from the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (HAMU), specialising in Czech and Moravian folk dancing. She has been a guest dancer at the National Theatre and has taught at many art schools and conservatories, now teaching Czech and Moravian folk dancing at HAMU.

SU 12:30-13:30 | Fun Dances of Finland (Minna)

Although Finns are considered rather off-hand nation in general, they sure know how to party when the time comes. We will learn some easy and fun finnish dances, that are a must for every midsummer beanfeast. Get ready for huutokatrilli and other words you have never heard in your life and maybe have no idea how to pronounce them as well.

Minna Raskinen is a musician with background in folk music and a doctoral degree from the folk music department at the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, Finland. She has performed in different line-ups and played various solo concerts in almost 40 countries. Although mainly musician, she loves to dance and does it as often as possible. This year she will share her passion with us in Prague.

vincent_2SU 14:00-15:30 | Grouler, grimoler, saoter! (Vincent)

Dance the Pays Gallo style! This workshop will cover some of the less well know dances from Upper Brittany, with focus on those proposed by Beat Bouet Trio in the evening. Look forward to kerouézé, en avant deux and much more.

The dance culture of Brittany has always been running in Vincent Michaud’s blood. Although right now he is living and teaching in Finland, he was born in Brittany and his heart has immense understanding for the local dances. He is still capable to pass them on together with his knowledge of dance teacher and professional.

Experimental workshops descriptions

Wanna get experimental? You can expect small group of students (40 max.) and 4-6 hours a day with different teachers. We have a lot to share with you and choosing the experimental line is a bit of a commitment. If you know you won’t be able to get from bed before noon, you should probably choose the traditional line.

The joy of organic movement (Päivi)
Through simple exercises we´ll let our brain rest and concentrate on all our senses. We´ll give our body the possibility to invent and lead the movement by its own rhythm. Both letting go and finding nuances and organic movement gives us the freedom of dancing alone and together. We´ll work individually, with a partner, in groups and all together using our body and voice.

Päivi Järvinen is a performer, stage director, choreographer, teacher and producer from Finland. Majored in dance at the Theatre Academy Helsinki. In her work she focuses on the movement in the everyday life and connection between the sound and the space. Also an avid finnish tango dancer with plenty of couple dancing experience.

AnnaEveryone’s a dancer (Anna)

Learning dancing is not only about steps. Sometimes, you can’t catch the rhythm. Sometimes, it’s difficult to figure out how the heck to move your leg THAT way. And sometimes, you feel like your body’s not doing the things you want it to do. We all have those moments, no matter if we are beginners or experienced dancers. Good news – you can make it better. Everyone can. Let’s try to figure out what to do when you just don’t get it.

Anna Ward is mostly Czech. She loves dancing and always tries to explain to other people that they love it as well. She has encountered a range of dancing styles, including Irish céilí, Breton dancing and line dance.

Dance-Walking (Rosa & Remi)

In this workshop, we will develop walking as a neutral point for dancing. Using it as a tool to immediately strip our dances of all the excess layers and focusing on the simplest of movements, we will go on a promenade, hand-in-hand with our partners, out of the basic-step and through spontaneous improvisation.

Rosa and Remi met in Andanças in the summer of 2013 and have been dancing together through life ever since. They come from a variety of backgrounds, from music to contact improvisation and martial arts, which they happily blend to spice up their moves and develop their own dancing language.

Unusual tools from Appennino mountains for our balfolk (Roberto & Eugenia)

How could a traditional repertory from Bologna’s mountain (Appennino) be useful for our balfolk ball, and dances? Anciently the dance was the space of the community feeling, a communicative form like the verbal language. Starting from some ancient forms of contact-less dances typical of that area, we will explore this particular way of communication through the space management, the body feeling, the attention to the partner and the surrounding people in the dance-hall.

Roberto Calzolari and Eugenia Marzi come from Emilia-Romagna region. They are into re-discovering the traditional culture of their birthplace, in particular the one of the mountains, which they love, where ancient music and dances are still alive. Roberto Calzolari is the founder of “Giovani Danzatori Bolognesi”, a balfolk family from Bologna.

When senses dance (Line & Mara)

In our daily live we use our sensory organs to find our way through the world. We want to activate each single one of them. They can support us for intense, special and careful dances, full of inspiration, limits and boundaries, respect and joy. We focus on the ways to find a smooth communication with our dancing partners. And when senses dance it definitley gives new values to our dance.

We are Line and Mara – a dancing duo from Berlin. We were always moving, so we have our roots in Modern dance, HipHop, Tango and Swing but most of all: Balfolk. It is our home since we were 12, and now we enjoy Balfolk dancing around Europe. In our courses we always switch roles, so everybody can start to understand how dancing works from the leading and following position. We think dancing is political so we also change roles to allow everybody to learn, what it means to be responsible for more then just ourselves. It also helps to experience what it means to hand over control and adapt to someone else.

Dancing with the whole body (Teresa)

What do you move when you are dancing? Your legs, your arms, your head? The whole body? In the first part of the workshop we will explore our freedom of expression, i.e. the manifold possibilities we have to move our body while dancing. We will work on different qualities of movement and try to widen our repertoire, with the goal to involve the whole body. In the second part we will put this to balfolk couple dances, reflecting on how we can maintain this feeling of freedom while staying connected to our partner we are dancing with. The goal is that both partners can bring their creativity and ideas into the dance and actively co-create the dance together.

Teresa has been dancing and loving (bal)folk for about 14 years. In the last years she started a second dance life in tango where she began to explore and enjoy many technical aspects that make dancing easy and joyful. However, the balfolk world remains her real home. In her teaching she likes to create a space where people come together in a comfortable atmosphere and learn from each other, explore new concepts together and exchange and share ideas on dancing.

Isolations (Pedro & Magda)

In this workshop we intend to “deconstruct our body” by working on isolation, chest, arms and belly movements, grounding, with a strong focus on breathing. We will use some of our favourite methods for increasing muscular movement, tension and force, relaxation, letting go, disconnecting and releasing. Solo and in couples, we will also try new concepts that will spice up our imagination, not only body work. It’s always good to use mind to unlock body but not forgetting the great benefit of the body into mind path, never forgetting the two are actually ONE.

Pedro: Born in Napoli, traveler, musician and dancer, he had the opportunity to get influences from different countries that deeply changed his way of performing and dancing. He wants to preserve the conscience of where the dances come from and their codes but giving space to himself to develop and discover, at the same time, a way to break those rules and create new possibilities with his body. Magdalena: An actress, dancer, singer, who loves to travel and taste the world…At her work every new production requires a lot of body training, hours of imporvisations, singing, dancing each time with new choreographers from different backgrounds. This made her easy to learn various acting and dance styles, also classical and modern concepts and how to make links between them to make an art work interesing and mind opening. Her dance teaching always links emotions into movement as it is for her one of the most interesting qualities to explore when the music play no matter what the dance is.