One of the coolest things about international folk dancing is that it’s, well, international. Not only are the dances from all over the world, but the dancers themselves, both the instructors and the campers, are from all over.
The picture at left depicts people who came here from outside the US to dance this year. Countries represented are Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, China and Canada. In other years, we’ve had Taiwanese instructors teaching fabulous Taiwanese dances. One of our favorite instructors lives in Canada, is originally from Romania and teaches wonderful Roma dances. We’ve had Dutch instructors teaching Russian dance, a Japanese instructor teaching Macedonian and one year one of our workshop instructors taught some Indian (Punjabi) and African dances.
And I have to tell you, folk dance people are the nicest people in the world. I don’t know if the dancing attracts nice people or if all the endorphins make people feel so good they can’t help but be nice. They’re just so much fun to be around.
I also love the fact that folk dance pulls young people in and they often become lifelong folk dancers. It’s so much fun to see their energy on the dance floor, but it’s also very cool that they interact so easily with a wide range of ages. The young men ask older women to dance, the young women gladly step out on the floor with older men because they love dance so much and wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity.
Here’s a photo of my daughter-in-law enjoying a line dance with my baby granddaughter. This is my granddaughter’s first dance camp and I hope there will be many more. There’s a precedent she can follow. In the photo above, the young man in the red shirt has attended camp every year since before he was born🙂 . He’s a fantastic dancer and one of the nicest guys you could ever meet.
I think if everyone started folk dancing, we’d have much less trouble in the world. Dance allows us to learn about each other’s cultures, to interact with each other, to see “the other” as someone very much like ourselves. We should make dance, not war.