Caspar was born in 1990 in the Netherlands. He was an active dancer from a young age in groups that presented Dutch dances as well as groups that showed international dances. Caspar graduated in 2013 as a dance teacher at the dance academy Codarts in Rotterdam. Besides folk dancing, Caspar has experience in modern/contemporary dance, classical ballet, jazz dance, ballroom, and tap dance.
Since his graduation he has been teaching different dance styles to children, teenagers, and adults at amateur and professional levels. In 2014, he founded a youth school for theater arts which performs stage musicals every year for which Caspar creates the choreography. He has taught courses, both as a folk dance instructor and as a choreographer, in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Taiwan and the USA. Caspar has been specializing in folk dances from countries around the Black Sea. Both the richness and diversity of dance and music around the whole world are his inspiration.
Some dances that Caspar has taught are Khorumi, Shavlego, Kapatovsko Horo, and Kermiswals.
Roberto 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.
Roberto now lives in Reggio Emilia in Northern Italy, considered to have one of the most important dance communities in Italy.
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 is the founder of Folk Atelier Reggio Emilia (FARE), devoted to the development and conservation of folk dance heritage.
As director of FARE, he is in charge of organizing and conducting folk dance classes, workshops with Italian and foreign specialists, and of the performing sector, staging various performances, parties, and dance gatherings.
In recent years, he has organized some of the most important annual folk dance events in Italy, such as, Balkanot Israeli and Balkan Dance Camp, Maratona di Danza folk dance marathon, and Camp Yofi Israeli Dance Camp in Lago di Garda. He has completed the training program in Folk Dance Teaching led by Jan Knoppers from the National Dance Academy of Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Roberto teaches weekly classes in various cities in the North of Italy and conducts monthly sessions in Rome and Milan besides conducting workshops and seminars throughout Europe, the United States (notably the Stockton Folk Dance Camp), and Canada.
Dances Roberto has taught include Ballo in Dodici, Bssanello, Cntradanza, Courento, Do Pasi, Falsa Moneda, Galoppa, Giga, Hora din Moldava, Joj Rado Joj Radmila, Jota Revolvedera, Mazurka di Sant’Andieu, Mazurka sor Cesare, Mineco, Passu Torrau, Saltarello, Sbrando, Scottis, Sor Cesare, Spagnoletto, Su Ballito, Su Dillo, Syrtos Kitrinou, Tarantella Bim Bom Ba, Tresso, Tu Romnie, Tumankuqe, Vajta n’Elbasan, and Valle e Mesme.
Franklin is one of those rare individuals who “grew up” in folk dancing. He started taking square dance lessons at the age of 8 from George Lowrey, a long-time folk and square dance leader. Franklin learned folk dances from many eminent teachers around the country and brought back to Texas many dances that became part of Austin International Folk Dancers’ regular repertoire. He is known for his ability to present dances with tricky footwork, syncopated rhythms, and challenging patterns so that everyone can learn them, and has been told on a number of occasions, “you’re the first person who taught that dance so I could understand it!”
Genci 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, 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.
Jaap Leegwater, accompanied by Jan Wollring
Jaap is known worldwide for his fun teaching and having introduced dances including Karamfil, Dobrudžanska Pandela, and Mari Marijko. He began his dance career in The Netherlands, where he earned one of his degrees in international folk dance, specializing in Bulgarian folk dance and choreography. Jaap studied at the State Choreographer’s school in Sofia and Plovdiv, living there for two years; he regularly returns to Bulgaria to update his studies and make new recordings.
Accompanying Jaap will be accordionist Jan Wollring. Jan was the regular accompanist of Bulgarian singer Galina Durmushliyska during the years she lived in the Netherlands. Jan’s music and his band, also appear on several of Jaap’s recordings and teaching CDs.
Miroslav — a native of Pančevo, Serbia — was a leading performer, soloist, and choreographer, with the Serbian National Folk Ensemble KOLO in Belgrade, Serbia, and Montenegro (former Yugoslavia) for seventeen years and is the recipient of several awards for his artistic work. He has attended almost all folk dance seminars held in former Yugoslavia and eventually, he became the instructor of several workshops held in former Yugoslavia, Japan, Israel, and currently in Canada and the United States. As a well-known choreographer, he was chosen by the Folk Dance Association of Serbia to be a judge at folklore competitions that were taking place in Serbia and Montenegro from 1980 to 1993.
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, such as: In Serbia: Ensemble of Dom Kulture Banatsko Novo Selo at Ruma Provincial Folk Dance Competition: 3rd place in 1977, 1975, 1985, 1987, 1983; 2nd place in 1989; and 1st place in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1991; In Canada: Hajduk Veljko Ensemble from Toronto: 2nd place at the Kiwanis Music Festival in 2001; and SCA Oplenac from Mississauga: 2nd place in 2002 and 1st place in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 at the Kiwanis Music Festival; 1st place in 2000 and 2004 at the CHIN Canada Day International Festival; and was awarded the Order of National Merit, 2nd degree in 2003 by Vojislav Kostunica, the former president of Serbia and Montenegro.
In Canada, Miroslav works in several dance associations and ensembles: Kralj Petar II from Winona since 1993, Serbian Club Kordun since 2004, and he worked in S.C.A. Oplenac in Mississauga from 1993 until 2004, and in Folk Dance Ensemble Hajduk Veljko from Toronto from 1999 until 2006. Due to his long-term, dedicated work in the Canadian Serbian community, on December 26th, 2005, Miroslav was awarded the Golden Plaque by the Cultural-Academic State Association of Serbia.
In 2004, Miroslav established his own school of dance, “Academy of Serbian Folk Dancing,” which includes more than 300 dancers of all ages, and a folk band instructed and directed by Mica Petrović, a music coach par excellence, whose last forty years of his adult life have been dedicated to publicizing and promoting Serbian folk music. The Academy of Serbian Folk Dancing is the winner of the following artistic awards: at the Kiwanis Music Festival in both junior and senior categories – 1st place in 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005; at the CHIN Picnic Canada Day Festival competition: in junior category – 1st place at in 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005: in senior category – 2nd place in 2008 and 1st place in 2006 and 2005.
Miroslav simultaneously works with the international folk dance community where he is teaching Serbian and East-European dances. These include the Ontario Folk Dance Association (2001, 2002 and 2005 in Waterloo and 2005 in Toronto), Hamilton International (1995, 1998, 2000 and 2005), and McMaster University (1995-1998), among others. His most recent workshops were held in Bridgton, Maine (2001, 2002 and 2004); Boston, Massachusetts (2002); San Antonio, Texas (2002, 2005 and 2008), Fairlee, Vermont (2002); Pocono Manor Resort, Pennsylvania (2003); Socorro, New Mexico (2003); and the Camp Crystal Lake, Florida (February 2006), Mainewoods, Fryeburg Maine, USA (2006), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada (November 2006), Ottawa, Ontario (February 2007), Atlanta, Georgia, USA (April 2007), and San Antonio, Texas (March 2008).
Miroslav 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.
Lee has a multi-faceted career that includes roles as dancer, choreographer, dance contest judge, festival organizer, dance ensemble founder, author, and teacher.
In addition to founding the semi-professional international folk dance ensemble Opanci in 1977 and Kitka in 1982, Lee has been the choreographer for several amateur folk dance ensembles throughout Scandinavia. Lee also was leader of the Center for International Folk Dance, Oslo, from 1982 to 2003.
From 1980 to 2003, he was the Teacher of Ethnic and Folkloristic Dance at the Norwegian National Ballet School and the Norwegian National College of Music. In 1985, he was a dancer with the Norwegian Opera Ballet for their production of “Carmen” in Oslo. From 1983 to 1986, Lee was a choreographer and dancer for many entertainment programs for the Norwegian National Broadcasting System. From 1986 to 1989, he was choreographer and dancer in several plays and musicals at the National Theater and the Norwegian Theater in Oslo.
In 1992, Lee was choreographer for “Noorse Rapsodie” at the Netherland’s Folkloristisch Danstheater in Amsterdam. In the summer of 1992, Lee organized the Zakynthos (Greece) Summer Dance Festival. In August of the same year, he was a judge for the “World Folk Dance Festival of Youth and Students” in Costinesti, Romania. In May, 1995, he was the choreographer for the Norwegian Government’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Oslo Spektrum. In February of 1994, he was co-choreographer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. In January, 2000, Lee was the choreographer for the “WorldRhythms” for “Milleniums Concert” at the “Gamle Losjen” in Oslo.
As the leader for Mel Mann’s Folk Dance on the Water 2001 Classic Greek Isle Cruise and 2002 Alaska Cruise, he has established himself with American dancers as an impressive dance leader. In 2003, Lee and his wife Hilde moved to the United States to make their permanent home in Laguna Beach, California.
He directs the Syrtaki Greek folk dance ensemble and is the lead singer in the BalkanBeat band Zimzala. He teaches regularly at local folk dance clubs in the Southern California area and instructs his own recreational folk dance group every Wednesday evening at Laguna Woods. In 2015, he received the National Dance Award presented at the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival. Lee is the author of several books and instruction manuals about folk dance. He also is a designer and implementer of a folk dance teaching program used in Norwegian elementary and secondary schools including creation and production of teaching materials.
Andy Taylor-Blenis is the daughter of Marianne and Conny Taylor, cofounders of the Folk Arts Center of New England. She began international folk dancing as a young child.
Marianne Taylor taught Portuguese dances Stockton Camp and Andy continues her work of reconstructing Portuguese dances.
Andy was certified in Scottish Country Dance at age 17. She is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amhurst with a BFA in dance and minor in Social Anthropology.
Andy teaches international dance through the Folk Arts Center of New England, Revels Inc., and Mass Movement as well as in private and public schools and universities.
In 2006, Andy founded and is the artistic director of Mladost Folk Ensemble in honor of her father, Conny Taylor. Andy is also currently artistic director for the RSCDS Demonstration Team and the Wheaton College Dance Group in Norton, Massachusetts.
She continues to teach modern and jazz dance at the college level as well as teaching in local studios.
Dances Andy has taught include Baile de Camacha, Bagi Verbunk és Forgós, Bagikarikázó, Köcsárdás, Lakodalmi Tánc, Malhao, Nã Vás Ão Mar Tonho, Olahos, Kapuvári Verbunk, Rosinha de Afife, Rosinha de San Lourenco, Ruzga de Santa Marta, Somogy Karikázó, Vira Cruzada, Vira da Nazará, and Vira do Sitio.