Thanks to everyone who came to the workshop on Saturday! It was great fun to dance with you all, and to get some international perspectives on polka traditions :) I hope you all had as good a time as I did!
If you missed it, didn’t hear about it or want to do it all over again, we’ll be running a similar workshop at this year’s Vaka festival in Akureyri (15th-18th June), and there’ll be all sorts of other nice stuff going on too.
Until then, keep up the nice music and dancing in Reykjavík, I’m looking forward to being back :)
P.S. if anyone took photos, it’d be great to have copies — posted here is fine, emailed in high resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org is even better!
Event: Tanzimpro/Balfolk Workshop in Múltí Kúltí
Where: Múltí Kúltí, Barónsstígur 3, Reykjavík
Tanzimpro (“Traditional European Dance-improvisation, also known as “balfolk” or “eurodance”) is a form of music and dance which has evolved all over Europe for centuries, and continues to do so today. Casting aside the nationalism, gender roles and silly costumes so commonly associated with “folk dance”, tanzimpro focuses on the intense, flowing connection between dancers, music and musicians as everyone involved improvises and reacts to each other.
If that sounds like fun, come along and learn the basic grooves for a variety of common dances (wickler/slängpolska, schottisch, polka, waltz, mazurka, polska… if we have time!) as well as techniques for building connection with your partner and the music, and ideas for improvisation and variations.
No need to bring a dance partner along if you don’t have one, you’ll probably end up dancing with everyone anyway :)
Entry is free, donations for the musicians and dance leader are gladly accepted.
Barnaby Walters (Hodgepig, Buzz, Duo Gerhardt & Walters) is a hurdy gurdy player and builder who, after spending ten years playing various folk and traditional music, discovered tanzimpro two years ago and wondered what he had been doing with his life for the previous eight years. Trying to make up for lost time, he has since danced and played for dancing in Iceland, Turkey, France, England, Germany and Austria, most recently as half of Duo Gerhardt & Walters.
Benjamin Bech (Bech and Bomholt, PÚLK, Vildspil, Tyrolerband) is an excellent dancer and clarinet player from Denmark, currently researching Icelandic traditional dance music.
Woohoo, die beste Drehleierspieler und Schalmeispielerin werden in Hamburg spielen! Verpass das nicht, Norddeutsche freunde :)
Book of Life praising hugs sums up very nicely what I enjoy about true following in dance — the opportunity to, for a few minutes, let someone else take care of everything.
Leading and following are things people can choose to do in the moment, not roles to be forced into, integrate into personal identity, or assume because of gender. Leading is to communicate “I have this idea about a thing to do”. Following is to communicate “I understand this idea. I accept or reject it.”.
Dancing with one person very clearly leading and the other very clearly following can be just as valuable an experience as a completely balanced dance with both(+) people leading and following each other. Each option is valid because the other exists. Awareness that the other option exists means that the people involved have chosen to act as they do.
That both people know that they could choose freely to lead or follow allows for the most authentic interactions between dancers.
I have had wonderful experiences completely following, completely leading, swapping with clear boundaries or dancing blurred, balanced and boundary-free. The common element is that what everyone involved wanted from the experience was communicated, and a consensus reached, whether verbally or not.
The predominating assumption in traditional dance is still that men lead and women follow (or even that men and women dance together), and as such consensus to dance differently must usually be reached verbally (try it! It’s incredible). With people who share my philosophy it’s sometimes possible to reach consensus without words, and hopefully that will become easier the more dance is danced like this.
Die Tanzsammlung Dahlhoff is now available to download in PDF format, one file per book, from the internet archive:
If you want full-resolution, archive quality TIFF files then the best place to get them from is still the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin site, but if you just want access to complete, usable, small-ish filesize PDFs then this is, as far as I know, the easiest place to find them. Viel Spaß damit!
Schottisches are like wind turbines. There are already so many, but, for the greater good, we still need more.” — P. Gerhardt
Most other dances are simply wickler with more rules.