We've been proud to host many amazing teachers.
Beth Zweigoron established her dancing legs at University of Illinois IFD and then moved on to Minneapolis where she danced through a few decades with University of Minnesota IFD and Tapestry Folk Dance Center where she eventually served as President. She now dances with Greenville IFD which she founded in 2000 and keeps up her skills and repertoire by attending local, national and international workshops as often as her other life allows. She will be sharing favorite selections from Tineke and Maurits van Geel’s 2018 Caucasus Tour.
Mike Schafale has been doing international folk dancing since a chance encounter with it in Durango, Colorado in 1983. He has danced with the Raleigh group since late 1983. He also enjoys playing guitar with Svirachi and other folk dance bands, as well as other instrumental and vocal music. Other interests include paddling, hiking, backpacking, ecology, and botany.
Ruthy Slann is a native of Israel and an avid dancer. She travels in the Southeast and beyond to teach Israeli Folk Dance workshops for adults and children, and attends many dance workshops in the US and Israel. Ruthy hosts the Karmiel USA workshop at The Mountain in Highlands, NC on Labor Day weekend. She was the assistant course coordinator for the annual Karmiel Summer Course for foreign teachers and dancers for 16 years. She was on the Fred Berk Blue Star staff from 1990 until its last summer of 1998. She is cheerful and friendly, and her enthusiasm for dancing can be dangerously contagious.
Stephen Kotansky began folk dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area back in the late 1960’s. He quickly took an interest in Balkan and East-European dances and even began teaching as a teenager. He performed with the Westwind Folk Ensemble and Vladimir Perfiloff’s Russian Dance Company before moving to Los Angeles as a dance major at UCLA. While in Los Angeles, Stephen danced with the renowned AMAN Folk Ensemble as well as Vince Evanchuck’s Ukrainian Dance Group and Robin Evanchuck’s Liberty Assembly. Stephen was also a regular teacher at the Intersection Folk Dance Café and Zorba’s in the San Fernando Valley.
In 1970, Stephen made his first research trip to Hungary and Yugoslavia where he worked with the Hungarian State Ensemble and collected village dances in Croatia. He returned to Yugoslavia in 1972 where he stayed for 6 months researching, collecting, and recording village dance with Dr. Robert Leibman. He spent 8 years in Germany where he taught, choreographed, and performed ethnic dance from Central and South-Eastern Europe and Turkey.
Upon returning to the states in 1980, Stephen settled in New York City where he taught regularly for the Ethnic Arts Center (now the Center for Traditional Arts), and the American-Hungarian Folklore Centrum. He co-founded, with his wife Susan, the Guzsaly Hungarian Dance Ensemble and was an adjunct teacher at the Hunter College Dance Department. Stephen and Susan continued to make research trips to Europe and became popular teachers at all the major folk dance camps and seminars in North America. During the late 1980’s Stephen worked with top professional dancers, choreographers, and researchers in Hungary. In 1994, Stephen became a teacher at the Renaissance School in Jackson Heights, Queens, where he piloted a World Dance Program for grades 1-10.
Stephen continues to be a much sought-after teacher and choreographer known for his joyous and unique teaching style, and extensive knowledge of the cultures and styles of dance he teaches.