We don’t believe in the beginner / intermediate / advanced. It works well to measure ego, not dancing.

That’s why we put only the set of skills you need / don’t need for each workshop.

Please, be honest with yourself. Everyone will learn more, if you do. Especially you.

Every workshop is 4.5 hours of focused work on one topic in a small group. Plus optional 90 minutes of whatever the teachers find useful: guided practice, personal feedback, round table, sharing.

If your head is spinning with the new inputs, you can skip the last bit and go to the “ballshop” instead. You will learn some simple & less known dances. Staying and finihsing the work is very much recommended, though.

Have respect for your teachers and co-students and be on time. We won’t be waiting. If you come too late, teachers might decide you have missed too much and not allow you to join the work anymore.

Also, if the teachers find out you struggle too much on their workshop, they might gently ask you to come the other day, if they teach twice. Or they can suggest another workshop alltogether. Remember: they have been working with all the other teachers for a week, so they know very well what happens where and can help you find the right place where you will learn the most.

F.B.I. @ Vinski Laine & Goda Sungailaitė

technique – analysis – teaching skills – back to roots

Welcome to Folk Bureau of Investigation. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, will consist of two parts.

Practical training: exploration of diverse exercises about steps, sliding, walking, springing, and much, much more. All linked to archetypal motions implemented in folk and balfolk dances.

Spy part: observing either collected video-documents or live dancers, delivering an analytical restitution of the steps, style and feel of the dance. And acquiring essential knowledge by doing so.

Do you teach dance? Do you learn new dances? This workshop will make understanding the dances easier and your learning faster. And give you tools to pass your knowledge on with ease.

The Teachers

Vinski Laine is a professional dancer, teacher and musician. Born in Brittany, lived in south of France, now teaching and performing in Finland He believes that even though balfolk is a style of dance of it’s own, it was born of the Folk Revival that has roots deep in the tradition. And us as dancers should be able to encompass all these three dance sensibilities and be grateful for the diversity they provide.

Goda Sungailaitė has been exploring the dancing world for years, trying out various dancing styles from ballroom till contemporary. Self-made Lithuanian traditional dance teacher for 9 years who has found a passion for balfolk with the special focus on its traditional background.

Dos and don’ts

You need: good eye, some dance experience of any kind, will and guts to do painful decisions.

You don’t need: any movement analysis tools.

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Groove! @ Remi Kesteman

Thinking melody & rhythm in dances

In this workshop, we will work on breaking down the elements of dance and music – like tiny lego pieces – to further enrich our array of moves and improvisation possibilities.

We’ll go from working with melodies and musical structures (the bases of musicality) to feeling and identifying rhythms and blend them together in advanced uses (off beats, polyrhythms, and so on).

 — Whatever the mind can think and conceive, the body can achieve.

Dos and don’ts

“Bar” necessities: ears, limbs, an open mind, perfect knowledge of the base step of couple dances.
You won’t need: a partner, musical skills comparable only to Mozart.

The Teacher

Remi Kesteman is a professional musician, teacher and aikido instructor. He has been dancing for as long as he can remember, and balfolk specifically for over 12 years. Born in Belgium, adopted by Portugal, his many backgrounds allow him to quickly connect with a variety of different cultures, which he believes is the essence of balfolk. His teaching methods are fed by a number of activities – from dance and music to the martial and the performing arts.

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Dancing Body Dynamic @ Aurora Cavazzin

dynamic of movement – bones, muscles & joints – couple dances 

We are not talking about heavy theory, Newton, numbers and formulas… we’ll work on body, movement and (surely) have fun while at it!

We will try all the ways to use each part of your body to imagine more possibilities and choose the right one at the right moment. Because only when you know the dynamic of the movement, you can recognize it in the dance. And then repeat and vary it in order to enrich your array of expressions.

We will go deep in the exploration of our bones, muscles and articulations to find the best way to use them. And then move on to the this so-called “dynamic of movement”, experience it’s weight and rhythms to understand how to use them while learning and teaching dances.

All this we will apply to the basics of balfolk dances to stimulate improvisation: waltz, polkas, scottishes, mazurkas and bourrées won’t ever be the same again!

Dos and don’ts

You need: a body, a knowledge of the basic steps of the Mazurka, Scottish, Bourrées, Waltz and Polka. Being ready to engage your body beyond the scope of folk movements.

You don’t need: any movement analysis tools, to be friends with Rudolph von Laban.

The Teacher

Aurora started dancing in Turin, Italy when she was 6 years old. She practiced ballet, contemporary dance, hip hop, jazz and, since 2011, traditional dances too. In 2016 she moved to Lyon to become a contemporary dancer by attending the 2 years course professional training at the Hallet Eghayan company. Ten years ago, she also began to work alongside teachers and gradually found herself to teach as well. Since 2016 she started to teach in folk dances workshops, trying to transmit the elements of her contemporary dance experience that can enrich our ways of dancing folk. In 2018 she graduated in community dance and overall dance pedagogy in Turin.

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Breton dances in Balfolk @ Leo Visser

Dancing traditional dances in a not so traditional setting

In balfolk we have a lot of musical styles and groups from many different regions. A lot of these groups play some common Breton dances. But when we compare the music of a traditional Breton group to groups who play more Neo Folk music or something in between, we see something interesting. You might notice that the more modern music contains more variations in the music.

This workshop will explore how we can use these different kinds of music in our Breton dances. During this workshop we will explore communication in chain dances. Besides that we will experiment with core principles from many different Breton dances and see if and how we can use these principles in the dances we have in Balfolk. So expect to dance the hanter-dro, plinn and kost ar c’hoat and many more together with the whole group while still having room to play and have fun in the dance!

Dos and don’ts

You need: to be able to dance an an-dro and hanter-dro without problems. Also being able to dance the plinn and kost ar c’hoat without much difficulty is advised. And be prepared to sweat due to the excessive amount of bouncing!
You won’t need: an extensive knowledge of the Breton dance, or be knowledgable about Balfolk music.

The Teacher

Leo Visser started with martial arts at a young age, but after injuries prevented him from advancing in the sport he turned to dancing. It took 1 year to get him addicted to the Breton dances, but being from the Netherlands he wasn’t able to go to the traditional Fest Noz that often. So he’s been dancing for over 7 years in Balfolk now. Besides dancing regularly all over Europe he also sometimes teaches groups of people who want to get better in balfolk and he gives workshops at balfolk festivals. During the workshop his partner Marjolein Bente will assist him while trying to make sure that the drinking breaks aren’t skipped.

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Couple dances: balance @ Folqué?

balance – connection – exercices – variations

In this workshop we will explore the balance, our own and the shared one, its limits and its beauty. We will improve out technique through the inertia, and we will develop (a lot) our listening skills, both leading and following. And we will find the many balances between leading and following.

Dos and don’ts

You need: to master the basics of mazurka, scottish and waltz; to be open to explore out of your comfort zone.

You don’t need: a partner; a huge set of variations for couple dances; any kind of prejudice.

The Teachers

Folqué?’s teachers, María Cubero and Francesco Palmeri, are teaching since many years in dance festivals in all Europe. Their workshops work on the most innovating and dynamic features of the Bal Folk, including influences external to the music genre. They focus on the most intimate and rhythmic aspects of the couple dancesThey understand the dance as an evolving language, more specifically they think about the Bal Folk as a dance which has its origin in tradition and evolves with the use.

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Couple dances: speed @ Folqué?

speed – connection – exercices – variations

This will be difficult, don’t say we didn’t tell you. We will stretch the limits of our connection skills in couple dances and we’ll stress a lot on the technique. We’ll learn how to add and remove steps, to speed up and go slow, to circulate in the dancefloor.

Dos and don’ts

You need: to know how to lead and follow in waltz, mazurka and scottish; to get out of the basic steps; to get along with irregular waltzes.

You don’t need: a partner; a huge ego; any kind of prejudice.

The Teachers

Folqué?’s teachers, María Cubero and Francesco Palmeri, are teaching since many years in dance festivals in all Europe. Their workshops work on the most innovating and dynamic features of the Bal Folk, including influences external to the music genre. They focus on the most intimate and rhythmic aspects of the couple dancesThey understand the dance as an evolving language, more specifically they think about the Bal Folk as a dance which has its origin in tradition and evolves with the use.

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Couple espresso @ Magdalena & Pedro

stay grounded – energy boost – strong connection – creativity & comfort

Espresso yourself!

We will work around listening and interpretation in couple dancing to be able to dance as close to the music as we can to feel free and uninhibited. We intend to work on body awareness and dance frame, improvisation solo and in couples to the music of different styles, moods and themes.

This workshop will be filled up with the best of Italian sounds and flavours to spice up everyone’s imagination and intend to make everyone more creative on the dancefloor. We will come closer to dance theatre practice where intention and imagination leads us to move certain way to express what we feel and what we intend to pass through our body.

Dos and don’ts

You need: to be open to leading and following in couple dances, master couple dances like mazurka, scottish, valse, polka.

You don’t need: to have improvisation skills, to love Italian coffee.

The Teachers

Magdalena is an actressmusician and dance teacher. Aside theatre she organizes and produces concerts, balls, dance workshops and she is a head of Balfolk Bialystok after giving her heart to FolkLab in Paris. Pedro discovered through “Mazurka Klandestina” that balfolk embraces everything he loves about dancing. Engineer, musician and art-lover, he’s the president of the association Neapolis Balfolk.

Magdalena and Pedro instantly felt they want to create and work together out of the energy that was between them with their natural ability to improvise. They are a spicy mixture of cultures and backgrounds, with energy to inspire and challenge themselves and others.  Their passion for theatre and dance is visible in everything they do.

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BUG @ Coralie Arnoult

dance debugging – morphing – crazy hands and feet

Bugging and debugging your dance.

We will start slowly with a floor warm-up : some stretching and strenghtening to prepare our bodies to move in every direction.  Then, through guided improvisations, we will increase our body awareness and see how we can twist our body in very weird ways. Focusing on our extremities, we will explore their different movement and quality possibilities to make them move in a crazy uncontrolled way.

As we go, we will mix in a lot of folk practice. We will have fun in searching how we can integrate these “bugs” into the dance. And get rid of the bugs we might already have.

We will end the workshop creating short fun folk duets with the inspiration of the day.

Dos and don’ts

You need: a good will, some curiosity, some patience, a sense of exploration. Be ready to take alternative routes!

You don’t need: a partner, any contemporary dance experience and to be perfect (on the contrary).

The Teacher

Coralie Arnoult is a french dancer originally trained in ballet, contemporary and theater. Within the Collectif Orobanches, she created the solo “POIRE” in 2017, starting point of her own choreographic research that she shares in her workshop. Passionate about connecting dance to other artistic disciplines, Coralie uses her varied background to explore movement improvisation. She is new to folk dance but excited about this new interdisciplinary challenge.

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© Pierre Chesneau

ME – YOU – US @ Réka Livits

Connecting and building community on the dancefloor

During this workshop you can experience and enjoy the depth and diversity of connection that bal folk has to offer – to yourself and to others.
We will explore together the rich variety of relating through dances of different kinds: in a couple dance, in a chain dance and in a small circle.
You will get the chance to practice tuning in with a dance partner and also with a whole group.
The intention is that you get a clearer and deeper sense of…

  • … the purpose of your dance,
  • … the ones with whom you are dancing with,
  • … and with the larger community that you share the floor with.

Dos and dont’s

You need: to knowledge and practice of the basic set of bal folk dances, get ready to clear things up and set aside some of your habits.

You don’t need: years of meditation practice and ability to do telepathy.

The Teacher

Réka started dancing at the age of 8 and since then she has journeyed through many genres: ballroom, contemporary, afro, salsa, forró, blues, ballet… She got to know bal folk 10 years ago when she lived in Belgium – and it was a love at the first step! She used to be an active member of the bal folk community in Berlin, but since she moved to Budapest, tango became her passion nr. 1. She is one of the initiators of the sustainaBAL community building bal folk project. Her speciality is dynamic core and axis work, but during this workshop she will share her experience about connecting and building community on the dancefloor.

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Dancing the Details @ Rosa Lopes Dias

effective communication – simplicity – couple dances

If we look at dance as a conversation, am I really aware of everything I’m telling you?

In this workshop we’ll focus on understanding how much “noise” we have in our dances.

We’ll discover, with ourselves and our partners, the enormous amount of little movements that we do without noticing and how much fun, control, clearness and freedom is possible to find when all the small details unknowingly present in our movement become a conscious choice to us.

Dos and don’ts

You need: basic knowledge of scottish, polka and valse; curiosity.

You don’t need: a partner; to be a balfolk expert.

The Teacher

Rosa has wandered the magical world of trad and balfolk for more than 10 years. It was love at the first dance. Since then, she’s been been smiling and twirling around the parquets of Europe, exploring the best ways of merging traditional roots with contemporary movement and questioning the role of improvisation and social constructs in dance. She’s been facilitating balfolk workshops since 2013 and has taught in festivals such as Boombal (be), Fest-i-Ball (pt), Prague Balfolk Weekend (cz), Venezia Balla (it), amongst others.

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photo: Marianna Łakomy @ Lovembal 2019, Poznań

Love your mazurka @ Magdalena Dąbrowska

connection – improvisation – senses

When Mazurka is announced heartbeats madly accelerate. The search for a partner is on, all to make the most of the 5 minutes or so ahead. Close your eyes and plunge yourself into the unknown.

This Sunday workshop will start by relaxing session of massage after two nights of dancing to help your sore muscles to keep on. Then we will all dive into senses and follow the music, emotions, to guide and move your whole body the way you feel. Breath in and out and let go of the schemes. Master what you already know and add new ideas, so that you can follow your heart and consciously build your dance. Fall in love with your dancing for the first time or fall in love again.

Dos and dont’s

You need: to be comfortable with both following and leading in Mazurka, dress up comfortably and warm because we will be on the floor for some time, bring a matt if you have one,  massage oil will be provided though you can take your favorite one.

You don’t need: to be creative; any kind of expectations and prejudice.

The Teacher

Magdalena Dąbrowska is an actress, dance teacher and madly in love with music violin player, Aside her theatre creations, she organizes and produces festivals, concerts, balls, dance workshops and she is a head of Balfolk Bialystok & member of Kapela Batareja. Her inspiration Pina Bausch once said words she uses in her teaching practice: I am not interested in how people move but what moves them.

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