About folk dancing

Folk dances are the traditional social dances of ethnic groups, rural or urban, from all over the world. Social dances are participatory dances done at weddings, parties, and other gatherings.

Recreational international folk dancing is based on social dances, adapted to 2-to-5 minute formats to provide a sampling of a variety of cultures. Some of the dances we do use simple village steps; others might be choreographed to fit a particular recording. Tempos range from relaxed to lively.

FAC's repertoire includes dances from the USA, Canada, Mexico, and South America; from the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Western, Central and Eastern Europe; from the Balkan, Baltic and Mediterranean regions; and from the Middle East, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa, Japan, and the Philippines.

How do I start?

If you are new to folk dancing, the FAC Friday dances or our outdoor summer dances are the perfect place to join. Come at the beginning and step right in; we are a friendly, supportive group. It isn't necessary to bring a partner or to have previous dance experience. Beginners and singles are always welcome! Comfortable, lightweight casual clothes and nonmarking soft-soled, low-heeled shoes are best for folk dancing.

In a typical FAC Friday evening, we do many line and circle dances, plus some couple and set dances, each to a different recorded or live folk tune. Local folk dance bands provide music one or two evenings every month.

Each week, several dances are taught or called, and most others can be followed by watching the leading dancers. Some dances are favorites or classics that are done almost every week; others are less often done. If you attend regularly, after a while many dances will look, sound, and feel familiar to you.

The FAC video pages offer a sampler of some dances done at the FAC Friday dance and other events, as well as music and dance clips from performances, parties, and camps.