Welcome to the 62nd annual
San Antonio Folk Dance Festival (March 13-15, 2020)
and Fun Arts Day!

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Festival teachers

Lee Otterholt (international dances)

Lee was born in the US of Norwegian-American parents, lived and worked most of his life in Norway as a professional dancer, dance teacher and choreographer. He founded and led the Center for International Folk Dance in Oslo, Norway. He was a professor of folkloristic dance at the Norwegian National College of Ballet and at the University College of Oslo. He was responsible for the establishment of 4 still-active folk dance clubs and 3 performing groups in Norway. He led these groups to festivals all over Europe. He also produced teaching videos, books and CDs on folk dance for use in the Norwegian school system.

The last 15 years he has been active on the international scene, teaching international folk dance ("Balkan and Beyond") at festivals, workshops and camps in Europe, the US and Asia and leading folk dance cruises and tours to many part of the world. He has a professional education in choreography and was one of the choreographers of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway in 1994.

Lee's teaching emphasizes style: dancing well, not just "getting the steps." Whenever he can, he also tries to bring improvisation, self-expression and spontaneity back into the folk-dancing traditions where these elements are a central part of the tradition. And he never loses sight of the fact that we recreational folk dancers dance because it is fun, and because these dances mean something to us - just as they were fun and meant something to the village dancers before us!

Ventzi Sotirov (Bulgarian dances)

Ventzi is a native of the Pirin Macedonian region and a graduate of the Institute of Choreography in Sofia, Bulgaria. He has been dancing since the age of seven when he was a member of a Sandanski children's ensemble. He danced with the Pirin National Ensemble for 11 years. Ventzi was voted "No. 1 Ethnic Dancer" for four years in national competitions of professional dancers in Bulgaria. He also taught Bulgarian dancing for children and arranged choreography for amateurs aspiring to enter choreography institutes.

Ventzi presents exciting dances from all six ethnographic regions of Bulgaria: Shope, Thrace, Rhodope, North Bulgaria, Dobrudja, and his native Pirin (Macedonia), where he also directs his own dance Ensemble Bulgaria. Ventzi has taught throughout North America, Europe and Japan.

He plays tupan and tarambuka and has taught workshops in these instruments. Since moving to the Chicago area in 1991, Ventzi has taught at many groups, workshops and camps including Ethnic Dance Chicago, Door County Folk Festival, Balkanske Igre's Reunion Festival, Madison Folk Ball, Santa Barbara's Ethnic Music and Dance Symposium, Illini Folk Dance Weekend, and Buffalo Gap Music and Dance Camp.

Andy Taylor-Blenis (international, Scottish, and Mexican dances)

We are delighted to welcome back a beloved SAFDF legend! Andy holds a B.F.A. in dance with a minor in social anthropology. She is well versed in modern, jazz, and folk dances of Portuguese, Scottish, French, Hungarian, Armenian, Mexican, and Balkan origins. She holds a teaching certificate in Scottish Country Dance and is registered in St. Andrews in Scotland. Andy is also currently artistic director at the Boston branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society the first branch established outside the United Kingdom in 1950. She is also a former performer of the modern dance company Prometheus. Andy has contributed endless teaching, choreography, and inspiration to SAFDF over many years. This year she brings her special Sunday-afternoon smorgasbord of dances and her one-of-a-kind stretches between teaching sessions!

Franklin Houston (Balkan dances)

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!" This year, Franklin is proud and pleased to present some of those "Golden Oldies" to his fellow dancers at his Friday-afternoon session.

  Home    |   Teachers  |   Schedule   |   Concert   |   Fun Arts Day!   |   Registration / housing   |   Donate to SAFDF   |   Nelda Drury   |   Code of conduct   |   Continuing education   |   Heritage Festivals   |   Gallery   |   Contact  

Last updated: October 24, 2019