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Jaap Leegwater, Lee Otterholt 

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This year's camp will feature Jaap Leegwater teaching Bulgarian dances and Lee Otterholt teaching Balkan dances and dances of Norway.

About the teachers:

Jaap Leegwater is known by many folk dancers worldwide for his fun teachings and dances like Karamfil, Dobrudzanska Pandela and Mari Marijko. He started his dance career in his native country, The Netherlands, where he earned degrees in both education and international folk dance. Fascinated with the irregular Balkan rhyhms and drawn to the expressiveness of its movements, Jaap specialized in Bulgarian dance and choreography. In 1969, he was one of the first non-Bulgarians invited to study at the State Choreographer’s Schools in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

In cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Culture and the Bulgarian Center for Amateur Art, he carried out research on village dances in the different ethnographic regions and on the teaching of Bulgarian folk dance in the country’s educational system. During his frequent trips to Bulgaria, over a period of 30 years, Jaap collected and recorded many original dances and songs learned from older people in many villages throughout the country where folklore traditions are still a way of life. In addition Jaap participated in the rehearsals with several dance ensembles, both amateur and professional, and studied with some of Bulgaria’s best folklorists and choreographers.

These activities don’t just belong to the past. Jaap still travels to Bulgaria annually, reflecting his continued involvement in following the developments of the country’s folklore and dance scene. As a result, the material Jaap collects comes a variety of sources ranging from village settings to dance styles of the performing arts. This gives him the experience and flexibility to gear his teachings, repertoire and format toward the specific educational and artistic needs required of a diverse mix of groups and settings.

(from www.jaapleegwater.com)

For further information, see www.jaapleegwater.com.

Lee Otterholt is a freelance international folk dance master teacher based in Laguna Beach, California. Lee teaches locally in Southern California and at festivals and workshops in the United States and Europe and leads folk dance tours all over the world. 

For the last 10 years he has been active on the international scene, teaching various Balkan dances at international folk dance festivals in Europe, the USA, and East Asia, for example: Laguna Beach Folk Dance Festival (1999, 2001, 2007), Pan-Asian Folk Dance Festival – Taiwan (2002), DoeDans – Holland (1995), Festival of the Oaks – Berkeley (1999, 2001), Stockton Folk Dance Camp (2003, 2004, 2006), Tapestry –Minneapolis (2003), Florida Folk Dance Camp (2003, 2004), San Antonio Camp (2004), Mainewoods (2004, 2005). Lee has led folk dance tours and cruises to Norway, Greece, the Upper Danube, Alaska, the Lower Danube, Vietnam/Cambodia, Russia, Myanmar and the Adriatic Coast of Croatia. 

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!

(from www.leeotterholt.com)

For further information, see www.leeotterholt.com.