Folk Dancing

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Folk dancing for adult beginner?

Aug 2010

I have really fond memories of folk dancing many lifetimes ago, and it seems like a great way to move, meet people, spend an evening (perhaps even get my teens to join in...) Wondering about how/where to get started, if there's an on-going group that teaches beginners and then includes them as they get better, what type of dancing is around (as in Israeli, Scottish, and the like)and where to go. We're in North Berkeley but can get around. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction(s). Happy to begin again

for israeli folk dancing there is cafe simcha, wednesday nights has folk dancing of various sorts, various nights.

there used to be some sort of international dancing at live oak park tuesdays i think too. but i don't have a contact for that.

there is celtic dancing at the starry plough monday nights.

i'm not sure what these are all like, i've had more interest than time to try them--have fun! anon

There's so much to choose from it's hard to know how to answer. I recommend Googling something like 'folk dancing berkeley east bay' and poke around. Here's just a sampling:

* Israeli folk dancing: Every Wednesday at the Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington Ave., Kensington, $5. Warmup/Beginner Teaching 8:00-8:30 PM Intermediate/Advanced Teaching 8:30-9:15 PM Party (no teaching) every fifth week.

* Bay Area Country Dance Society - This group 'promotes, preserves, and teaches traditional English and American music and dance in the San Francisco Bay area.' Check the website for events and weekly dances in Berkeley and beyond. I think there's a Wednesday night contra dance in Berkeley.

* Ashkenaz World dance of all sorts -- check the calendar (click on 'next month' to go beyond August). Balkan, Cajun, Israeli, swing, country-western, and more. I don't see any Israeli dancing on the calendar right now, but they definitely have it.

* Circle dancing

* Berkeley Folk Dancers Dana

I enjoy going to Israeli folk dancing on Wednesday nights. They teach 3 dances between 8 Pm and 9:15. Beginners are always welcome. There is open request dancing from 9-11 PM. There are one or two teens who come, some college students, as well as us adults. It's a lovely group. We meet at the Arlington church at 52 Arlington Ave, Kensington. The website is The other option that I know about is Contra and English country dance in Berkeley. Find out about it at There are people who do Scottish dance, but I don't have info on them. Also there used to be Int'l at the Albany YMCA- I don't know if it's still happening. Claire

Laurie Ann Lepoff teaches all types of dancing and knows everything about what types of dancing are around in the Bay Area and where to go. Her website is and her phone number is 510-444-4621. RMI

The SF Chronicle had an article about two years ago on folk dancing in Berkeley. I don't remember the details except they met at least once a week, had a broad age range of members and did dances from around the world/different times in history. I remember they met somewhere in North Berkeley - maybe at one of the parks? Hopefully someone will respond with more info but I wanted you to know the group is out there for you. Gail

yes, there is folk dancing in the area! Two to check out nearby: -International (Mostly Balkan, some Israeli) one Wednesday evening per month at Ashkenaz. The next session is on September 1, but it isn't a set Wednesday of the month, so check the monthly calendar at Teaching 7-8, then dancing for a few more hours.

-Friday night, 8 - 11 p.m. folk dancing at the Albany Y, 921 Kains Ave., Albany

Also see for area listings. Folk dancing again