From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library

Nordic Folk Dancing

in the

Sacramento, California Area

Gott Nytt År

Godt Nyttår

Hyvää uutta vuotta

Godt nytår

Farsælt komandi ár

 

Many people around the U.S. enjoy the enchanting movement and music of the traditional folk dances of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, & the Faroe Islands).  Although these dances originated in specific geographic areas populated by specific ethnic groups, today they are enjoyed by people of diverse ethnic groups, and there is no expectation that one's ancestors came from the Nordic region.  One only needs to appreciate the beautiful and moving music and dance from this part of the world. 

What is Nordic Folk Dance?

In the Sacramento area, we are an enthusiastic group who enjoy doing old favorite dances and learning new ones.  Our group is the Sacramento Area Nordic Dancers (SAND)We were founded as the El Dorado Scandinavian Dancers and changed our name as we broadened our area.  Often dancers come to the group from other recreational or social dance forms, such as International Folk Dance, Contradance, or Scottish Country Dance.  Any dance, music, or athletic background helps a person to pick up Nordic folk dance. 

Some of us own and wear traditional folk costumes from the Nordic lands to special events, but no costume is necessary, and everyday clothes are worn for regular dances.  Dance shoes are more important than dance clothes.  Shoe styles vary with the country.  A Danish, Norwegian or Swedish shoe is typically sturdy and dark leather, with a smooth ball of the foot.  The heel is usually low and rubber.  A Finnish shoe has light colored leather. The main characteristic is that the shoe be practical to use for turning dances. High heels are not suitable in this type of dance.  We normally dance on a dance floor, often of wood, but for performances we may dance outside. Dance floors are usually smooth.   

Dancing Opportunities in our Area

Weekend workshops and parties

SAND sponsors concerts, dance workshops, and evening parties, usually held in Sacramento, or nearby.  Carpooling from Sacramento can be arranged by contacting the group.

Request dancing during dance classes

Music for dances requested is played during the requests period of the weekly dance classes (see below).  Generally, easy to intermediate dances are requested.  Brief refresher instruction may be given upon request. 

Twice-yearly Folkedans Stevne at Alta

A folk dance weekend is held in the spring and fall at Camp Norge, northeast of Sacramento near I-80.  The fall workshop is often around the time of Halloween, and the spring one has been held in February or March in recent years.  Often features instructors brought over from the Nordic countries and always led by experienced dance leaders.  Sponsored by the Nordahl Grieg Leikarring og Spelemannslag.  See the Leikarring's site for details on past and current weekends. 

Dance Basics Class

Nordic folk dance can be learned by jumping in and trying it, like other folk dances.  However, the easiest way to learn the fundamentals and good technique is through a class.  We offer classes on the basics around greater Sacramento.  Four to six-week classes are offered weekly with time for dance requests during the session.  Classes may be offered at different halls around the Sacramento area and in the foothills.  See the class page for further information.  Weekday social dances may also be held during the summer. 

Performance Group

We perform at venues around the Sacramento area, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley.  We can perform east to the Lake Tahoe area and west to the Bay Area by arrangement.  For performances farther from Sacramento, we often team up with performers in nearby Nordic dance groups.  Our appearances can include easy audience participation after the performance dancing.  We typically receive a negotiable fee to cover group expenses.  Information and photos of the performance group are here.

Music for Dancing

Descriptions and photos of dance music and instruments and of local musicians who play for dances.  We enjoy dancing to live musicians at parties and workshops.  For classes, recordings of traditional tunes are used.  There is a wealth of music available today, and many younger recording artists are creating new tunes in traditional forms or combining modern arrangements with traditional melodies. 

Other Resources

Our members know of many other dance groups and Nordic resources.  To inquire, send your request and approximate location by email, and we may be able to help you. 

Other resources on Nordic dance, costume, culture, and related subjects are found here.

More photos of SAND on social occasions and performing are here:

Set 1

Set 2

Set 3

For general inquiries, contact: David Hill, 916-724-9120, davehill (at) sbcglobal (dot) net

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site created by John Hingtgen.  

05 Jan 2020 © SAND