From the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library

Scandinavian Folk Dancing

in the

Sacramento, California Area

Many people around the U.S. enjoy the enchanting movement and music of the traditional folk dances of the Scandinavian 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 Scandinavia.  All that is required is an appreciation of the beautiful and moving music and dance from this part of the world. 

What is Scandinavian 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 El Dorado Scandinavian Dancers (EDSD)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 Scandinavian folk dance. 

Some of us own and wear traditional folk costumes from parts of Scandinavia to special events, but no costume is necessary, and everyday clothes are worn for regular dances.  The only garment that is important is a pair of dance shoes.  Styles vary with the country.  A Danish, Norwegian or Swedish shoe is typically sturdy, with a low heel and a smooth leather sole.  The heel is leather or rubber.  A Finnish shoe is made in lightweight leather. 

Dancing Opportunities in our Area

Special concerts are sometimes held in Sacramento. 

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. 

Weekend workshops and parties

EDSD sponsors Saturday or Sunday afternoon dance workshops followed by evening parties, sometimes with live music, usually held at the Wolterbeek dance barn in Shingle Springs or a nearby dance hall.  Guest teachers and musicians from throughout California, and occasionally from out of state, are often invited to participate in these events.  There is often a workshop or teaching time, followed by a party.  Carpooling from Sacramento can be arranged by contacting the group.

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 Scandinavia 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

Scandinavian 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 a half hour 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 Scandinavian dance groups.  Our appearances can include easy audience participation after the performance dancing.  A negotiable fee is typically received to cover 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

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

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

Set 1

Set 2

For general inquiries, contact: John Hingtgen, 916-657-4046.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Site created by John Hingtgen.  

02 Oct 2014 EDSD. 

All photos El Dorado Scandinavian Dancers unless attributed to another source.