International Folk Dancing with Roland Forbes
Every Friday night since April 1996, a group of dancers have gathered at the Greenbelt Youth Center’s multipurpose room for an international folk dancing class led by Roland Forbes. Lessons are taught from 8 to 9 p.m. and then from 9 to 10 p.m. dancers can request their favorite dances. These photos are from an open house on September 14.
The instructor Roland Forbes writes down dance names and their countries of origin on the white board:
HORA DE LA MUNTE…ROM
These dances are from Israel, Macedonia, and Romania.
A circle dance
A girl who has been observing the class follows the dance moves.
Dancers chat at a break. Before Greenbelt, the instructor Roland Forbes taught this class in Beltsville. Many of the dancers have been dancing together once a week for many years, some since as early as the 1980s. They know each other well.
Forbes adds a few more dances:
Greenbelt Stomp is a line dance.
Forbes continues to add to his list:
SWISS BREAK MIXER…SWI
Forbes selects a CD.
Four dancers. On the right, Jeri tells me that she joined the class when it moved to Greenbelt in April 1996 and has attended every session, dancing once a week here. The class is taught in four sessions per year and each session has about ten meetings.
Roland Forbes wears a Greek fisherman’s cap for Kalamatianos Dance, one of the best known Greek dances.
Waiting for the start of a couple dance. For this class, partners are welcome but not necessary.
Forbes’s music collection
I have planned to take a photo of the group after the last dance, but the dancers urged me to take one before it so that I do not have to compete with the food.
Now, the last dance (supposedly)
That last dance was Dramskoto from Macedonia. Now the dance list is complete.
The dancers enjoy refreshments.
These four ladies all joined the class while it was still in Beltsville in the early 1980s. So they have been dancing together for nearly 30 years.
Of course, the last dance is not the last dance. Here Forbes has erased the dance list and added four more:
ET DODIM KALA…ISR
STELLA DI MAGGIO..SWI
These dances are from Bulgaria, Israel, Greece, and Switzerland.
Dancers pick pomegranates, which are symbols of fertility.
The final dance list for tonight:
HORA DE LA MUNTE
SWISS BREAK MIXER
The September 14 open house was the start of the fall session of International Folk Dancing with Roland Forbes. There are 10 meetings in this session and the last class will be held on November 16. The fee is $32 per person. Then, after a short break, the winter session will begin, and the dancers will be dancing folk dances from all over the world on Friday nights, just as they have been doing in the past 16 years.