Course Description

In this course, students learn folk dances from different countries. They understand basic dance steps, formations, positions, and terminology.

It  introduces students to the rich traditions of folk dancing from around the world. Through a variety of dance formations—including circle dances, contra dances, and partner dances—students will explore dance terminology, styles, and techniques. The course follows the B.E.S.T. framework: Body shaping, Energy qualities, Space (formations), and Time (music tempo and rhythm).

Students will learn dances from different regions, such as Las Bastrigue (French Canada), Od Lo Ahavti Dai (Israel), and Gallopade (England). They will also explore contra dances from the US and UK, partner dances from Russia and Mexico, and line dances from Greece and Romania. The course culminates with a final performance showcasing what the students have learned.

By the end of the course, students will have a solid understanding of various folk dances and improved dance skills. They will gain an appreciation for cultural diversity through the exploration of different dance styles and traditions.

Course Details

Folk Dance

Sixth Grade
Seventh Grade
Eighth Grade
Ninth Grade Tenth Grade Eleventh Grade Twelfth Grade

UNIT 1 – (January)

  • Intro to Class Procedures
  • Definition and Origins of Folk Dancing and dance terminology
    Dance is B.E.S.T in folk dance context) >> B = Body shaping/styling; E =  Energy qualities (soft, percussive, lyrical/smooth, etc.); S = Space – dance formations: circle, contra, linear, combination; T = Time: music qualities – tempo, rhythm of footwork etc.
  •  Circle formation dances:  Las Bastrigue (French Canada), Od Lo Ahavti Dai (Israel), Dona Dona (Israel), Gallopade (England), Doubleska Polka (Czech Republic)
  • Begin Mexican footwork 

UNIT 2 – (February)

  • Contra formation dances of US and UK: Oh Susanna (US), Merry Merry Milkmaids (England), DAshing White Seargent and Strip the Willow (Scotland)
  • Focus on Eight hand jig (Ireland) for Girls and Morris (England) dancing for Boys
  • Intro to Polka

UNIT 3 – (March)

  • Partnering essentials – Troika (Russia), Sternpolka (Germany), La Cucaracha (Mexico), Hungarian dance
  • Learn Kalinka dance for Russian and Ukrainian styling
  • Performance quality

Unit 4 – (April)

  • Greek and Romanian line dancing
  • Festival Prep

Unit 5 – (May)

  • Turkish or Indian dance styling
  • End of Year review and final prep

No texts are required for this class. 

Mrs. Amy Robinson

Amy has taught with the Arts in Education program of Utah through Tanner for several years, teaching children of all ages creative movement in the schools and in the studio. She loves the connection of curriculum and movement which facilitates deeper layers of learning! At BYU she danced and traveled with the the International Folk Dance team as well as the Modern Dance team. She was delighted to help bring together the first Folk Festival for the AHS Salt Lake campus in 2023 and is looking forward continuing that tradition. Being a wife and a mother of 6 are Amy’s very favorite things!