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International folk dance group takes off on the right foot in Summerside

Heather Radford, from left, Moreen Neubeker, and Karen Callbeck practice a folk dance.
Heather Radford, from left, Moreen Neubeker, and Karen Callbeck practice a folk dance. - Desiree Anstey

The folk dance group aims to learn about other cultures’ local tradition through their dancing

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I.  - A group of Islanders travelled the world to Poland, Israel, Romania, Greece and other faraway lands on Saturday.

Thanks to folk-dance instructor Heather Radford, the group didn’t even have to leave Summerside’s Inspire Learning Centre.

The group aims to learn about other cultures’ traditions through their dancing.

“This is a traditional Greek folk dance called Enas Mythos,” Radford said to the group that gathered in a circle around a wreath placed in the centre of the room.

The group reflects the life of people from a different region through dance.
The group reflects the life of people from a different region through dance.

“It’s a greeting dance that originates from the Greek island Kos and is danced by families of fishermen as a welcome when they return.”

With the Greek singer Nana Mouskouri playing in the background, the group moved counter-clockwise while following the Radford’s rhythm.

“It’s a healthy fellowship,” Radford said. “I learned folk dance while I was in England last Christmas visiting my kids and I found it so refreshing to go where you didn’t need a partner. It was something joyful to try.”

Karen Callbeck said dance is a great way to socialize, exercise, and move to the music.

“I just love dancing,” Callbeck said.

Shee participated in the Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” dance for Halloween that took place outside the Confederation Centre of the Arts on Grafton Street in Charlottetown.

Dances taught included the Nigun Atik, a Polish dance performed by guests during a wedding to bestow a blessing on the couple. The dance and blessing go beyond words, and as a result, only instrumental music is played in the background.

“When I've been dancing, I feel energized, peaceful and full of joy,” said Radford. “The last song we danced (from Israel) was Ma Navu which translates to 'how beautiful’. The words are from the Christian Bible scripture, Isaiah 52:7.”

Radford hopes to continue teaching folk dance in the same location, upstairs in the Inspire Learning Centre, every Saturday at 6 p.m.

Those interested in attending a dance lesson can email Radford at gottamovekw@yahoo.com.

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