Harry Khamis started folk dancing in a little international folk dance group at Virginia Tech in 1978 while he was in graduate school. He thinks what drew him to folk dancing, and what continues to draw him, is the wide variety of music and movements from across the world. The incredible richness of melodies, rhythms, beats, and instruments is fascinating to him, and the opportunity to move to these rhythms is great fun and provides a physical outlet for his energy.
He finished his studies at Virginia Tech in 1980 and moved to the Dayton, Ohio, area. He then joined the Miami Valley Folk Dancers (MVFD) in Kettering, Ohio. The MVFD Club is one of the oldest folk dance clubs in the country; they celebrated their 50th anniversary in March, 2003. The MVFD webpage includes directions to the Michael Solomon Pavilion where they dance (best dance floor in Ohio).
At Virginia Tech, they did very few couples dances. His first love was for Israeli folk dances, then he grew to enjoy the Balkan dances most, especially from Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. However, the MVFD Club included as many couples dances as non-couples dances; it had a very balanced repertoire. He then began dancing many more couples dances -- dances from England, Scotland, Germany, and Sweden. Since 1988, his favorite dances are Swedish "polskas" -- a "polska" is a type of Swedish turning dance done to three-beat music.
Harry taught a two-credit-hour International Folk Dance Course (HPR 100) as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPR) at Wright State University for thirteen years and was one of the regular teachers at the Miami Valley Folk Dance Club in Dayton.
He danced with Živio!, an amateur performing Yugoslav dance group in Dayton, Ohio, and performed with Živio! for two weeks in a tour of Yugoslavia in 1987 (by invitation).
Harry lived in Sweden for two years (1999 - 2000) as a visiting professor at Uppsala University in the Department of Information Sciences and studied Swedish "polskor" (couples turning dances done to three-beat music) in his spare time. He received, for Swedish polska dancing, the "Big Silver" Medal in 1999 (Sveg, Sweden) and "Diploms" in 2000 (Myrviken), 2001 (Orsa), 2003 (Orsa), 2004 (Trångsviken), 2005 (Orsa), 2006 (Trångsviken), 2007 (Orsa), and 2008 (Östersund), all from the Svenska Folkdansringen. Currently, he's the only non-Swede to hold eight diplomas.
He taught folk dance workshops at groups in Dayton (Ohio), Columbus (Ohio), Cincinnati (Ohio), Virginia, Arizona, Boston (Massachusetts), Wisconsin (Folklore Village), Sacramento (California), Santa Cruz (California), and Uppsala (Sweden). Harry taught Scandinavian dances with Roo Lester in Ohio (Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus), Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), West Virginia (Oglebay Camp), Indiana, Kentucky (Kentucky Dance Institute), Wisconsin (Folklore Village), Maine (Mainewoods Camp), and California (Stockton Folk Dance Camp, North/South Folk Dance Teacher's Seminar).
Harry currently teaches at the Columbus (Ohio) Scandinavian Dancers group, a polska dance group that meets once a month during the school year.
Harry is available to give workshops in international folk dance with a specialty in Swedish turning dances (polska). He teaches a wide range of dances including line, circle, individual, couple, contra, and set dances.
Harry's articles and publications include
- "International Folk Dance as a College Course," Viltis, Vol. 51, No. 4, pages 4-5, 1992.
Dances Harry has taught include Swedish dances, e.g., dances from the Dalarna, Hälsingland, and Jämtland regions of Sweden.