Maurits and Tineke van Geel
Dutch, Rom, and Caucasian
Armenian, Dutch, international
Includes biographical information from Murray Spiegel
Maurits van Geel teaches non-partner and partner dances from The Netherlands, the Rom, and Caucasian ethnicities.
Maurits wanted to folk dance after seeing KOLO, Lindjo, and Lado during a festival in Dubrovnik when he was thirteen years old. After the vacation, he got permission from the principal to teach folk dancing and one year later Tineke joined the group of 200 students and four high school teachers! Maurits taught recreational dancers from 1972 to 1990, and then again from 2011 to the present.
Maurits did Art academy, was arts and crafts teacher at a high school, worked for the city of Amsterdam as dance consultant organizing dance festivals and promoting dance, worked as guest teacher, choreographer, assistant Artistic Director, and later Artistic Director for the professional dance group The Internationaal Danstheater for twenty-four years. Part of this job involved several months of dance research each year in order to prepare for these programs. Maurits was hired to give the dancers weekly training in folk dances. Many graduated from the dance academy and did not have the 'grounding' of folk dance and danced too 'high up' as ballet dancers.
Maurits has travelled extensively in his dance research that has emphasized the Roma culture and those in the Caucasus. These travels have included India, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, England, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ossetia, Dagestan, and Cherkassy. He has also choreographed many dances, one of which is Syrtos Kitrinou, currently popular in California.
In 1978, Maurits was ready to start an education as restorer in leather and wood, but the education of the Rijksmuseum in cooperation with some museums in Germany, was every other year and did not start the year Maurits finished Art Academy. After that it just never happened. Maurits taught international dance for many years but was marked by others as Greek specialist and Romanian specialist but he never felt he was. In 1980, -81 and -82, he did research in the Appalachian mountains and only then did he feel he was a specialist in clogging. He wrote a book about the history of clogging and described all the steps he had researched. Only in recent years, with a back-up of 900 DVDs with research material, did he start to fall in love with Roma dance and feels it fits his personality.
In the last several years, Maurits has been teaching often with Tineke, and this has included workshops in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. In North America, the couple have taught at Oktoberfest in Montreal and Pinewoods Camp in Maine. In 2016, taught at Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California.
Maurits says, "You don't really plan to continue as a professional. Things have developed organically and became more and more intense with less room for other aspects in life. We both are also very passionate, motivated and 'eager' if we choose to walk a certain path."
The couple has very good skills as builders and have been renovating houses, doing all electric work, water, plastering, tilework, brick laying, and many other things. Besides the renovating they built an extension and renovated a complete house for Tineke's parents (opposite their current house). They also both love to take photographs!
Tineke van Geel specializes in the teaching and choreography of Armenian dance and conducts workshops for students at various levels, from beginner to professional. Her main focus is to break down complicated steps and movements to basic elements and slowly rebuild them into the original dance form. This skill is part of her worldwide success and is combined with a vast knowledge of Armenian dance and culture. She also discusses the history and background of each dance she teaches. She has taught folk dance workshops in Austria, Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. In addition to Armenian dance, Tineke has taught international and Dutch dances.
Tineke was seven when she started classical ballet and did that for five years. In 1977, at thirteen, she started folk dancing (Maurits had organized classes at our school). While folk dancing at high school, Maurits kept holding Tineke during a Dutch Dance! That same year, Tineke received her degree in the Netherlands as folk dance instructor. At age sixteen, she and Maurits took over teaching at their school group. In the 1970's, all foreign guest teachers taught at the Amsterdam dance clubs. Tom Bozigian and Eddy Djololian were guest teachers who raised her interest in Armenian dances and in 1985 she applied and received a scholarship from the Dutch government to study in Soviet Armenia. From then on she visited Armenia regularly and paid for the visits herself.
In 1988 I received a second scholarship from the government and kept researching dance for several month there, attended two institutes for dance, etc. Since 1985, Tineke has spent much time in Armenia, regularly studying at the Pedagogic Institute and Choreographic School in Yerevan. She has danced with the village folk as well as learned alongside the performers. A part of each of her research trips to Armenia has been devoted to wrking with several amateur dance groups. She also has done extensive research on Armenian costumes. So far, two of her trips to Armenia have been sponsored by the Dutch government. Moreover, she has done research in the Armenian communities in the United States.
In January 1986, Tineke published a book (in Dutch) on Armenian history, culture, dance, and costumes, which is still available from her website.
Since 1989 Tineke has produced compact discs of dance programs on the Nevofoon label. In 1991, Tineke established Van Geel Records, concentrating on the production of Armenian folk music utilizing the Muradian Ensemble from Armenia. In that year the group's first album Hayastan – Armenian dances, appeared. Tineke also took the opportunity to record folk music that was on the band's concert repertoire. This resulted in a second production with both traditional folk melodies as well as arranged folk music on the CD Muradian Ensemble Vol. 1. A number of other titles have been released and are available on her website.
In 1995, she stopped working as a dental hygienist and only focused on teaching dance. In her job she already went back from full time to two days a week (besides teaching three nights a week and leading parties in weekends). Finally, she worked two days a week and was granted three months off from her job (six weeks paid, six weeks unpaid) to facilitate her touring and teaching.
In 1997, Tineke organized her first dance tour with Japanese folk dancers to the Netherlands. This formula has been repeated successfully on a two-year basis to various countries. A typical program might consist of a combination of three-hour dance classes per day and sightseeing or free time to explore. Guest teachers are well known in their fields. More details, as well as contact information, is available on Tineke's website.
Beginning in 2005, Tineke brought Armenian bands over to record CDs and started organizing tours to Armenia.
On March 23, 2006, Tineke received special honors from the Ministry of Culture and Youth in Yerevan, Armenia. She was given this award by the Ministry of Culture, for her extraordinary devotion and energy in promoting Armenian dance, music, and culture.
Dances Tineke has taught include Abarani Shoror, Aghchika Jerazanke, Ashtaraki Par, Asmar Aghchik, Assoulis, Barmani, Barsgeren Yeghanag, Bashjaro, Berd Par, Bobik Dzjour mi Era, Boerenplof, Dungo, Dzagik, Dzangjouloum, Erzeroumi Shoror, Glglalen Djourn e Galis, Gorani, Gyond, Gyovand, Hakketoone, Hazjarè Hej Par, Hodaghneri Bar, Hoi Narè Narè, Hovergakan, Ijspolka, Ijswals, Ine Votk, Jan Pierewiet, Karmir Gntsor, Kelek Vren, Kochari, Lorwa Gyond, Lourke, Martakan Lorke, Matsoun Deri wer Tarin, Mayorke, Mayroume, Mesho Gorani, Mesho Harsner, Mesjog Gur, Mom Bar, Narè, Nanar Nanar, Naroy Naroy, Ninam Ninam, Nino, Ninoyem, Nounouvar, Oi oi, Ounous, Pajlango, Papouri, Sasouni Razmakan Bar, Sasouni Tamzara, Sepastia Bar, Sham Keletsi dam Keletsi, Shatagi Shoror, Shawali, Sheighana, Shoror, Shughkerdan Aghchik, Siro Yerk, Taltala, Tamzara, Tamri Shoror, Tars Bar, Trabzoni Bar, Tsachgadzor, Tsnka Par, Tsolako, Vay Marik, Yerek Wotk, Wartawar, Wer Weri, Yarkoshda, Vleegerd, Yes Seretsi, and Zartounk,