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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

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International Folk Dance Ensemble

By Dick Oakes



|   Click HERE for the Village Dancers Photo Gallery   |

Anthony Shay - Village Dancers UCLA Women's Dance Building In the early 1960s, Dr. Anthony "Tony" Shay (photo at left) directed a group of enthusiastic dancers from all over the Los Angeles metropolitan area. He called this "ensemble" the Village Dancers.

When I joined the group, which was meeting at UCLA, Shay was staging a Kurdish Suite, and I needed to make a Kurdish costume. I still have the hand-written notes on how that was to be accomplished! Before I could finish the costume, however, I moved to San Bernardino -- simply too far to commute!

In addition to the Kurdish dances, the group's repertoire included dances of Azerbaijan, Croatia, Iran, Serbia, Turkey, and the United States.

The Village Dancers gave more than 40 performances from March 25, 1961, to June 20, 1963. A major tour de force occurred when the troupe presented The Village Dancers in Concert at Schoenberg Hall at UCLA on October 27, 1962. The program (see images below) included a three-dance Iranian suite, a Turkish dance, a song and medley of songs from Serbia, music of Hungary, the United States' "Lancers Quadrille," a North Serbian dance, a five-dance suite from South Serbia, two dances and music from Azerbaijan, music from Greece, a Ukrainian dance, Armenian music, and a medley of music and dances from Croatia.

UCLA Village Dancers Dr. Shay, along with talented artist Leona Wood as the other artistic director and Philip Harland as the music director, formed what was to become the premier international performing group in the country, the AMAN Folk Ensemble. According to Dr. Shay, "The transition to the AMAN Folk Ensemble was actually only a name change. The same dancers who were in the Village Dancers in the summer of 1963 were performing under the AMAN name in late summer 1963."

Below, thanks to Dr. Shay, is the program for "The Village Dancers in Concert," a list of most of those who once performed with the Village Dancers, and a couple of articles. For lots of photos, be sure to click the link above to the Village Dancers Photo Gallery.

Dick Oakes







Schoenberg Hall, Saturday, October 27th, 1962

Village Dancers Performers and Musicians

  • Mehrdad Azarmi
  • Karen Barker
  • Phyllis Bassell
  • Carol Bloom
  • Bobbie Boschen
  • Ničevo Bojvić
  • John Boyden
  • David Brandon
  • Lois Brandon
  • Sharon Breit
  • Colleen Carrington
  • Pete Casacadden
  • Neil Cascadden
  • Slvian Castel de Oro
  • Richard Chaiclin
  • Donald Cohen
  • Barbara Contaratto
  • Helen Fogarty
  • Melanie Fuller
  • Ronald Furedy
  • Marge Gajicki
  • Bill Gardner
  • Linda Goldfarb
  • Frank Grbić
  • Morgiana Hally
  • Gary Hinman
  • Gloria Hinman
  • Margaret Hohly
  • Joyce Houdek
  • Frank Kacić
  • Steve Kopel
  • Olav Krosby
  • Dale Kunz
  • Maurice Lapierre
  • Gerd Lapson
  • Linda Lindgren
  • John Loos
  • Carin Machleder
  • Bertha Makow
  • Stephanie Maressin
  • Joy Marsman
  • Jim Martin
  • Dennis "Tzigané" McDonough
  • Dariush Mehrjooi *
  • Bill Miller
  • Gene Minor
  • Janice Miriktani **
  • Dick Oakes
  • Patti Oakes
  • Nikki Paisner
  • Pamela Perry (Edis)
  • Adele Polifroni
  • Ian Price
  • Patrick Purdy
  • Vickers Ridley
  • Martha Schecter
  • Nancy Schekman
  • Robert Schneider
  • Al Shulz
  • Anthony Shay
  • Al Shulz
  • Marsha Sobell
  • Carolyn Stefančić
  • Annemarie Steinbiss
  • Carol Stohl
  • John Stohl
  • Linnea Strandberg
  • Bruno Stransky
  • Barbara Stutz
  • Georgia Stutz
  • Cynthia "Sam" Tarvin
  • Mady Taylor
  • Frank Tripi
  • Herbert Ware
  • Sandra Wasko
  • Carolyn Watkins
  • Karen Wilcox
  • Guest Musicians
  • Sam Chianis
  • Hasan Fakhar
  • Miloje Ilić
  • Sveta Marić
  • Bogdan Todorović
  • Dr. Anushirvan Towfigh
  • James Valcanis
  • * A major film director in Iran.
    ** An American Sansei poet and activist.

Folk Dances Seen by Capacity Crowd

If the 14th Annual International Folk Dance Festival proved anything to the capacity crowd at Philharmonic Auditorium Saturday night, it proved that blood will tell.

Of the 20 or more participating groups, of which but a few can be singled out in this space, the most successful were those whose ethnic background matched the nationality of the dance they performed.

Not to be overlooked either were the Yugoslavian and Ukrainian dances of two local aggregations, the UCLA Village Dancers "Slavonic" and the Gandy Dancers, who for sheer zeal deserve a prize of some sort.


VIllage Folk Troup Set To Perform in Benefit

The UCLA Village Dancers, an award-winning folk dance group, will co-star with entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr., in a special charity benefit at 10 tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

The "International Evening" is sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to raise money for the organization's Freedom Fund, which provides financial support for participants in civil rights actions across the country.

The Village Dancers will present a suite of Slavonian harvest dances. In addition to Davis and the Village Dancers, the program will feature a keynote addres by Carl T. Rowan, deputy Assistant Secretary of State for public affairs.