Here you’ll find information about the teachers and the workshops that’ll be given during Balfolk Dansstage Digital Edition.

Sophie van Grinsven with Improvisation is life!
Our whole life is one big improvisation! We play with the rules, we change what is necessary to be able to have a good time, all of this is improvisation! But, do you use this skill on the dance floor? In this workshop we take a look at dance improvisation and what it can bring us. We’ll start with a slow and easy warm-up, to wake up the body from the long winter slumber. We will explore which movements work with your body and discover how you can enjoy dancing by yourself. At the end of the workshop you will have some basic knowledge of dance improvisation, which will help you to move on music wherever you are, or whenever you haven’t learn the steps of a dance yet, or whenever you don’t want to dance in a group or couple dance but still want to enjoy the music while moving.

Sophie van Grinsven works as a teacher and choreographer within the contemporary and improvisation dance world. She has a broad experience teaching not only contemporary dance, but also classical ballet, ballroom and contact improvisation. Her extended background is put to work to show students of all ages the many ways to Rome in the world of the performance arts. Sophie leads various (improvisation) dance projects and strives to give everybody a fair chance to learn to express themselves through the arts within their own capacity and using their strengths.

Emelie Waldken with Nordic door frames & menuett.
Emelie has wished to dance since she could walk, but for many years it was through music that she expressed herself. When she discovered balfolk in her early 20s, it quickly became an obsession. While she was at the Eric Sahlström Institute and Malungs Folkhögskola in Sweden, she practiced the scandinavian folk dances for hours, weeks, months! As a dance teacher, Emelie believes in balance and feeling, finding your own speed and movement, and focusing on the intention and the understanding rather than the external result. And she most of all believes in enjoying the dance, no matter the level.

Scandinavian folk dances can be tricky without a partner, enough space to make your turns nor a good floor… but there are still many ways to enjoy these Nordic delicacies ! This workshop will go through some basics of Norwegian halling and Swedish slängpolska, but with the constraint of limited space and unusual textures under our feet. Once warmed-up, we’ll learn swedish menuett, which is a perfect dance in these troubled times as it can be danced solo as well as in duo and group, with distance and on grass, concrete, stone, you name it !

Prerequisites : Some years of dance experience but not specifically Nordic dances (menuett can be tricky for beginners). A door frame.

Levels : (2)-3-4

Elena Leibbrand and the Lantz Carnival Dance
The Lantz Carnival Dance is a fast-tempo binary dance from the Basque Country, which is danced at folk balls and Basque festivals.
Lantz Carnival is a rural Basque carnival. It takes place from the eve of Ash Wednesday to Mardi Gras in the small village of Lantz, in the Ultzama valley north-west of Pamplona in Navarre.
The richly disguised carnival procession circles the village, counterclockwise. The musicians bring up the rear, playing the “Carnival of Lantz” on the txistu (three-hole flute) and the tambourine.
(Very practical in the time of the corona, because inside the procession each dancer dances individually)

Elena founded her own dance school EléDanse in Belgium in 2018, to pass on to others what makes folk so special to her, namely that subtle combination of human warmth, exploration of movement, precision and tradition of the form/style, improvisation and playful atmosphere!
She has been trained in a range of dance styles since 1995, from traditional to social and contemporary dances. She enjoys both the great potential for improvisation in modern “folk”, as well as the specific beauty, precision, and connection to a territory of “traditional” dances. She has a soft spot for bourrées, waltzes, collective dances in general, and the dances from the south-west of France.