Founders of FDC: Christine and Jim
Folk Dance Canberra Incorporated has been a lively presence in Canberra since 1994.
Our founders, Christine and Jim Battisson began teaching folk dance in 1991 with a single class at Corroboree Park Hall in Ainslie. With numbers increasing to almost 100, the decision was made to formalise the group and in 1994 Folk Dance Canberra was incorporated. In May 1999, having outgrown the hall and in order to offer more classes, Folk Dance Canberra moved into their current premises in Hackett. The hall was officially opened as “Folk Dance Canberra Hall” by Mr Bill Stefaniak, MLA, Minister for Education, Sport and Recreation. Christine and Jim have since retired to Port Macquarie, where they now run folk dance classes under the auspices of the University of the Third Age.
Our teachers are all qualified folk dance teachers, each having successfully completed the Folk Dance Australia Teacher Training Course. Their skills and repertoire are continually being upgraded through attendance at seminars both in Australia and overseas.
Prominent among visiting teachers from overseas was Andre van de Plas (Netherlands), who ran an annual weekend workshop through Folk Dance Australia and more recently through Folk Dance Canberra and from whom the majority of our repertoire was gained. Sadly André died in early 2019, but his legacy lives on in the hundreds of dances that feature in our classes and performances. Other guest teachers are Yves Moreau (Canada), Tineke and Maurits van Geel (Netherlands), and more. Interstate workshops are organised by Folk Dance Australia with local ethnic teachers.
Our dance repertoire is truly International encompassing many European nations and provides an insight into a world of fascinating music and rhythms. Aside from the Balkan states, many other favourites come from Israel, Turkey and Russia, from Japan, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Africa and the Pacific region. Some dances are very old, dating back to the 1700s and 1800s. Traditional dances are complemented by those more recently choreographed to both traditional folk songs and more modern music. Dance formations include square sets, long-way sets, couples, but by far the majority are in circles or short lines, so having a partner is not necessary.
Party Nights and Special Occasions
Our Mid-Year Party and Christmas Party are the highlights of the year. Party programs are compiled via member requests. FDC’s wonderfully creative Events Committee chooses a theme and decorates the hall accordingly. Members, if they desire, dress up and contribute to the festive atmosphere. The evenings always include a lavish supper.
‘Family Dance Days’ and ‘Come and Try’ sessions are also organised by the Events Committee. These are designed for people who haven’t danced before but would like to try, usually held on a weekend and follow the pattern for regular classes.
Folk dancing is an enjoyable social activity that stimulates mind, body and soul. Participating in folk dance classes truly enriches our lives.
Folk Dance Canberra is always happy to welcome new members.