Members of the Oklahoma City International Folk Dancers will celebrate the culture of music and dance in European and Middle Eastern heritages at the 26th Old Country Weekend
About 75 people are expected to attend the event from Friday to Sunday, which will be at Crosspoint Camp in Kingston, near Lake Texoma.
Participants will stay in heated cabins, and the weekend will feature dance, singing and drumming workshops offered by various experts.
Balkan dancer and vocalist Maya Batinkova will lead Balkan and Romanian singing workshops.
Artist in residence and musician Melissa Young will hold drumming workshops, and geologist Noel Osborn will lead dances as well as a nature hike and fossil hunt.
A traditional folk band will provide music for the dance workshops.
“Really, you learn something different about a culture and a country from the dances and the music,” said Beverly Rapp, Publicity Coordinator for the organization.
She has been folk dancing since the early 1980s and a member of the group as long.
“You get an emotional, spiritual knowledge about a country that you can't get from just reading a travel log.”
It's the nuances of the dances, Rapp said, that convey some of this spiritual knowledge.
“So with Russian dancing, you can feel kind of a somber note, since much of it (the music) is a minor key,” Rapp said.
“Israeli dancing is light and aerobic ... Scottish dancing is upbeat and light it's done in lines rather than circles.”
Rapp said her favorite kind of dancing is English country dancing, like the dances one would see in a film adaptation of a Jane Austen novel.
“In America sometimes we can come culturally myopic. We kind of lose touch with the rest of the world,” Rapp said.
Folk dancing is a way to find connection to people of all different backgrounds.
Many of the Old Country Weekend attendees are people who enjoy folk dancing Monday evenings at the Fellowship Hall of the First Unitarian Church, 600 NW 13.
The Monday dance events begin at 7 p.m. with beginner dances being taught.
Most people who attend do not come in couples, Rapp said, so the dances are a good way to meet new people and learn to dance, even if you don't have a regular partner.
The dancing continues until 10 p.m.
For new visitors, there is no charge; donations are requested thereafter.
If you go
Old Country Weekend
Tickets to the Old Country Weekend are $115 each for adults and from $40 to $80 for children, depending on age. Costs include lodging, meals and all dances and workshops. To register, go to www.