Celebrate Johnstown’s Folk Heritage
The Johnstown Concert Ballet DANCE WORKS is happy to offer the first of a series of Folk Dancing classes for youth and for adults.
Instructors Beth Stafura and Richard Balazs have decades of professional dance experience between them. They are both members of the Folk Factory in Pittsburgh, a dance ensemble dedicated to preserving Eastern European folklore through traditional and contemporary productions. They are also teachers and choreographers for the international dance troupe: Tamburitzans.
The classes will concentrate on the dances of Eastern Europe and Hungary, along with their story lines. All dance abilities are welcome. Classes are designed to enhance your skill if you have a familiarity, or start you out on the right foot if you simply have the desire to learn. The Youth class is for age 6 and up.
The opportunity to provide these classes is made possible by the generosity of the William Penn Association.
When: Sunday, October 23rd
Youth Class: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Adult Class: 1:45pm – 3:00p
411 Third Avenue
Cost: $5 per class.
PLEASE PRE-REGISTER by emailing: email@example.com or by calling 814-243-2224
Payment will be collected at the door.
About our instructors:
Beth A. Stafura is in her 18th year as dance instructor and choreographer and contributed her talents to several ethnic ensembles across the United States and Canada. Beth graduated from Duquesne University in 1998 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies and continued on to obtain a Master’s Degree in Corporate Communications in 2000. She was also a member of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans where she played tambura, sang, and primarily danced for four years with the ensemble.
Beth not only has desire and passion for the Eastern European culture and dance but has also studied classically in tap, ballet and jazz since the age of five at Pat’s Dance Studio. As a youngster, she performed with the Junior Tamburitzans of Duquesne and the North Hills Junior Tamburitzans. She is also a past member of the Pittsburgh Slovakians and Folklore Ensemble Kumovi. Beth now continues her dancing in the Bulgarian group Otets Paissii of BMNECC and Folk Factory (DUT alumni) under the direction of Richárd Balázs and Bilyana Stafura.
Beth has taught and choreographed for various groups including Jadran, Golden Triangles, Hrvatski Tanac, South Hills and Duquesne Jrs. She currently teaches tap dancing at Steel City Academy of Dance. Beth attended numerous dance workshops and seminars since early childhood and continues to teach various workshops and lecture demonstrations across the United States. She has also had the privilege of being a dance instructor for the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, Kardinal Stepinac Croatian group in New York, NY, and is currently teaching Croatian National Home in Hamilton, Canada.
Richard Balazs was born in 1976 in Kisvarda, a small town in northeastern Hungary. Richard grew up in a dancing family. His father, Dr. Gustav Balazs, is one of the most renowned authorities on Hungarian Gypsy dance and folklore. His aunts, uncles and cousins are among the best Gypsy dancers in the Szatmar region of Hungary and are often the subjects of anthropologists and folk dance researchers.
In 1983, he joined the children’s folk dance group “Igrice” and began performing in festivals in Hungary and throughout Europe. In 1990, Richard went to Finland to study classical ballet. Returning to Hungary in 1991, he became a regular instructor at his father’s International Gypsy Dance Camp until 1995. In 1992, he joined his father’s gypsy music group “Maljaki Luludji” and traveled with them throughout Europe promoting Gypsy culture, songs, and dances. That same year, he joined the folk dance ensemble “Nyírség,” one of the most renowned performing ensembles in Hungary. There, he broadened his repertoire and worked with world famous Hungarian choreographers. In 1993, Richard won Hungary’s National Talent Search in the Folk Dance Soloist category. However, the greatest achievement of his career came in 1995 when he won the Golden Spur award as a soloist, the highest recognition a folk dancer can receive.
In 1995, at the age of 18, Richard was awarded a scholarship to join the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, a folk group specializing in Eastern European music, song and dance. There he was exposed to different music and dance styles, while at the same time promoting his own Hungarian and Gypsy culture by choreographing for the group. He continues to choreograph for the Tamburitzans and other folk dance groups across the United States and Canada and has taught at various workshops. Currently, he is the Artistic Director of Folk Factory, a dance ensemble whose mission is to preserve and perpetuate authentic Eastern European folklore through both traditional and contemporary productions.