Folk Ball is held every January/February at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin.

For regular dancing, see the Madison Folk Dance Unlimited site.

27th Annual Folk Ball Festival
January 23–25, 2015
Memorial Union
Featuring Lee Otterholt

28th Annual Folk Ball Festival
January 29–31, 2016
Union South

Folk Ball is FREE

But your donations help us keep it happening year after year!

Click here to get on our mailing list.

SPECIAL GUEST TEACHERS for Saturday workshops

  Lee Otterholt 
    -- master-teacher of recreational dances from "Balkans & Beyond"
    -- Madison favorite and veteran of Folk Balls 2005 and 2008
    -- introduced Cobankat, Krivatvorena, Svatba, Paraliakos, 
         Bracno Oro, dozens of other IFD staples 
  Carol Silverman
    We sincerely regret that Carol's much-anticipated
    sessions on dance, song, & music of Balkan Roma will not be part of
    this year's festival after all, due to an unexpected health issue. 
    We wish Carol rapid recovery (get well card at Info Table) and she
    assures us of her firm resolve to join us for the 2016 festival.
  Tibor Horvath
with 30 years of dance & teaching experience, this former member 
       member of Hungarian State Folk Ensemble will lead the Friday Tanchaz

  Deep-fried Balkan brass band Black Bear Combo adds special spice 
    to Folk Ball's late Saturday night lineup -- these bears boogie!
  Tibor Horvath leads Friday night Tanchaz (Hungarian "dance-house") 
    & Hungarian dance workshop Saturday, both with music by Szaszka.
  Lee Otterholt offers "Folk Ball 101" workshop session for newer 
    dancers - basic dances & survival skills for live-music parties.
  Steve & Terrie Howe introduce you to East Coast Swing basics. 
    Coast Swing is an accessible couple dance that allows dancers of 
    all experience levels, those new to dance and experienced dancers
    alike, to have fun together on the dance floor.  The workshop will
    include material for dancers of all levels: we will begin with the 
    basics of the dance (rhythm, connection, moves) and continue on to 
    intermediate moves, as well as a few advanced ones.
  Robert Schoville leads "Popular Music and World Percussion" -- 
    the role of "clave" in popular musics and the rhythm "Samba 
    Reggae" from carnaval in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. 
  Radio Preview of festival music on community radio WORT 89.9's 
    GLOBAL REVOLUTIONS world music show -- Monday,Jan.19, 9:00-noon.
    Co-host Dan Talmo and guest Michael Kuharski from Folk Ball.

  -- INT'L DANCE PARTY in Great Hall 7:30pm-12:30am
       YID VICIOUS -- Virtuous Klezmer Crew (Yiddish via Madison) 
       VESELIYKA   -- traditional Bulgarian folk orchestra (Madison)
       SLOBODA     -- Milwaukee's Full-Spectrum Ethnic Sound
       INTEMPERANCE COLLECTIVE -- Madison's IFD commune 
  -- Hungarian TANCHAZ in Class of 24 Reception Room 7:30-11:00pm 
       led by Tibor Horvath, music by SZASZKA
  -- CONTRA Dance 
       instruction 7:30-8:00pm
       dance 8:00-11:00pm 
       CONTRA LOCATION: Play Circle Theater at the west end of the 
                        main corridor on the second floor of 
                        Memorial Union.
       BAND: Ladies of the Lake (Maria Terres (fiddle), Amy McFarland (piano)).
       CALLER: Roger Diggle
         Please bring clean DANCING SHOES for the Contra -- 
           there can be no street shoes on the dance floor.
           It's winter & we must respect host venues. 
Thank You! 
WORKSHOP SCHEDULE -- Saturday (Jan.24)-- Memorial Union
10:00-noon  Balkan Folkdance - Lee Otterholt - Great Hall
            Mezosegi Csardas - Tibor Horvath - Tripp Commons
              Tibor will present this csardas cycle, one of the jewels of
              Hungarian couple dances from Transylvania, in a manner accessible
              to beginners and experienced dancers alike.
Noon-1:00   Brown Bag Lunch - Slide Show & Sound Samples - Old Madison Room
              "Kosovo Village Life & Wedding Customs" photographed by Nancy Yugo
               in Prizren region circa 1985, featuring Roma wedding musicians
               on zurna and tupan.  Narrated by Michael Kuharski.
1:00-3:00  "Folk Ball 101"       - Lee Otterholt    - Great Hall
               Basic dances & survival skills for those live-music parties!
            Legenyes - Tibor Horvath - Festival Room [ground floor-far west]
               Solo men's dance from Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania --
               everyone (men and women) welcome!
            East Coast Swing - Steve and Terrie Howe - Tripp Commons
               Basics and some moves to get you on the dance floor
            Singing Workshop    - Natalie Nowytski [TBC] - Old Madison Room
               A familiar dance-song and others new to us all.
            Percussion & World Music - Robert Schoville - Inn Wisconsin Room
               The role of "clave" in popular musics and the rhythm "Samba 
               Reggae" from carnaval in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil
3:00-5:00   Balkan Folkdance    - Lee Otterholt - Great Hall
            Mezosegi Csardas - Tibor Horvath - Tripp Commons [live music by Szaszka!]
              Continue your Mezosegi experience with more work on the basics
              and new figures with music by Szaszka! (The two Mezosegi workshops are
              not sequential, come to either or both.)
  Great Hall of the Union -- 7:00pm - 1:00am
    REPTILE PALACE ORCHESTRA -- High-Octane Eclectic Ethnic
    SZASZKA -- Hungarian/Transylvanian string band
    ORKESTAR BEZ IME -- Flagship IFD band of the Twin Cities
    BLACK BEAR COMBO -- sassy brass from the Balkans via Chicago
    DO ZORE -- The Milwaukee Sound from a New Generation

SATURDAY VENDORS including Inti Fair Trade

SUNDAY - review of Lee Otterholt workshop dances
  10:30am - 12:30pm in Great Hall

BUFFET DINNER -- Saturday 5:00-6:30 
  Inn Wisconsin Room of the Union
  $20 per person
  Reservation required: 608-241-3655 /
  Good Company & a Great Convenience on a busy day! 
HOUSING -- Housing coordination is now closed.

THE MONEY: Folk Ball is funded solely by your GENEROUS DONATIONS.
  Come and go as you please, but do bring CASH, bring your CHECKBOOK, 
  bring your FRIENDS! Make a single full-weekend contribution at Info 
  Table in Great Hall (checks to "Madison Folk Dance Club") or donate at 
  the events you attend, but DO YOUR PART to keep Folk Ball an open, 
  free-flowing celebration. THANKS!
SUGGESTED DONATIONS: Workshop $15, Party $30, Weekend $100
QUESTIONS: Michael 608-241-3655 / 

Previous Years

Presented by Wisconsin Folk Arts Assoc. & Madison Folk Dance Club
Sponsored by Department of Slavic Languages & Literature
Welcomed by WORT 89.9FM Community-Sponsored Radio.

Website Questions/Comments: Chris