Lauren Rabaino

If one were to embark on what could potentially be a very long-winded and shamelessly pretentious conversation about the history of international folk dance in America, names like Michael and Mary Ann Hermann, Dick Crum and Vytautas Beliajus would perhaps come to the forefront of national consciousness. Enter the proverbial yawn. Sad to say that, for me, these names would draw an ill-fated blank, as I haven’t a clue as to who these people are. Whoops. Wasn’t paying attention during that bit of cultural education day.

For me, there are only two people who matter when it comes to international folk dance in America today, and that is because they are the two who introduced it to me via the best class in the world. Those of you in Dance 135 say it with me now. What, What! Meet Norm and Anne Tiber, basically the John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire combo, the dynamic duo of folk dance, Cal Poly’s own treasure trove of fun for two hours, two days a week. And now a disclaimer: I personally thank the Tibers and folk dancing because they were the only things keeping me from committing the fine and noble act of ritual hara kiri . my stress meter has been in the perpetual red zone and through-the-roof status this quarter. You feel me? Anyone else doing a senior project?

Volunteer dance instructors at Cal Poly since 2004, Norm and Anne have embraced the university’s “learn by doing” ethic, and together have challenged their eager students to travel down pathways that lead to exotic locations spanning from Scotland to Hungary, Greece to Macedonia through motion and festive ethnic dance.

Emphasizing both social and cultural aspects of folk song and dance, the Tibers take traditional national and international dances, colliding them with our own hectic collegiate lifestyles and oftentimes uncultured condition to bring forth a repertoire of music that students find incredibly fascinating and yet fun to take part in. Dances varying from polka to early swing, the Greek hasapiko to the Russian troika, students of international folk dance are forced to embrace the culture from which each particular dance comes and are taught to perform a mélange of international delights.

From flamboyant physical maneuvers to more subtle, syncopated stylistic techniques, folk dance allows for dramatic change in movement for the dancer, performer or choreographer. All of these are in fact possibilities when you are dealing with such a dynamic and truly fantastic line of work.

So with my last breath here at Cal Poly, I raise my glass to you, Norm and Anne, as well as the rest of the Dance 135 class. May we all be merry and never forget the charming ways of good folk song and dance; I hope to see many a Cal Poly student on my travels to different folk festivals around the world. May we all find comfort in the fact that we all come from different villages, with different styles of dancing to very many, many types of songs.

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come for me to take my leave. I bid you a fond farewell. Adieu. Adieu. Pop Tart is no more.

Alexandra Bezdikian is a journalism senior with a knack for critiquing pop culture trends.

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