What is International Folk Dance?
International Folk Dancing involves learning and performing traditional dances from a variety of cultures from around the world. The dances range from peaceful and relaxing to energetic and aerobic. Most of our repertoire is line and circle dances from various Balkan and Middle East countries, but we also do many partner dances and mixers from Europe and North America.
If you live in the Winnipeg area and are familiar with Folkorama, you have probably seen this type of dancing performed at the various pavilions. While we might not be in the same league as these dancers, we do have a lot of fun.
If you want to see for yourself, check out the videos on our Resources page.
What is MIFDA?
MIFDA (or Manitoba International Folk Dance Association) is a recreational international folk dance group that has been active in the Winnipeg area since the 1970s. Recreational means that we're generally more concerned with having fun than mastering the dances.
You can find out more about the history of MIFDA here.
Do you ever perform in public?
MIFDA is not a performance group, but occasionally some of us perform at community events when invited, based on the interest and availability of our members.
Where / When do you meet?
We dance most Friday evenings from September to June, meeting in the auditorium at Churchill Park United Church, 525 Beresford Avenue. We begin with some easy warm-up dances around 8:15, followed by about an hour of teaching. After a short break there is request dancing where members can request their favourite dances. We close out the evening at 11:00 by dimming the lights and winding down with a calm last dance.
How much does it cost?
For regular Friday dance evenings, the fee is $4 for MIFDA members, $5 for non-members. We occasionally host special workshops which have their own fee schedule.
How do I become a member?
You don't need to be a member to dance with us, but if you want to join the easiest way is to drop by on one of our regular Friday dance evenings, fill out a membership form and pay the $5 annual membership fee.
Do I need to bring a partner?
No. Most of our dances are done in a circle or line - no partner is required for these. For the handful of partner dances we do in an evening there is generally no problem finding people to dance with in the group. Most of the partner dances we do are actually mixers where you get a new partner each time through the dance. Having said that, if you do know someone you think would like to join us, feel free to bring them along - everyone is welcome.
What should I bring?
Some of the dances can be a bit of a workout, so wear something cool and comfortable. Footwear should be soft-soled and floor-friendly (i.e. no outdoor shoes please). Be sure to bring water as you'll probably work up a sweat.
What's the best way to learn the dances?
The best way to learn the dances is to come for the teaching portion of the evening. This is where members take turns teaching dances to the rest of the group. Dances are broken down into easy to learn parts which are repeated often. Each dance is taught for at least three consecutive weeks. Be sure to stay for most of the evening when you will get a chance to practice the dances you have just learned.
If there is enough interest we occasionally run a few weeks of beginner lessons early in the season. These usually take place the hour before our regular dancing begins and can help new dancers learn some of the common steps that make up many of the dances we do.
Finally, it is possible to learn dances by watching experienced dancers during the request portion of the evening. It's best to watch from behind the line so you can concentrate on picking up the footwork at your own pace without interfering with other dancers. Remember, folk dancing is often done in close quarters with quick direction changes, so you should be comfortable with a dance before joining in.