Sapphire Lutheran Homes is hosting a Folk Dance performance on Friday, Nov. 17.

Twelve homeschool and high school students from Pinesdale, Corvallis, Stevensville and Hamilton will perform folk dancing and Scandinavian dancing with dances from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, and Israel.

The free community event it is open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. in the Sapphire Lutheran Home Banquet Hall,  501 No. 10th St. in Hamilton

Olivia Vai, dance teacher, said the performance is a first.

“I took folk dancing for a year and I decided that I liked it so much that I wanted teach it, because my teacher was unavailable this year,” Vai said. “We’ve been meeting in the in the Corvallis Elementary School multi-purpose room. We’ve met weekly and have never performed before.”

Vai said that the performance is part of the students’ training.

“I’ve performed for years and it is good for the students to have a couple of extra-curricular events where they use their skills in a public venue,” she said. “We started meeting in the beginning of September and their progress has been phenomenal. Most of the young adults have danced a little, like at church dances, but have never learned dancing of any sort.

"Now they are up to doing set dances and pretty complex Scandinavian dancing, which is cool and very fascinating.”

The performers will not be in costumes but will have coordinated outfits.

“All of our skirts are long and floaty,” Vai said.

The traditional dances were performed at weddings and different festivals.

“At Ceilidth Festivals in Ireland they would perform a dance that actually came from Finland, but it has been performed all over the world for couple of hundred years,” Vai said. “The one we are doing from Israel is a wedding dance, like a line that the whole family participates in usually. These dances come from different festivities and different nationalities.”

Vai said the dances are great social mixers.

“These are set so that you don’t only have to dance with someone your same age or the person you are married to, but with a variety of partners of all ages – younger men to older guys,” she said. “We also do a mixer dance – where you begin with one partner but end up dancing with every partner in the circle. These are all just very fun.”

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