STEVE KOTANSKY   
  
   
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    Steve Kotansky began dancing as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area where he taught and performed with the Westwind International Folk Ensemble and the Perfiloff Russian Dance Ensemble. In 1970 he made his first research trip to Hungary and the former Yugoslavia, returning to study dance and Slavic languages at UCLA. Steve danced with AMAN Folk Ensemble and Vincent Evanchuk’s Ukrainian Dance Group while teaching at many of the folk dance coffee houses in Los Angeles. In 1972 he made a research trip to Hungary and the former Yugoslavia to learn and document village dances with Robert H. Leibman (including dances and music from the Albanian village of Krani on Lake Prespa in Macedonia). During this trip he met many dance specialists who would become instrumental in the direction of his life including Pece Atanasovski, Desa Djordević, Dr. Ivan Ivančan, and Dobrijvoje Putnik. Steve would spend the next 8 years living in Munich, Germany where he continued to teach and research ethnic dance. He co-founded, directed, and choreographed for the Gajda Folkore Ensemble, inviting top dancers and teachers from Central and South-Eastern Europe to Germany and led tours to Hungary and the Balkans. In 1980, he returned to the U.S.A. settling in New York. He continued to teach at dance camps throughout North America and Mexico, choreograph for many dance ensembles, and with his wife Susan, co-founded the Guzsaly Hungarian Dance Ensemble. Steve continues to teach and research dances from the Balkans, and with his wife Susan, has made two trips to Albania.

STEVE KOTANSKY

Steve Kotansky began dancing as a teenager in the San Francisco Bay Area where he taught and performed with the Westwind International Folk Ensemble and the Perfiloff Russian Dance Ensemble. In 1970 he made his first research trip to Hungary and the former Yugoslavia, returning to study dance and Slavic languages at UCLA. Steve danced with AMAN Folk Ensemble and Vincent Evanchuk’s Ukrainian Dance Group while teaching at many of the folk dance coffee houses in Los Angeles. In 1972 he made a research trip to Hungary and the former Yugoslavia to learn and document village dances with Robert H. Leibman (including dances and music from the Albanian village of Krani on Lake Prespa in Macedonia). During this trip he met many dance specialists who would become instrumental in the direction of his life including Pece Atanasovski, Desa Djordević, Dr. Ivan Ivančan, and Dobrijvoje Putnik. Steve would spend the next 8 years living in Munich, Germany where he continued to teach and research ethnic dance. He co-founded, directed, and choreographed for the Gajda Folkore Ensemble, inviting top dancers and teachers from Central and South-Eastern Europe to Germany and led tours to Hungary and the Balkans. In 1980, he returned to the U.S.A. settling in New York. He continued to teach at dance camps throughout North America and Mexico, choreograph for many dance ensembles, and with his wife Susan, co-founded the Guzsaly Hungarian Dance Ensemble. Steve continues to teach and research dances from the Balkans, and with his wife Susan, has made two trips to Albania.

  SUSAN KOTANSKY     
  
   
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  Susan performed with the George Tomov, Kálmán Magyar’s Hungária, and Ungaresca ensembles in NYC. She spent a year living in Budapest, attending the Folkdance Section of the State Ballet Institute and studied with the Bartók Ensemble under the direction of Sándor Timár. She has made many research trips to Hungary and Transylvania and together with her husband Stephen Kotansky founded the Guzsaly Ensemble. Stephen and Susan were instrumental in planting the seeds for the Táncház movement in the US, teaching classes and inviting teachers from Hungary. Together they teach Hungarian, Balkan, and international dance classes worldwide. Susan has taken two trips to Albania, concentrating on women’s dances and styling.   

SUSAN KOTANSKY

Susan performed with the George Tomov, Kálmán Magyar’s Hungária, and Ungaresca ensembles in NYC. She spent a year living in Budapest, attending the Folkdance Section of the State Ballet Institute and studied with the Bartók Ensemble under the direction of Sándor Timár. She has made many research trips to Hungary and Transylvania and together with her husband Stephen Kotansky founded the Guzsaly Ensemble. Stephen and Susan were instrumental in planting the seeds for the Táncház movement in the US, teaching classes and inviting teachers from Hungary. Together they teach Hungarian, Balkan, and international dance classes worldwide. Susan has taken two trips to Albania, concentrating on women’s dances and styling.

 

  KUJTIM & PJERETA ISMAILI    KUJTIM ISMAILI   Kujtim was born in Tirana, Albania, where he lived and studied. He graduated from Tirana University in 1988 (in finance management) and for many years was the director of the International Road Transport of Albania. He and his family have been living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada since 2004. From 2008 – 2013 he was the President of the Albanian Association of Quebec in Montreal and is very active in culture and folklore trip organization to Albania and surrounding countries.   PJERETA ISMAILI   Pjereta was born in Elbasan, Albania. She graduated from Tirana University in 1992 (in Philosophy and Sociology). From 1992 until the present, she has owned and operated a hair salon in Montreal. She is very interested in the cultural and folklore life of Albania and has helped organize and direct three tours to Southern Albania.                                                                                                        

KUJTIM & PJERETA ISMAILI

KUJTIM ISMAILI

Kujtim was born in Tirana, Albania, where he lived and studied.
He graduated from Tirana University in 1988 (in finance management) and for many years was the
director of the International Road Transport of Albania.
He and his family have been living in Montreal, Quebec, Canada since 2004. From 2008 – 2013 he was
the President of the Albanian Association of Quebec in Montreal and is very active in culture and
folklore trip organization to Albania and surrounding countries.

PJERETA ISMAILI

Pjereta was born in Elbasan, Albania.
She graduated from Tirana University in 1992 (in Philosophy and Sociology).
From 1992 until the present, she has owned and operated a hair salon in Montreal.
She is very interested in the cultural and folklore life of Albania and has helped organize and direct
three tours to Southern Albania.

                                                                                                    

  BESNIK GRAJÇEVCI   Besnik Grajçevci was born in 1978 in Kosovo. He is currently the lead dancer in the National Ensemble oft he Republic of Kosovo (SHOTA). He has a Master’s Degree in Choreography and Performance Arts from the University of Tiranë. He was the Artistic Director and Choreographer at the Cultural Center Brez Pas Brezi in Prishtinë, Kosovo and teaches ensembles throughout Kosovo and Montenegro. He has taught internationally in Holland, South Korea, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Bulgaria, France, Slovenia, and Croatia. He will be accompanied by is wife, Amire.

BESNIK GRAJÇEVCI

Besnik Grajçevci was born in 1978 in Kosovo. He is currently the lead dancer in the National
Ensemble oft he Republic of Kosovo (SHOTA). He has a Master’s Degree in Choreography and
Performance Arts from the University of Tiranë. He was the Artistic Director and
Choreographer at the Cultural Center Brez Pas Brezi in Prishtinë, Kosovo and teaches
ensembles throughout Kosovo and Montenegro. He has taught internationally in Holland,
South Korea, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Bulgaria, France, Slovenia, and Croatia. He
will be accompanied by is wife, Amire.

  GENCI KASTRATI   Genc Kastrati. was born on April 20,1967, in Tirana Albania. At 10 years old he was accepted through a competition to study at the National Academy of Dance, in Tirana. He graduated from the Arts State University, Choreography Branch, in Tirana With highest achievements all the subjects. In 1985 he was admitted by a competition as a professional dancer in the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances. Since 1985, He has participated in all the artistic events of the Ensemble in Albania and abroad. In 1994 he was appointed as the official “First Soloist“. From that time he continues as a soloist dancer in the Albanian National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances. In 2000 he was presents the First Prize as the best folk dancer in Albania at the first festival “Dance Meeting 2000” in Durres. Albania. He has participated as a choreographer in several events as well as being a jury member of several dance competitions and folk festivals in Albania. He is an adjunct teacher at two Albanian State Universities teaching in the subject of “Folk-Dance” (The Arts State University, and Sports State University in Tirana). As of 2010 up to the present he been teaching Albanian folk dances in many seminars in Albania and abroad such as: in Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands.

GENCI KASTRATI

Genc Kastrati. was born on April 20,1967, in Tirana Albania. At 10 years old he was accepted through a competition to study at the National Academy of Dance, in Tirana. He graduated from the Arts State University, Choreography Branch, in Tirana With highest achievements all the subjects.
In 1985 he was admitted by a competition as a professional dancer in the National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances. Since 1985, He has participated in all the artistic events of the Ensemble in Albania and abroad. In 1994 he was appointed as the official “First Soloist“. From that time he continues as a soloist dancer in the Albanian National Ensemble of Folk Songs and Dances.
In 2000 he was presents the First Prize as the best folk dancer in Albania at the first festival “Dance Meeting 2000” in Durres. Albania.
He has participated as a choreographer in several events as well as being a jury member of several dance competitions and folk festivals in Albania.
He is an adjunct teacher at two Albanian State Universities teaching in the subject of “Folk-Dance” (The Arts State University, and Sports State University in Tirana). As of 2010 up to the present he been teaching Albanian folk dances in many seminars in Albania and abroad such as: in Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands.

  BARDHI POJANI   Bardhi Pojani was born in Korça, Albania and is currently the teacher and choreographer of the Culture and Arts Center of Korça. He graduated University with a degree in Choreography in 1989. Since then, he has taught , researched, and choreographed for many ensembles throughout Albania. He is the artistic director of Ensemble Skenderbeu and his own dance center, House of Arts in Korça. He teaches children as well as adults, and has taught dance seminars in Holland, Greece, France, Russia, Spain, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Ukraine, and more. He and his groups have performed at many folklore festivals including: Gjirokastër, Lushnja, and Berat. Bardhi is specialist of the dances of his native Korça and its surroundings. He will be a special guest teacher at the end of our trip.

BARDHI POJANI

Bardhi Pojani was born in Korça, Albania and is currently the teacher and choreographer of
the Culture and Arts Center of Korça. He graduated University with a degree in Choreography
in 1989. Since then, he has taught , researched, and choreographed for many ensembles
throughout Albania. He is the artistic director of Ensemble Skenderbeu and his own dance
center, House of Arts in Korça. He teaches children as well as adults, and has taught dance
seminars in Holland, Greece, France, Russia, Spain, Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Ukraine,
and more. He and his groups have performed at many folklore festivals including: Gjirokastër,
Lushnja, and Berat. Bardhi is specialist of the dances of his native Korça and its surroundings.
He will be a special guest teacher at the end of our trip.