The folk dancing scene in the Valley is not what it once was. Twenty years ago, places such as Pierce College, Valley College and Every Woman's Village regularly offered classes, and Zorba's, a folk dance nightclub on Saticoy Street in Reseda, was a popular hangout. But Zorba's closed long ago and now West Coast swing and ballroom dancing lessons are the latest trends. But there are still ample opportunities to folk dance.
Square dancing is alive and kickin' in the Valley. In Tarzana, the Valley Trailers Square Dance club offers a 17-week course for beginners, $4 per week, (818) 725-3657. Jenney Horst of Boot Hill Square Dance Apparel in Northridge, (818) 772-2668, can tailor a square dance outfit for you or help you make one yourself. While there, pick up a copy of Open Squares, a monthly directory of all the square dance events in Southern California, for $1.50.
The West Valley Folk Dancers, an international folk dance club founded in 1959, offer a beginners' class at 10 a.m. Mondays at the Senior Center, 7326 Jordan Ave., Canoga Park. The club holds its regular meetings at 7:30 p.m. Fridays at the same location. The group publishes Folk Dance Scene, a newsletter that lists folk dancing activities throughout Southern California. (818) 368-1957.
Ballet Folklorico, a dance troupe based at Cal State Northridge, offers classes in the native, regional folk dances of Mexico. For complete details, call (818) 258-1578.
Athan Karras offers classes in Greek folk dancing at St. Nicolas Church in Granada Hills and elsewhere. Classes start in September and cost $85 for a 10-week course. For those more experienced dancers, Karras also coordinates conferences in Greece where you can learn new dances while exploring the places where they originated. This month, a conference organized by Karras is scheduled on Crete. (818) 609-1386.