THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY

AMAN
Folk Ensemble

BARRY GLASS, Artistic Director
DON SPARKS, Director
JOHN ZERETZKE, Music Director
1990


AMAN Folk Ensemble

Programme

CENTRAL CROATIA
Ladarke is a suite of music and dance based on an old Croatian custom traditionally performed on mid-summer's day. Young girls known as Ladarice or Ivancice would sing in front of the village houses, wishing prosperity and good health for the coming year. Often, dancing and celebration would follow at the end of the day, usually in front of the local church.
Choreography: Barry Glass
Music by: Emil Cossetto (1950)

YUGOSLAVIA
The Tamburica orchestra is one of the favourite sounds in many parts of Yugoslavia. It is used to accompany both singing and dancing. Originally a solo instrument, it evolved into an orchestral sound during the 19th century. Many composers have created pieces for this ensemble and symphony-sized orchestras are common. Here, we present the smaller sized band commonly found in village settings, where it is often used to accompany solo singing.
Vocal Soloist: Deanne Sparks
Music Consultant: Dusan Ratkovich

INDIA
This piece features two folk dances from the western Indian state of Gujarat. Gaghara is performed on many festive occasions and employs the movement of the heavy skirts worn by women. Dandya Ras or stick dance is performed by Indian immigrants in the United States on any special occasion. In Gujarat, it is performed at more specific times, especially the nine days before Devali or Festival of Lights. This is a time of celebration of the harvest.
Choreography for Gaghara: Leona Wood
Choreography for Dandya Ras: Susan Duckett
Consultants for Dandya Ras: Renuk Pujara and Chitresh Das

NORTHERN UKRAINE
The Northern Ukraine has a distinctive tradition of dance. Much of the present-day performance material can be placed in the category of character dance, a style profoundly influenced by classical dance technique.
Choreography: Don Sparks
Soloists: Don Sparks and Deanne Sparks

AZERBAIDJAN
The canopy dance is found throughout the Caucasus - the mountainous region that separates Europe from Asia. The origin of this distinctive genre may be tracked to the custom of confirming a new khan or chieftain by tossing him in the air on a silk rug. In the past, young unmarried women played at lofting a khan of their own. In more recent times, the silk cloth has come to represent a wedding canopy, beneath which they glide gracefully--almost floating.
Choreography: Leona Wood
Musical Arrangement: Phillip Harland

TURKEY
Kurdish, Turkish and American elements are all present in these vigorous and exciting dances from the town of Bitlis, near Lake Van in eastern Anatolia. The combination of the zurna and davul is perhaps the favourite dance accompaniment throughout Turkey and is frequently found in much of the Middle East and the Balkans. Men's dancing in this area has a vigorous and distinctive quality.
Choreography: Don Sparks from material taught to the Company by Bora Özkök
Zurna: John Zeretzke
Davul: Coskun Tamer

ROMANIA
Romania is well known for the richness of its musical folklore. The selection begins with a Doina, an arrhythmic improvisation on set motifs played by a solo instrument - in this case, the Tilinca, a very primitive flute consisting of a simple tube, one end of which serves as a finger hole. It is played by varying the breath control, embouchure and finger placement. The Tilinca is then joined by other folk instruments; and the fast-paced hora, a dance tune, follows.
Musical Arrangement: Stuart Brotman
Soloist: Stuart Brotman

SZÉKELYFÖLD
Among the earliest Hungarian settlers in what is nowadays Romanian Transylvania, is a group known as Székely. Although their music and dance relate not only to other groups of Hungarians throughout the region, but also to their Romanian neighbours, the dance cycles in this area exhibit distinctive styles. Typical of the dance and music of the Székely people is the lively Forgatós or twirling dance. The Lassú Csárdás and Szöktetős complete the dance cycle. The orchestra in this part of the world often includes a violin lead and three-stringed Brácsa, a chord viola.
Choreography: Don Sparks
Musical Arrangement: Don Sparks

INTERMISSION

CROATIA
In virtually every region of the Yugoslav republic of Croatia, there is a strong tradition of a capella singing, especially by the women. We present here a sample from one of these areas. The songs tell of the women's affection for their homes and loved ones.

DALMATIA
The city of Dubrovnik, which lies on the Dalmatian coast of Yugoslavia, is known among folklorists for dance Lindjo , which takes its name from the caller. Also known as Poskocica, the dance is highly reminiscent of American square dancing in that the steps are cued by the caller who travels from village to village, along with the musician who accompanies the dance on a bowed instrument known as Lijerica . The costumes reflect the influences of both the Ottoman Turks and the Venetians.
Choreography: Barry Glass
Lijericar: Stuart Brotman

BLACK SEA COAST
This piece features a medley of dance songs from the Kara Deniz region on the Eastern coast of the Black Sea. Although the songs are in different meters and tempos, the same dance - Horan - can be performed to all three. The unusual traditional style of harmony in the instrumental accompaniment is in current use throughout the area.
Vocal Soloist: Coskun Tamer
Consultant: Yasar Turna

RUSSIA
Nineteenth century Russian aristocracy looked to Paris for dance fads, fashions and even language; and the Russian working [people] imitated the urban social elite. While young working-class couples were able to sustain Parisian airs for a short while, the elegant quadrille would soon disintegrate and transform itself into something less restrained. The character sketch Old City Quadrille is one of the best known works of famed Soviet choreographer, Igor Moiseyev.
Choreography: Igor Moiseyev
Consultants: Robin and Vincent Evanchuk

MÉHKERÉK
Lying within the borders of present-day Hungary is the village of Méhkerék, where a largely Romanian population predominates. The Méhkerék repertoire of dances is rich, with a large movement vocabulary. Here, we show an example of men's solo dancing supplied by two violins.
Choreography: Don Sparks
Soloists: Don Sparks, Steve Theodore

QUÉBEC
Contrary to popular opinion, most forms of French Canadian traditional rural dance were inherited from the nobility. In more recent times, the principal forms of traditional dances in Quebec have been the quadrille, the cotillion, the reel, the round. All of these originate from France and the British Isles. The gigue is a solo dance form influenced by Irish and English step dancing and shows an intermediate style between the rigid Irish and freer Appalachian clogging. We follow this with the Danse des Balais, a clogging dance from around the town of Chicoutimi.
Choreography: Yves Moreau and France Bourque-Moreau
Musical Supervision: Yves Moreau and France Bourque-Moreau

SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA
The Acadians of Cajuns inhabit the Southwestern portion of the State of Louisiana. Tracing their origins to the north of France through Eastern Canada, these people consider their first language to be French; and they call their music "French Music." During the past several years, there has been a revival of traditional customs among the Cajuns, and this popularity has been paralleled by a surge of interest in Cajun culture throughout the United States.
Musical Arrangement: AMAN musicians
Vocal Soloist: Barry Glass

APPALACHIA
Clogging was brought to the United States by early settlers from the British Isles. In Appalachia, a different flavour was added, an African dimension from the dances of the Black population.
Choreography: Jerry Duke
Musical Arrangement: AMAN musicians


The Dancers

Ronda Berkely
Dov Bierman
Jerzy Checinski
Rosina Didyk
Ralph Etheart
Barry Glass
Lorraine Graham
  Lynn Anne Hanson
Michael Hunter
David Kamins
Irena Mendenhall
Asako Oshiro
Terri Prizant
Chris Rankin
  Alana Reed
Barbara Shaffer
Joel Shapiro
Susan Shapiro
Deanne Sparks
Don Sparks
Becky Stone
Steve Theodore

The Musicians

Stuart Brotman
Jim Knight
Daniel Slosberg
  Don Sparks
Josh Tamer
Steven Woodruff
  John Zeretzke


A Brief History of the AMAN Folk Ensemble

The Los Angeles-based AMAN Folk Ensemble was founded in 1964 under the direction of Leona Wood and Anthony Shay, for the purpose of preserving and presenting America's multicultural heritage as it is expressed through music, song, and dance. The company takes its name from the biblical affirmative the Eastern and Middle Eastern Europeans pronounce "Aman" and American's, "Amen." The implications of this word are reflected in the abiding respect and affection for cultural values invested in the research, choreography, music and staging of AMAN's international repertoire.

Since its inception, AMAN has gained steadily in artistic excellence and in reputation as America's preeminent folkloric performing company. Since 1975, when AMAN joined the roster of companies funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Programme, the company has toured extensively throughout the United States.