Michael Kuharski started folk dancing with the large and lively group in Madison (Wisconsin) in 1969 and has been a passionate participant, leader, and teacher there ever since. Regular visits keep him in close contact with both recreational and ethnic dance communities throughout the upper Midwest.
Michael has made a dozen journeys through the Balkans to participate in the folkways of the people (particularly Bulgarians, Albanians, Macedonians, Serbians, and Roma) as well as to collect dances, music, instruments, costumes, wonderful friends, and instructive anecdotes. He speaks several languages of the region and studies them all.
Michael is Artistic Director of Narodno, Madison's Eastern European folk ensemble and the main man behind such regional celebrations as June Camp and the Folk Ball Festival, the Midwest's largest participatory folk dance festival. He teaches weekly at Madison Folk dance Unlimited, annually at the Door County Folk Festival, occasionally at Folklore Village, in Nova Scotia, and elsewhere upon invitation, sharing a repertoire of hundreds of road-tested recreational dances and adding energy wherever he goes -- try to catch him sitting down!
Michael plays accordion and ocarina, thumps a Balkan bass drum, and transcribes folk songs and dance tunes "by the score."
Michael married Nancy Yugo on August 22, 1987. The wedding was celebrated with dance by over three hundred guests. Their honeymoon trip was one of six great adventures through the Balkans which they shared. Nancy passed away from cancer on April 8, 2011 -- she was 64 years old.
Dances Michael has taught include Armenian Shuffle, Gijuševska Rŭčenica, and Svornato.