Erica "Rikki" Nicolae teaches dances of Turkey and Bulgaria. She is currently the Dance Director for Ahmet Lüleci's performance company CollageWest and teaches recreational folkdancing at venues around the Bay Area of San Francisco, California.
She began Balkan folkdancing at Reed College in Portland Oregon. From 1998-1999 she studied folk dancing and singing in Bulgaria on a Watson Fellowship. Upon returning to the States in 2001, she began dancing with Ahmet Lüleci company Collage in Boston, Massachusetts where she proudly served not only as performer but also as drill seargent/dance instructor for new Collage recruits.
After relocating to San Francisco in 2004, she embarked on Ahmet Lüleci's project to grow Collage and helped him found CollageWest.
Rikki's other dance experiences include dancing with ensemble Naslada in Portland, Oregon; ensemble Ratchenitza in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, ensemble WestWind in Berkeley, California, and Yore in Stanford, California.
She loves any opportunity to teach. She recently joined Bill Cope and Tom Farris on their project BlackSea Surf, a Balkan-based band lending modern interpretation to the beloved folk music of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and beyond.
Professionally, Rikki is the Quality System Manager for a Medical Device Company in Sunnyvale, California.