Dick Oakes' Press Releases
Dick Oakes was born in Virginia of German-English parents. He started seriously studying folk dance and folk art in San Diego in 1958.
He has participated, taught, and held office in numerous recreational and performance dance groups . . . Dick has been Director of Extension and Director of Publicity of the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, and has served on the Folk Dance Conference Committees. He is currently a staff artist for Viltis Folklore Magazine and is past editor of Folk Dance Scene.
Dick has taught several Southland Folk Dance Institutes, Folk Dance Conferences, and nearly all of the folk dance coffeehouses, and is presently the instructor each Friday at The Intersection in Los Angeles.
Dick is returning for his third teaching engagement.
--Valerie Staigh, San Diego State College Folk Dance Committee, August, 1969
Dick Oakes, specialist in Near East and Balkan dance, has been a workshop teacher for over much of the West Coast and has been on the faculty of several folk dance camps, including the Santa Barbara Folk Dance Conference. His styling is impeccable and his repertoire of folk dances is extensive. Further, Mr. Oakes has a unique way of breaking down steps so that the essence of a dance is excitingly clear. Currently, he is the guiding light in dance at the Los Angeles' famous 'Intersection' Coffee House.
--Stella Mortensen, Summer Dance Camp, Seattle Washington, July, 1971
Class to learn folk dances
Richard B. Oakes . . . will be the instructor for an international folk dancing class from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting May 28.
The class, sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department, will be at the department's center in City Park.
Oakes, a past officer of the Folk Dance Federation of California, was a student of Vyts Beliajus, "called the 'father of folk-dancing in America'," he said, in San Diego, Calif. He has performed with the AMAN folk dancers ensemble in Los Angeles and has been a staff artist and contributor to the Viltis Folklore Magazine, published by Beliajus in Denver.
Oakes recently performed Balkan dances on Channel 2 in Denver to publicize a performance by the Tamburitzans group of Duquesne University.
"The classes will include instruction on many types of international folk dancing," Oakes said, "with some emphasis on the Balkan." He learned several different types of dances from instructors from other countries who were in the U.S. on teaching tours.
Interested persons may register in advance at the Parks and Recreation Department or go to the first class. The cost of the [session] is $1.
--Staff writer, Fort Collins Colorodoan, Thursday, May 23, 1974
Folkdance workshop to feature Oakes here
An international folk dance workshop will be led by performer Richard Oakes at the City Park Pavilion.
The all-day session is for people of all ages, with no preregistration required. Those interested may attend either the 1 to 4 p.m. or the 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. session, or both. A potluck supper is planned between sessions.
Cost is $3 per person for both sessions, or $2 for one session only.
Oakes, who supervised the Fort Collins Folk Dancers from its inception until 1974, returned to California in 1975 and is presently on tour.
He has performed with many well-known West Coast groups, has been active in California and Colorado folk dance organizations and has been a staff member of the "Lighted Lantern Folk Dance Camp Week" at Lookout Mountain near Golden for the past four summers.
--Staff writer, Fort Collins Colorodoan,Tuesday, April 27, 1976
Dick Oakes - Balkan Dance
Dick, returning to camp for a second year, is already known in the Pacific Northwest as an excellent teacher and a beautiful dancer. His classes are a pleasure to attend.
--Oregon State University Folk Dance Workshop, June, 1978
Heritage Dancers To Have Dick Oakes As Party Guest
Dick Oakes, a renowned International Folk Dance teacher and leader, will be guest teacher for the Heritage Dance Club class on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at the Dietert Claim.
Experienced folk dancers are invited to join the party activities and to meet Oakes. Those attending are requested to wear long skirts for women and long sleeved shirts with ties for men.
Oakes is nationally known as a folk dance instructor, having taught at many folk dance camps, semnars, workshops and weekend institutes thoughout the nation. His unique teaching style, humorous presentation, the ability to accurately convey not only the steps but more importantly the styling of many nationalities, and his feeling for the learning process, make him much sought after. Currently he teaches regularly at three of Houston's folk dance clubs.
As a leader, Oakes has held office in the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, the San Diego State College Folk Dance Conference Committee and the Research and Standardization Committee of the Federation. He was the first co-editor of "Folk Dance Scene," southern California's folk dance news magazine. He is co-director of the West's newest successful folk dance conference, Holiday Camp (Dec. 29--Jan. 1) held at Oak Glen, Cal.
One of this country's finest folk dance performers, Oakes has appeared with the famed AMAN Folk Ensemble, dancing in Romanian, Bulgarian and Croatian suites. His list of performing credits includes such groups as Betyárok (Hungarian--he was one of four founders), GTV d'Oberlandlers (Bavarian schuhplattlers), Dolina Cygany (Polish, Russian and Serbian), Gandy Dancers (Hungarian, Ukrainian and Scandinavian), Gitmek (Turkish), Village Dancers (Persian), Viltis Dancers (Lithuanian), and Westwind International Folk Ensemble (American). He has performed and presented programs on television in Colorado and California.
Presently the dance leader is a guest in the home of Betty and John Casey who are the regular teachers of lthe Heritage Dancers. Oakes is a consultant for Betty Casey's latest book in progress to be published by Doubleday, "International Folk Dancing U.S.A."
--Staff writer for the Kerrville Daily Times, October 3, 1978
Dick Oakes represents the product and the essence of international folk dancing in the United States. A versatile, professional teacher-performer-dancer, he is proficient in a wide spectrum of folk dances. His interest in folk dance was sparked when he was still a young sailor stationed in San Diego. Since then he has studied with top international teachers, performed with professional dance groups (including the famed Aman Folk Dance Ensemble), and has taught at camps, seminars, and universities and colleges in nearly a hundred cities across the continental Unites States, in Canada, and in Hawaii.
Stage and television performances have included dances from Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Bavaria, Poland, Russia, Serbia, The Ukraine, Turkey, Lithuania, and the United States. A popular folk dance specialist with a large collection of records and background material, his expertise also encompasses Greek, Macedonian, Scandinavian, and other dances.
Among his leadership roles, Dick Oakes served as codirector of Holiday Camp, held various offices in folk dance clubs and the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, and has been a member of the Federation's Research and Standardization Committee.
--by Betty Casey in her book International Folk Dancing U.S.A., Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1981
Dick, the vivacious co-director and co-founder of Holiday Camp, is an internationaly known folk dance instructor. He has taught at camps, seminars, workshops, and weekend institutes all over the U.S.A. and last winter toured Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is currently based in Los Angeles and teaches at the Intersection Folk Dance Cafe.
He began folk dancing in San Diego. As a Navy medic wandering through Balboa Park in his off hours, he was attracted to the sounds of the strange music, stamping, and hollering of the San Diego Folk Dancers. He joined them, kept dancing, and was thoroughly hooked. He eventually helped found the Cygany Dancers and has performed with AMAN, Betyárok, GTV D'Oberlanders, Gandy Dancers, Viltis, and Westwind International Folk Ensemble.
His teaching career began almost accidentally in 1960 at the Federation Folk Dance Camp at Santa Barbara where he was asked by the camp teachers at an after party to show them a dance that he knew. His teaching skill was immediately apparent and he was soon being asked by many groups to give workshops.
--Dikki Shields, Co-Founder and Co-director, Holiday Camp
Ironically, Dick Oakes began his active involvement with organized folk dancing with Vyts [Beliajus -- staff headliner] in the 50's in San Diego. Since that beginning, he has been a part of, or conducted workshops in, over a hundred different cities throughout the U.S. . . .
Versatile, engaging, hard-working, Dick Oakes' ability to "cut himself to the cloth" of the demand for his services makes him one of the most sought after folkdance instructors. He refuses categorization. Equally adept at reels, jigs, Balkan, etc., Dick's outstanding attribute is adapatability and the uncanny ability to teach--and to teach any level. To that end, it is not surprising to learn that Dick Oakes just completed a successful tour of the Orient (including three provinces in Taiwan) where he taught hundreds of Orientals Balkan dance without the benefit of a dance interpreter."
--Kansas Arts Commission, Kansas City, Kansas
Dick Oakes is well known internationally as a folk dance instructor. He has taught in over 100 cities in the United States and Canada and taught Balkan dances to hundreds of Chinese folk dancers in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
Dick's unique teaching style, humorous presentation, ability to accurately convey not only the steps but, more importantly, the style of many varied nationalities, and feeling for the learning process, make him a much sought after teacher for workshops, seminars, and camps.
The sound movies and stereo slides he took in Bulgaria, Romania, and Yugoslavia are an entertaining source of folkloric research material -- especially those of the Koprivstica Festival during Bulgaria's 1300th anniversary and Romania's Tismana Festival in 1981.
As one of this country's fine folk dance performers, Dick has been seen on television in California, Colorado, and Oklahoma--at times directing his own groups for these shows. He appeared as a Greek dancer in the Hollywood film for television "Star Maker." He was a performer with the famed AMAN Folk Ensemble, dancing in Croatian, Bulgarian, and Romanian suites. His list of performing credits includes such groups as Betyárok (Hungarian), Dolina Cygany (Polish, Russian, and Serbian), Gandy Dancers (Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Scandinavian), Gitmek (Turkish), GTV D'Oberlandlers (Bavarian Schuhplattlers), Rocky Mountain Folk Ensemble (Macedonian), Village Dancers (Persian), Viltis Dancers (Lithuanian), and Westwind International Folk Ensemble (American).
His other activities and accomplishments are numerous. Active in a leadership roll, Dick has held office in several folk dance groups as well as in the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, and was active on the Santa Barbara and San Diego State College Folk Dance Conference Committees, the Beginner Class Committee, the Beginner Festival Committee, the Costume Committee, and the Research and Standardization Committee of the Federation. Dick was the first co-editor of the Folk Dance Scene, Southern California's folk dance news magazine. Dick also was a staff artist for the Viltis Folklore Magazine. He wrote the chapter on Yugoslav folk dancing in the book from Doubleday, International Folk Dancing U.S.A., compiled by Betty Casey. Dick organized several folk dance functions and was co-director of the successful Holiday Camp folk dance conference in the mountains of Southern California. In addition, Dick served on judging committees on Greek folk dance for the Western Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church of America.
Dick taught at many folk dance centers in both northern and southern California, including Ashkenaz, Café Danssa, Calliope's, Finjan, Gypsy Camp, Horo, The Intersection, The Museum, Plaka, Red Mill House, Scorpio's, Theo's, The Threshing Floor, Red Mill House, Veselo Selo, and Zorbas.
--Exerpts from an Instructours Pamphlet