Lee and Hilde Otterholt
Lee Otterholt has a multi-facetted career that includes roles as dancer, choreographer, dance contest judge, festival organizer, dance ensemble founder, author, and teacher.
In addition to founding the semi-professional international folk dance ensemble Opanci in 1977 and Kitka in 1982, Lee has been the choreographer for several amateur folk dance ensembles throughout Scandinavia. Lee also was leader of the Center for International Folk Dance, Oslo, from 1982 to 2003.
From 1980 to 2003, he was the Teacher of Ethnic and Folkloristic Dance at the Norwegian National Ballet School and the Norwegian National College of Music. In 1985, he was a dancer with the Norwegian Opera Ballet for their production of "Carmen" in Oslo. From 1983 to 1986, Lee was a choreographer and dancer for many entertainment programs for the Norwegian National Broadcasting System. From 1986 to 1989, he was choreographer and dancer in several plays and musicals at the National Theater and the Norwegian Theater in Oslo.
In 1992, Lee was choreographer for "Noorse Rapsodie" at the Netherland's Folkloristisch Danstheater in Amsterdam. In the summer of 1992, Lee organized the Zakynthos (Greece) Summer Dance Festival. In August of the same year, he was a judge for the "World Folk Dance Festival of Youth and Students" in Costinesti, Romania. In May, 1995, he was the choreographer for the Norwegian Government's 50th Anniversary Celebration, Oslo Spektrum. In February of 1994, he was co-choreographer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the XVII Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. In January, 2000, Lee was the choreographer for the "WorldRhythms" for "Milleniums Concert" at the "Gamle Losjen" in Oslo.
As the leader for Mel Mann's Folk Dance on the Water 2001 Classic Greek Isle Cruise and 2002 Alaska Cruise, he has established himself with American dancers as an impressive dance leader. In 2003, Lee and his wife Hilde moved to the United States to make their permanent home in Laguna Beach, California.
He directs the Syrtaki Greek folk dance ensemble and is the lead singer in the BalkanBeat band Zimzala. He teaches regularly at local folk dance clubs in the Southern California area and instructs his own recreational folk dance group every Wednesday evening at Laguna Woods. In 2015, he received the National Dance Award presented at the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival.
Lee is the author of several books and instruction manuals about folk dance. He also is a designer and implementor of a folk dance teaching program used in Norwegian elementary and secondary schools including creation and production of teaching materials.
Hilde Otterholt is a professional dancer and choreographer with a diploma from The Laban Center in London, in addition to being a yoga teacher and a massage therapist. When Hilde started doing the Hula years ago, she realized she had found the dance of her heart.
Hilde teaches weekly Hula classes in her hometown of Laguna Beach, California, and has also taught at folk dance camps and festivals such as the Camellia Festival in Sacramento, California; Folklore Village Farm; the Mainewoods Folk Dance Camp; the Salt Spring Island Folk Dance Festival in Canada; and the Stockton Folk Dance Camp.
Hilde started learning Hula from Anne Kristine Tischendorf in Norway and now regularly goes to Hawaii to learn and be inspired by master teachers of the Hula.
Dances Lee and Hilde have taught include Ani More Nuse, Bătrîeasca, Ballaristos, Bitolsko Svadbeno Oro, Blagoevgradsko Horo, Bračno Oro, Cigansko Šopsko Oro, Çobankat, Čučersko Oro, E Ku'u Aloha, Gručkoto, Hora Banaţeana, Hora ca la Mahala, Hora din Rispiţi, Horon - Alta es la Luna, I Am Hawaii, Isios, Jaj az Uramnak, Kalamatianos, Keremejli, Kiladiotiko, Koftos Syrtos, Koritsa, Kotchari, Krivatvorena, Levendikos, Liljino Kolo, Lunden Reinlender, Maica, Mavromata, Mori Shej, Oj Devojče, Opa Ćupa, Opas, Oro Vlaška, Paraliakos, Pentozali, Podrimsko Oro, Rugen, Strumička Petorka, Svatba, Syrtaki, Syrtos Pyleas, Tonntracha Torrai, Topansko Oro, Triandafilia, Troaca, Valle e Quemalit, Veliko, Vlaško za Pojas, Ya da Kalinushku Lomala, Zagoritikos, and Zonaradikos.