Faith i Branko

Gypsy Lover - Serbia/UK

'Musically a delight' The Guardian

'Moving & virtuosic' BBC Radio 3

 'Totally amazing' Lily Allen






The National Folk Festival, Canberra - Australia

The National Folk Festival, Canberra - Australia

Introduction to Workshop Leaders

 UK born accordionist, composer and dancer Faith Elliott lived in the Roma (Gypsy) Village of Gornja Grabovica in Serbia for many years where she learnt the language, dance styles and music in its traditional context. She has taught Roma and Balkan Dance, Music and Language throughout Australia, Europe and recently with the Trinity Laban Conservertoire of Music and Dance in London. Recent workshops include Port Fairy Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival in Australia. Serbian dancer Mari Lon spent her early adult years learning, teaching and touring with Serbian Folk Ensembles around Europe and can take the workshops to a higher level for those who already have a basis in Circle Dance. 

Previous Workshops

Over the last two years Faith, Branko and Mari have run workshops:

  • In Festivals in New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia (including Dunedin Folk Festival, Cygnet Folk Festival and The National Folk Festival )

  • With Rural Touring Schemes in the UK (Dorset Arts Reach/ Gloucestershire)

  • With Trinity Laban Dance Academy

  • With Schools in London and Gloucestershire

  • For Hen Parties in association with Giffords Circus


Workshop Content

1. Dance

In this workshop Faith and Mari shall introduce the main styles of Balkan circle dancing: the Kolo, 7/8 dance, Sasa - and Rumba. By the end of the workshop everyone shall be able to dance the basic steps for each of these styles and optional more advanced variations shall be offered for those who would like them. The workshop can be accompanied by live music or audio: the music and time signatures shall be also demonstrated, and the stories and traditions behind each explained to augment the dance.

2. Music

Faith can offer either a specialised music workshop or a standard workshop. In the specialised workshop the attending musicians can request which instrumentation interests them - with options of percussion, guitar, violin, double bass, accordion and singing. The attendees shall bring their own instruments, divide into sectionals to learn the specific elements of Serbian Roma Music before putting it together into an ensemble piece. The standard workshop shall consist of 2 leading instrumentalists who shall deal with melody, harmony and rhythm as a group: this shall include topics such as traditional harmonies used, trills, ways of playing rhythm, improvisation and cultural context and shall enable the attendees to play 3 different styles of Balkan music by the end of the workshop.

3. Combination of Dance and Music

In this workshop Faith and Mari shall teach 3 basic styles of Balkan Circle Dances as danced at Balkan and Roma weddings and parties - Serbian 'Kolo', with a number of variations for those who are quick on footwork; Macedonian '7/8' dances, and Serbian 'Sasa'. She shall teach one well known piece of Serbian Roma music, using whichever instruments are provided by the workshop attendees - looking as an ensemble at singing styles, trills, rhythm and harmonies and the stories behind the music. At the end of the workshop they shall put the music and dance together to recreate the live feeling of a Serbian Roma wedding!

Target Age Group

The dance workshop can cater towards a mixed age group - it is a community event. The music and combined music and dance workshops are recommended for age 13 upwards.

Number of People we can work with

The dance workshop can work with any amount of people. The music and combined workshops are recommended for a maximum of 25 people.

Length of Workshop

60 - 90 minutes