BalkanFest 2022

Join us—in person—for our summer and fall weekend events, featuring classes and great live music dance parties. Registration is now open for our New York weekend!

East Coast

August 5, 2022
Village Community School SkyYard
West Village, Manhattan, NY

August 6, 2022
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Astoria, NY

West Coast

September 9-10, 2022
Presidio Theatre Plaza
San Francisco, CA

West Coast registration coming soon, stay tuned!

Balkan Music &
Dance Workshops

Every summer the EEFC presents two week-long summer camps, which we’re revving up again after the long pandemic drought. Please visit the pages below to whet your appetite for the 2023 workshops!

June 17-24, 2023
More info…

August 5-12, 2023
More info…

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There are several ways to stay connected to the EEFC throughout the year. Subscribe to our email Newsletter for monthly updates. Join the discussion list (an active email group with searchable archives since 1993). Send us a message.

East Coast BalkanFest

Friday, August 5, 2022
Village Community School SkyYard, Manhattan, NY

Saturday, August 6, 2022
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria, NY


Come celebrate Balkan music and dance with us at our weekend festival—in person! Our East Coast BalkanFest will be held in the lively West Village and Astoria neighborhoods of the New York City boroughs. Jump into the joy with a live-music dance party on Friday night and then come back for classes and more dance parties on Saturday with world-class instructors and performers. People of all ages and experience levels are welcome!


The Facilities

Village Community School SkyYard
The Village Community School is located in the heart of the West Village of Manhattan. Built on the roof of the school’s newest construction, the SkyYard is a large, open-air space for recreation and activity. The venue provides a bright, atmospheric place to gather with friends, eat, and, of course, dance. The building is accessible, and the SkyYard can be reached by elevator or stairs. In case of bad weather, we will move indoors to the gym.


Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Founded in 1892 in Astoria, Queens, the aim of the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden was to support Czech and Slovak immigrants to the area, as well as people of Czech and Slovak ancestry. At one time, there were over 800 beer gardens in New York City—three in Astoria alone. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden is the oldest beer garden in New York and survives to carry the proud tradition into the new millennium! In the spacious courtyard there is a linden tree there that was planted by Václav Havel, which when in bloom fills the garden with its intoxicating scent. The old-world charm of this venue is enhanced with old signs and flags from the Czech Republic inside the bar. The large outdoor space features picnic tables, an outdoor bar, grills serving food, as well as a raised dance floor and stage. Inside boasts a spacious hall with a high ceiling, and a wooden floor for our dancing pleasure. In case of rain tents will be provided over tables. In case of particularly bad weather, outdoor events will move indoors.



Please note that fees do not cover food or drink, so bring some extra $$ to quench your thirst and feed your kef!

Anastasia Tsantes will provide a delectable assortment of Balkan-style meze (e.g. pitas, appetizer salads, sausages, cheese), which will be sold in various combinations to tease and please your palate. Note that our Friday party is on property where alcohol is not permitted—please plan accordingly. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages or a water bottle that you can fill on site. In addition to the food available onsite, there are numerous establishments in the area available for your dining pleasure. Local restaurants include Italian, Southwestern American, Chinese, Mexican, and Japanese, as well as more casual delis, pizzerias, and sandwich shops.

Bohemian Hall has a full menu, featuring grilled fare as well as Czech and Slovak favorites. They serve a wide variety of beers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, including Golden Pheasant, BrouCzech, Pilsner Urquell, Krušovice, Czechvar, and Staropramen, as well as many craft beers. The surrounding Astoria neighborhood also has numerous restaurants and cafes for your dining and snacking pleasure.



A number of full scholarships are available for the BalkanFest weekend. Start here—deadline to apply is June 15, 2022.


Work Exchanges

A few tuition-waiver work exchanges may be available for participants. Inquiries for work exchanges will be entertained only after registration has begun (see below). Please contact the EEFC Office if you wish to be considered for a work exchange. We will follow up on individual work exchange requests as soon as possible.


Registration, Fees, and Other Information

  • Whole weekend: (Friday night + Saturday day and night): $75 (adults and kids 12-17), $30 (children 7-11)
  • Friday evening party only: $25 (adults and kids 12-17), $10 (children 7-11)
  • Saturday: $50 (adults and kids 12-17), $20 (children 7-11)
  • What it covers. Fees include participation in dance parties and classes; food and drink are not included (see “Food” above).
  • Paying it forward. When you register you will have an opportunity to kick in a little extra to help support this event and keep costs down for as many people as possible.
  • Covid protocols. We are asking all participants to present evidence of current Covid vaccinations and boosters (see the registration form for details), and we will require masking in all indoor spaces.

Online registration is open (see the red “Register” tab above). Event updates will be announced through our E-newsletter (sign-up if you haven’t already), the EEFC Discussion list, and on our Facebook page.

2022 Staff & Bands

Click on the red Schedule tab above for workshop and dance set times and locations

Staff and band listings are subject to update and change.

Teachers & Dance Leaders

Beth Bahia Cohen

Makams in Balkan Folk Music

Beth Bahia Cohen has spent a large part of her career exploring how the violin is played in various cultures. Of Syrian Jewish and Russian Jewish heritage, she was inspired at a young age by the...Read More

Sarah Ferholt

Youth Band Jam

If you are 5 or 7 or 9, or if you are a teen or young adult, or if you have ever been a part of the Čoček Nation / YAMMS / Mlado Selo EEFC camp youth ensembles, join us! If we have tunes...Read More

Michael Ginsburg

Balkan Dance

On Friday, Michael Ginsburg will introduce the dances played by Niva during the dance workshop. Michael has been director and lead trumpet player of Zlatne Uste...Read More

Adam Good

Balkan Strings

On Saturday, Adam will present North Macedonian tunes for plucked instruments such as tambura, guitar, mandolin, banjo, oud, džumbuš, bouzouki, etc. The class will be taught by ear, notation,...Read More

Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi

Greek Dance

On Friday, Joe will introduce dances to Kavala Brass Band during the dance workshop. On Saturday, he will briefly introduce the dances as needed before each tune in...Read More

Merita Halili

Albanian Singing

Merita Halili is one of Albania’s top performers. Born in the capital city of Tiranë, Merita grew up singing the lyric songs of her native region of Central Albania. Her nationwide debut...Read More

Raif Hyseni

Albanian/Kosovar Ensemble

Raif Hyseni hails from The Republic of Kosova, which has a large Albanian majority. He grew up in the town of Mitrovicë, where he studied accordion at music school and performed in amateur...Read More

Jerry Kisslinger

Balkan Rhythm Planet

On Saturday, in this 90-minute, light-hearted immersion into Balkan rhythms, you will learn to feel, count, and play common dance rhythms of the southern Balkans—in 4, 7, 9, or 11—at least....Read More

Steve Kotansky

Balkan Dance

On Saturday, Steve will introduce dances as needed before each tune of Zlatne Uste's afternoon dance set.

Steve Kotansky, known widely as a versatile dancer...Read More

Eva Salina

Balkan Singing

Eva Salina is a mother, gardener, and a passionate interpreter and instructor of Eastern European vocal traditions. Eva was born and raised in California, spent 14 years in Brooklyn and now lives...Read More


101 Gaidi I Tupani New York

Bulgarian Rhodope Bagpipes

A project of Young Bulgarian Voices New York, 101 Kaba Gaidi I Tupani New York features the massive, rich sounds of the deep...Read More

Dimitris Stefanidis

Pontic Lyra

Dimitris Stefanidis was born in the village of Mesaio near Thessaloniki in Greece. The residents of the village were majority first-generation Pontian Greek refugees, so Dimitris was exposed to...Read More

Kavala Brass Band

Greek Brass

Kavala Brass Band plays traditional music of Northern Greece, with an exceedingly danceable repertoire that reflects the rich brass band practices of the region. The band is: Catherine Foster -...Read More



Niva is a four-woman band that plays and sings Macedonian roots music— alternately lyrical, mournful, ecstatic, and spooky music that used to be the soundtrack of everyday life back in the day....Read More

Pontic Firebird

Pontic Greek

Pontic Firebird plays traditional Greek dance music from the Black Sea area of Turkey (Pontos). Band members are: Beth Bahia Cohen - violin, Adam Good - oud, Jerry Kisslinger - daouli, and Paul...Read More

Raif Hyseni & Friends


Raif Hyseni is a consummate bandleader, and for our festival he has assembled a stellar group of musicians to delight dancers and listeners alike, featuring Merita Halili with her compelling and...Read More

Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band

Balkan Brass

The foremost presenters of traditional Balkan brass music in the US, Zlatne Uste's repertoire spans the most important stops in the traditional music of the Balkans. ZU has been a six-time invited...Read More

Daily Schedule

Please note the schedule and bands are subject to change, even at the very last minute.


Friday, August 5
Village Community School SkyYard
  • 6:00 p.m.: Doors open
  • 6:30 p.m.: Dance workshop with live music to get your feet moving, featuring Joe Kaloyanides Graziosi and Michael Ginsburg
  • 7:30 p.m.: Dance party officially begins with Kavala Brass Band and continues with Niva
  • 11:00 p.m.: Evening activities end in Manhattan. See you tomorrow in Astoria!


Saturday, August 6
Bohemian Hall


Frequently Asked Questions & Important Information

We will add to this section as questions come up!


What are the addresses of the BalkanFest venues and how do I get there?


Will activities be held inside or outside?

  • Friday: Everything will he held outside on the Village Community School roof SkyYard. Everyone attending will be required to be vaccinated.
  • Saturday: Both! There will be live music and dancing outside all day long in the Bohemian Hall courtyard with 10 picnic tables reserved for our participants and placed near the raised dance floor. There will also be music workshops and an evening dance party inside in the Hall and Meeting Room. Please note that outside activities will also be accessible to the general public who are dining in the beer garden and who may or may not be vaccinated. Access to the daytime indoor classes and evening dance party will be restricted to BalkanFest participants, who will have shown proof of vaccination when they registered, with masking required.


Are Bohemian Hall and the Meeting Room air-conditioned?

  • There is air conditioning that will be used in the likely event of a warm August day. The Meeting Room has a wall-inserted air conditioner. We are checking on the air conditioning in the inside Hall and will update regarding this situation. Both rooms have high ceilings. Masking will be required indoors.


You’re asking that everyone be masked in indoor spaces. Will there be exceptions?

  • Yes. We will make exceptions for featured dance bands who will be playing on stage at a safe distance from dancers. We will also permit featured teachers to conduct their classes maskless, though students should remain masked. Students who are bringing wind instruments to play in class will be permitted to remove their masks, but we will make sure everyone is positioned a safe distance from one another.


BalkanFest? Is this event related to Golden Fest?

  • Not directly, but you should know that the EEFC has deep and abiding connections to New York’s Golden Festival, which is produced and hosted by Zlatne Uste Balkan Brass Band and the Golden Festival Organizing Committee. We’re excited that Zlatne Uste will be a featured band at BalkanFest (don’t miss ’em—see the Schedule tab above to find out when they’re playing).


Resources & Materials

Stay tuned!


Registration Form