Balkan Music &
Dance Workshops
Virtual Camp

While we regret the cancelation of both our Mendocino and Iroquois Springs workshops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are excited to have presented our first-ever, completely online Virtual Camps, each with three days of immersive classes, live-music performances, and community gatherings. Virtual Camp West Coast (July 17-19, 2020) was a great success, with 350 people registered. Our East Coast Virtual Camp (August 14-16) is now complete, with over 380 attendees!

Registration is now closed for both camps. Stay tuned for more EEFC-sponsored virtual events & classes!


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Find out almost everything you always wanted to know about the EEFC’s Balkan camps.


We award several full and partial scholarships to each workshop every year.
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The EEFC is proud to partner with sister organizations, including the Bulgarian Folk Music & Dance Seminar.

Petar "Usmivkata" Aleksiev

Bulgarian Thracian Gajda

Petar “Usmivkata” (The Smile) Aleksiev was born in Varna, Bulgaria. He graduated from “Philip Kutev” Music School in Kotel, then from Plovdiv’s Academy for Music and Dance Arts. He was part of the representative folk orchestra of the Plovdiv Academy. There he received his master’s degree in Music Arts with honors, specializing in bagpipe.

While he was at school Petar accompanied the world-known Grammy-winning women’s choir Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares. He has participated in many groups in numerous projects, and has played with the most famous musicians and bands in Bulgaria. Petar has made recordings with the Bulgarian National Radio, and Bulgarian National Television. He has participated in many international projects, folklore events, and festivals in Greece, Italy, Malta, Israel, Netherlands, Belgium, Moldova, Ukraine, Serbia, and elsewhere. Petar frequently composes for dance groups and bands, and is a member of the UNESCO International Organization for Folk Art.

Since 2008 Petar has been living in Chicago, where he performs with Kolorit Orchestra, Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society, and plays Bulgarian, Greek, and Macedonian music at various events and camps. He also joyfully engages in teaching Bulgarian bagpipe to new enthusiasts.

Class Description | Beginning & Intermediate Thracian Gajda

  • Beginners are welcome.
  • We will prepare something for the Student Concert. However, participation in the Student Concert is optional, and the class will decide whether we perform.
  • Repertoire will be taught by ear at a fairly rapid pace.