Steve and Susan Kotansky
Balkan, Hungarian, Romanian, international
Includes biographical information from Murray Spiegel
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Stephen "Steve" Kotansky was raised in the San Francisco area, dancing as part of his grade school curriculum and junior high as well, but he tarted folk dancing at age sixteen at Stanford when two of his "girl friends" got him to drive them there and pulled him into the dancing.
He moved to southern California after high school, and danced with the prestigious AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN International Music and Dance Company) of Los Angeles, California. He also danced with Vince Evanchuk and his Ukrainian dance troupe, the Westwind Folk Ensemble, and the San Francisco Russian Dance Group, before becoming a dance major at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, he continued his study and teaching of Balkan and Central European dance culture. He made his first research trip to Hungary and former Yugoslavia in 1970. In the early 1970s, Steve traveled throughout Germany for seven years. He worked with ethnic communities in Munich, teaching international folk dance, performed and co-founded the performing group Gajda, while taking advantage of his proximity to Balkan and Eastern European countries to pursue his interest in the study and research of their dances. He also lived in Bucovina for a while learning local folklore. When asked about his favorite folk dancing, he replied, "Macedonian but Albania is creeping in too."
He did all kinds of odd jobs from sales to teaching and worked in construction, animation, and gardening, and owned antique and used furniture stores. He also worked for IBUSZ (the Hungarian National Travel Agency).
Steve started as a Dance major at UCLA but finished with degrees in Eastern European Languages and Culture at the State University of New York (SUNY) and Waldorf Education at Sunbridge College. College.
Steve taught folk dance in Western Europe and organized workshops in Hungary, Macedonia, and Serbia. In the late 1970s, Steve returned to Hungary and studied with dance master, Timár Sándor, among others. It was during this time that Steve met his future wife, Susan Snyder.
Steve has since taught at every major North American festival and camp, often with his wife, Susy, whom he met at a Hungarian Dance Seminar which I helped organize with Csaba Palfi and Rickey Hoilden in Sarospatak, Hungary.
Their work continues to be an expression of their love and passion for dance, finding time to teach dance to children K-12 in New York City area public and private schools. Steve also serves as a consultant to several Hungarian folk ensembles.
Most recently, Steve has been researching Albanian and Roma dance from the Diaspora and continues his work and research in Balkan and Central European countries. He is particularly interested in dance culture as it has evolved since the "fall of the Wall" in these countries. He has a passion and interest in Modern Art and poetry and built sculptures and other oddities from found objects.
Susan "Susy" Snyder-Kotansky studied ballet as a young child and has been dancing ever since. As a young adult she danced with the George Tomov Folk Ensemble, Hungaria, and the Hungarian dance troupe, Hungaresca. Her passion for Hungarian dance and music led her to a dance seminar in Sarospatak in northern Hungary. There she met master teacher, Timár Sándor, who had a large role in initiating the Táncház movement.
Inspired by the organic method of teaching dance that he espoused, Susy returned to spend a year studying with Timár at the Folk Dance Section of the Ballet Institute in Budapest and the Bartok Ensemble of which he was the director. At the same time she made many research trips in Hungary and Transylvania. During this time, Susy met her future husband, Stephen Kotansky, and together they brought the Táncház style of teaching to New York City.
They created and co-directed the Guzsaly Ensemble while teaching weekly classes. They invited master teachers Zoltan Zsuráfszky, Zoltán "Batyu" Farkas, and Ferenc Sára to choreograph and teach their ensemble. In addition, Steve and Susy took many trips to Hungary for the purpose of studying and learning dance. Susy has co-taught couple dances with Steve at many folk dance camps.
Steve and Susy have two grown children, Jesse and Maya.
Dances Steve has taught include Adana, Adanali, Aloniotikos, Aptaliko, Ardeleana, Ardelenescu, Arnold's Circle, Bačkovsko Horo, Bakovsko, Banatsko Kolo na dve Strane, Bărbătescu, Batrna, Bartok, Bătuta (Hora la Bataie), Bătuta de la Adincata, Bavnata, Berače, Beratis, Bitolska Gajda, Blagoevo Oro, Bogdanos, Boimitsa, Bombata, Brâul pe Opt, Brâul pe Şase, Brestaška Râčenica, Căluşarii, Chai Zibede, Černevska Rŭčenica, Černi Potök, Cigánytánc, Ciganko, Ciganski Sa Sa, Cigánytaánc, Chocho, Crnevska Râčenica, Csingeralas, Čučuk, Ćkanoto (Večerjaj or Rado), Ćuperlika, Dansuri din Mureş, De se e culo videlo, Délalföldi Ugrós, Devolliçe, Dimitrula, Djal I Ri (čoček), Dobogós, Dobrudžandka Tropanka, Do Mar Çiften, Drumul Dracului, Dunÿntuli, Dunántuli Csárdás, Dunántuli Ugrós, Dzumbus, Erdeljanka, Eski, Fecioreasca, Gajda from Flambouro, Gajda Preshevarë, Gamsovjana, Gankino Horo, Ginka, Ginka (Zurli), Gjigjile, Glava li ta Boli, Glaviniška Kopanica, Gorarče, Graovsko Horo, Grčkoto, Gyimesi Csango Verbunk, Harţag, Hasaposerviko, Haţegana, Hoina, Hora de la Ripca, Hora din Bacau, Hora la Bătaie, Horon-Alta es la Luna, Horos Makedonia, Ibraim Odža, Indijski Čoček, Învîrta, Învîrta din Bonţida, Învîrta din Călata, Învîrta din Mureş, Išu Byala Nedo, Jiana, Jobbágytelki Forgatós, Jocul Băbătescu, Laptaszego Csárdás, Kalajdžisko Oro, Kalavesh Polyebn Fatbardha, Kalotaszegi Csárdás, Kalotaszegi Csárdás éz Szapora, Kalotaszegi Legényes, Karabatakikos, Kasapko, Kcim, Kerkes, Ketri Ketri, Kezes, Kleftikos, Kleftes, Kleftes Epirou, Kleistos, Kočanski Čoček, Kolo Kopogas (Kolo iz Lakócsa), Kolubarsko Vez, Kopačkata, Kopčeto, Koritsa, Krstačkata, Krstačko, Kucano Oro, Ḱuperlika, Lamba Lamba, Langadi Kserolangado, Lassú Pontozó (Szegényes), Leskovačka Četvorka, Levi Jackson Rag, Liakena, Lički Tanac, Lipa Ma Marýca, Lume Lume, Mâško Kočansko Oro, Maškoto, Méhkeréki Dance-Cycle, Memede, Mezöségi Táncok, Midvédaua, Mînînţelul, Moj Hatixhe, Moj Marine Moj Maro, Moj Maro Moj Maro, Mori Chupi Kosturchanki, Na Dvi Strane, Ne Felj Lanyom, Nešo, Nevrokopsko Horo, Nign, Novo Šopsko Horo, Osogovka, Öves, Pajduško, Patrunina, Pembe, Pembe II, Phiravelman Kalyi Phuv, Pitat me Mamo, Plataniotiko Nero, Platiniko Horo, Platiniotiko Nero, Pogonisios, Politiko Syrtos, Ponturi, Popova Kerka, Poti me Dö Po Lipje, Povardarsko Oro, Pravo Šopsko Horo, Pravo Trakijsko Horo, Pravoto Oro, Promoroacâ, Proseta Se, Prorupta, Purtata, Pustaua, Pušćeno, Pyrgousikos, Raikos, Régi Héjsza, Roata, Rodopsko Horo, Rodopsko Pravo Horo, Romski Gajda, Romski Čoček, Romsko Bitolsko Oro, Rožensko Horo, Rukavice, Sa, Sa from Bujanovac, Sa Sa, Sarakatsani Tsamikos, Saranda Palikaria, Serény Magyaros, Sfarlis, Šira, Sherianqe, Síma Héjsza, Site Mome, Slavej me Peje, Sojanca, Šopski Šošek, Sorocul, Staro Erkečko Horo, Staro Oro, Staro Velesko Oro, Šutka (Čoček), Syngathistos, Syrtos, Syrtos from Samos, Syrtos Syngathistos, Szapora, Ta Lipauška, Ta Midvédaua, Ta Puštaua, Ta Zagátina, Tardonai Karikázó, Teško Kavadarsko Oro, Tobošanka, Topansko Oro, Tripazašč;e, Trite Pŭti, Tsamikos Kleftikos, Tsamikos Menelaidos, Tsamikos Vlachikos, Tsardonai Karikázó, Vallja e Gjilanit, Valla e Osman Takës, Valle Dangellište, Valle e Bradasheshit "Elbasan," Valle e Dhardes, Valle e Miratovces, Valle Jarnana, Valle Korcare, Valle nga Konispol, Valle Shota, Valle Xinxile, Vallja e Osman Takës, Varnensko Horo, Vasil'arhontissa, Veliko Kolo iz Deske, Vesela je Šokadija, Vlach Tsamikos, Xhimixhi-Nesho, Zagatina, Zaharoula, Zajko Kokorajko, Zamfirica, Žensko Pušteno, Zeybekiko, Zgouri Arni, and Zonaradikos.