2016 Boulder Balkan Bash

By Venture West (other events)

Saturday, November 12 2016 5:30 PM 11:00 PM


Live music for folk dancing by SIX hot local bands specializing in traditional and contemporary music from Eastern Europe. Many of the dances are easy enough to learn on the spot. Everyone’s invited to dance, but no one is required to; the Avalon has plenty of room to sit and watch. In Eastern Europe, live music and dancing are always accompanied by food! So roll up your sleeves, make a great potluck dish and come celebrate!

Live folk dance music starts at 5:30pm and continues until 11:00pm. From 6:00 till 10:00pm the potluck dinner and dessert will be served.  All guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share. (We ourselves are cooking and we would love for everyone to bring food, but if you cannot, we'd much rather have you attend without a dish than stay home!)

The dance music program will feature tunes from Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, and Roma (Gypsy) traditions.  While the majority of dances will be line dances, a few waltzes and other couple dances will also be included. See ensemble line-up below.

Many of the ensemble members have been performing Eastern European folk dance music for the past several decades, at concerts, festivals, benefits, and in collaboration with each other, for the enjoyment of dancers and listeners all over Colorado and the region.  Look for more information about the performers below!

Join us in celebrating Eastern European traditions of live music, dancing, and food at the Avalon Ballroom, on Saturday, November 12, 2016. Don’t know what to bring or don’t like to cook? Please contact Mary Ann, the food coordinator, at [email protected] for assistance/ideas, etc.




Advance Purchase Prices

  • Adults - $22
  • Students - $18
  • Seniors - $18
  • Child - $9

At the Door Prices

  • Adults - $25
  • Students - $20
  • Seniors - $20
  • Child - $10


  • Avalon Ballroom (6185 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder, 80303)
  • Potluck, food, and beverage info: [email protected] or 720-936-5055.
  • Event and ticket info: [email protected] or 303-329-6242.
  • Please buy tickets in advance if you possibly can to help us estimate the food/beverage needs.



5:30-6:15pm                  Barbelfish                                
6:25-7:10pm                  Sherefe                                 
7:20-8:05pm                  Bitovniks                               
8:15-9:00pm                  Planina                                     
9:10-9:55pm                  Ansambl Teodosievski              
10:05-10:50pm                Gora Gora                                 
10:50-11:10pm                Finale  


Ansambl Teodosievski

Petar Teodosiev, a Macedonian-born accordion virtuoso who has played extensively in Serbia and who toured internationally for years with Roma legend Esma Redžepova, presents his arrangements of folk songs from the former Yugoslavia at the Boulder Balkan Bash. Annie Aqua (violin), Nate Beck (trumpet), Jessica Bondy (vocals), Brett Bowen (percussion), Paul Brown (bass), Valerie Brown (percussion, vocals), Rose Fuller (vocals), Jamie Halliday (vocals), Jenna Palensky (vocals), Savannah Powell (viola, vocals), Thorn Roby (vocals), Amy Sebesta Self (clarinet), Galina Siergiejczyk (Vocals), Petar Teodosijev (accordion), and Keith Wagner (flute). 


Barbelfish (named after a freshwater fish to which a pretty girl is likened in some Macedonian songs), plays soul-stirring music for dancing from Eastern Europe and beyond, especially from Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece. Village and urban music from the Balkans offers some of the most exquisite melodies, soaring harmonies and driving rhythms on the planet and Barbelfish expertly delivers them. Jesse Manno (percussion, vocals), Steve Mullins (tambura, guitar, bouzouki, mandolin), Amy Self (clarinet, kaval, vocals), James Hoskins (gudulka, cello, vocals), Julie Lancaster (accordion, tambura, vocals), Loren Uecker (vocals). 

The Bitōvniks

Although all the members of the Bitōvniks are experienced multi-instrumentalists in a variety of traditions, this band features traditional Bulgarian village instruments only (no modern instruments). The repertoire consists of exciting dance tunes, often in uneven rhythms, such as 5/8, 7/8, 9/8 and others. Brett Bowen (tapan / bass drum), Mark Brissenden (gajda / bagpipe), James Hoskins (gudulka / folk fiddle), Steve Mullins (tambura / long-necked lute), Mary Ann Saussotte (tambura), and Amy Self (kaval / wooden flute).

Gora Gora Orkestar

Gora Gora Orkestar, a brass band powerhouse, has been bringing the sounds of the Balkans to the Rockies with high-energy performances, infectious rhythms, and feel-good music since 2009.  Think of Dixieland Brass Band with eastern modes, and you have an idea: it's hot and smoky party music for line dancing or your global groove.  Tung Pham and Alice Hansen (trumpet), John Jonas and Breana Cowart (trombone), Pete Lyons (alto sax), Stephen Angus (tenor sax), Ben Fausch (tuba), Kevin Kern and Ian Campbell (percussion), Adam Loudermilk (snare drum), Vic Stauffenberg (bass drum), and Kelly Maxwell (vocals).   

Planina - Songs of Eastern Europe

Planina (the word means “mountains” in several South Slavic languages) is a mixed chorus of 16 members. The group has been performing in Colorado since 1988, presenting a cappella and accompanied music from many parts of Eastern Europe, including the Balkans, the Baltics, the Caucasus, Poland and Russia. Some of the members play instruments (various drums and percussion, violin, viola, accordion, mandolin, tambura). Members are Nate Beck, Jessica Bondy, Valerie Brown, Rose Fuller, Sharon Kermiet, Julie Lancaster, Laura Osterman, Jenna Palensky, Savannah Powell, Thorn Roby, Tovio Roberts,

Mary Ann Saussotte, Galina Siergiejczyk, Yoanna Todorova, and Keith Wagner. At the Bash, the group will be joined by expert guest instrumentalists Petar Teodosiev (accordion) and Paul Brown (bass).


Sherefe, named after the Turkish drinking toast, "to your honor," is a group of mostly Boulder-based musicians dedicated to performing traditional music from the Balkans and the Middle East. At the Bash they will play dance tunes from Greece, Turkey and elsewhere in the Balkans. Brett Bowen (doumbek, tupan), Paul Brown (bass), James Hoskins (cello, gudulka, bouzouki, guitar, vocals), Jesse Manno (baglama, bouzouki, saz, oud, flutes, vocals), Julie Lancaster (accordion, vocals), Dexter Payne (clarinets, saxophone).

Funded in part by the Alex “Tink” Wilson Legacy Fund, a separate fund under the aegis of Boulder International Folk Dancers.