Guest Artists Summer Camp 2024
In Person in Stockton California!

Tony Parkes 💖 Sadly, passed away

Tony Parkes passed away on May 6, 2024. See more information at this link. Tony will be missed. We know that everyone at Stockton Folk Dance Camp and the world of folk dancing sends Beth our prayers.

Tony Parkes (Billerica, MA) called American folk dances since 1964. He specialized in old and new contra dances, traditional and contemporary New England squares, and squares from the 1950s (arguably the Golden Age of recreational square dancing). He led workshops in these dance forms at dance camps and folk festivals in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

In addition, Tony led workshops on the many and varied aspects of teaching and calling squares and contras. He is the author of Contra Dance Calling: A Basic Text and has made many dance recordings as caller and pianist.

Square dance history was one of Tony’s passionate interests. His large personal library enabled him to rediscover long-forgotten dances and to develop an appreciation for the breadth and depth of American dance traditions.

Tony will be missed.

Aaron Alpert 💖 Dances of Israel

Aaron was dancing before he was born! His parents, Maxine and Dale, met while Israeli folk dancing at UCLA’s Hillel. Aaron attended his first camp, Dani Dassa’s Rikud, at the age of 2 months, although he remembers very few of the dances from that particular camp. Some of his fondest childhood memories are of accompanying his dad while he taught Israeli dance around the LA area. At age 9, Aaron started getting serious about learning Israeli dance when he began to attend Camp Alonim, an overnight Jewish summer camp, where he learned from David Dassa, Orly Star, and later, Erica Goldman.

His first semester at UC Berkeley, he signed up for the student-taught Israeli Dance DeCal class, and by the next semester, he was one of the instructors. Soon, he was guest teaching, DJing, and subbing at local classes. In 2012, he opened his own session called Nirkoda (Hebrew for Let’s Dance), one Saturday per month at Stanford Hillel. The class soon outgrew its venue and moved to Etz Chayim in Palo Alto. In late 2020, he partnered with Latishya Steele to start a class at a weekly cadence — first, at the outdoor Nirkoda Ba’Gan during the pandemic, which then moved back indoors as Nirkoda Le’Chayim, which continues to this day. He also directs a full weekend dance camp called Nirkoda Ba’Kerem. The inaugural event was planned in 2017, but the venue tragically burned down in the Sonoma fires three weeks beforehand. The camp was revived in 2019 at a new venue, and will celebrate its fifth occurrence on September 12-15, 2024.

As COVID-19 hit, Aaron adapted by moving his dance efforts online. He regularly led a segment at the Chicago Virtual Israeli Dance session, helped organize the Global 24-Hour Marathon, and co-founded the weekly Zoom-Cali session with Orly Star. He also participated in virtual Stockton in 2020 and 2021, teaching dances and soundly defeating Ahmet Luleci in a series of cooking battles. (Note: Ahmet does not necessarily agree with Aaron’s assessment of the outcome.) Most importantly, his cat Steve became an internet sensation and beloved household name.

Aaron began teaching Israeli dances for the international dance community at local events, such as Lucy Chang’s Moveable Feet party and the Federation Officers’ Ball. In 2018, he was invited to join the Stockton Folk Dance Camp faculty. Subsequently, he taught at the final Mendocino Folklore Camp in 2019, Laguna Festival in 2020, and Mainewoods in 2022 and 2023.

Aaron is thrilled to be joining all of his friends, new and old, at Stockton 2024, and to share the dance and culture of Israel.

Ahmet Lüleci 💖 Dances of Turkey

A native of Turkey, Ahmet is an accomplished choreographer, dance teacher and performer as well as a researcher of Anatolian culture. He is currently the artistic director of the Boston based Collage Dance Ensemble, which allows him to further his goal of making folk dance and music accessible to a wider audience.

He is the winner of Crash Art’s ” Dance Straight Up! 2004 and 2006″, ” Ten’s the limit 2005″ and Boston Dance Umbrella’s ” Boston Moves 2001″ awards for choreography. His choreography set for Budlet dance company won the Gold medal at “Hong Kong open Dance Competition 2004”. He was also recently presented with the 2002 Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts & Humanities by ATAA (the Assembly of Turkish American Associations. His company Collage has won the fifth place at the world dance competition in year 2003.

Since arriving in North America in 1985, he has taught many workshops and camps throughout the United States as well as Canada, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Holland, England, Switzerland, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Norway, Italy, Spain and Australia. He has set innumerable suites of dances for the stage working with dance organizations around the world.

Some of the notable performing ensembles with whom he has worked include AMAN of Los Angeles, BYU dancers of Provo, BUDLET of Hong Kong, LES SORTILEGES of Montreal, and VINOK of Edmonton. In his native Turkey, he choreographed for HOYTUR and TURHOY of Ankara, ANADOLU UNIVERSITESI of Eskisehir. In 1991 Ahmet joined the Artistic Staff of AMAN as resident choreographer.

From 1974 to 1985, he taught in several excellent ensembles in Ankara, Istanbul, Eskisehir and Bursa. For nearly five years prior to his departure for north America in 1985, Ahmet also served as Director of Dances for HOY-TUR, long considered Turkey’s leading folkdance association. Since the age of eight he has danced with numerous school ensembles and private associations, many of which won outstanding awards in city-wide and National-International competitions. Between 1973 and 2003 he participated in International dance festivals and competitions throughout western and eastern Europe. In edition, he and his ensembles appeared in more than 60 programs broadcast nationally in countries such as Turkey, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, Brazil and Germany.

His college major was music, specializing in voice. Just as his love of folksongs guided him toward academic study of music, Ahmet’s fascination with dance led him to conduct scholarly research into the historical, social and cultural background of the costumes and spoon dances from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. His efforts resulted in an exhaustive, 400 page study for which he was awarded First Place in the 1985 national competition in research on the folkdances of Turkey by the Turkish ministry of Youth, Sports, and Education. In 1997 Ahmet completed a second degree in Fine Arts.

He is an adjudicator at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod held yearly in Wales.

He is currently the Artistic Director of Collage Dance Ensemble and served as an International Art Director of “Outside the Box” International Arts Festival in 2015 in Boston.

Kau’i Tuia 💖 Dances of Polynesia

Aloha! Hawai’ian in ancestry but raised in Orem, Utah, Kau’i Tuia has performed Polynesian dance from a very young age. Her parents felt it important to carry on their legacy by making sure their children would never forget the importance of their heritage and history through dance. Polynesian dance has taken Kau’i all over the Western United States and Hawai’i. While in Hawai’i, she both performed and taught dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center. She has been teaching students of different skill levels a variety of Polynesian island dance forms at Brigham Young University since 1999. Her classes are always full.


Liina Teose 💖 Dances of Estonia

Liina was born in Portland, Oregon. At two years of age, she made her debut as a folk dancer in “Tulehoidjad” (“Torch Bearers”), the Portland Estonian folk dance troupe led by her mother. Her mother was born in Estonia and fled in 1944 when the Soviet Union occupied Estonia; she learned Estonian folk dances in the displaced persons camps in Germany, where she lived for five years before emigrating to the US.

In 1985, Liina took over leading “Tulehoidjad” and has been its director for the past 38 years. Some members of “Tulehoidjad” are 4th generation of the original dancers who danced when the troupe was founded in 1950. As such, the troupe is truly bearing the torch of Estonian dance, culture and traditions.

Liina and “Tulehoidjad” have performed at all of the West Coast Estonian Days, many world-wide ESTO festivals, mass folk dance performances in Estonia, as well as countless local and regional festivals.

Liina has been a guest artist at many multicultural programs in Portland, teaching Estonian dances to participants. At Estonian celebrations, she leads Estonian social dances and simple folk dances.

In 1995, Liina became an honorary member of ETR, the “Folk Dance Troupe of Estonian Folk Dance Directors”.

In 1999, in Tallinn (Estonia) City Hall, she was awarded the Ullo Toomi Award for her work bringing folk dance troupes from Estonia to Portland, showcasing Estonia and Estonian folk dance in the Portland Rose Festival, as well as organizing Estonian folk dance troupes in the West to dance in the
1999 mass dance festival in Estonia. This award is given by the Estonian Folk Dance and Folk Music Association each year to the most outstanding Estonian folk dance director of the year. Liina is the only folk dance director living and teaching outside of Estonia to receive this award.

In 2012, Liina was awarded the Estonian Foreign Minister’s Certificate of Recognition for her long-term commitment to promoting Estonian culture as well as teaching and introducing Estonian folk dance in the USA.

In 2016, Liina, together with her mother, was awarded the 2016 Outstanding Achievement Award by the Estonian American National Council in recognition for her work in promoting and preserving Estonian folk dance and music. Through folk dancing and music, Liina and her mother have been instrumental in keeping Estonian culture alive in the United States and have played a major role in introducing Estonia to Portland, and other West Coast cities in the US and Canada, and to other locations outside of Estonia.

Robert McOwen 💖 Dances of Scotland

Robert began Scottish country and highland dancing in California in 1973 and moved to the Boston Area in 1979. He has performed highland dancing with many groups and in many venues (including a tour of Scotland with the Strathspey and Reel Society of New Hampshire in 1996), and has directed concerts with featured performers such as Jean Redpath and Alasdair Fraser. Between 1999 and 2006 Robert danced with Jen Schoonover in Bonnie Rideout’s national touring show, A Scottish Christmas. His tartan is Dress Ancient Campbell of Argylle.

Robert resides in Arlington, MA, with his spouse Barbara, an accomplished fiddler; see their joint website, When he’s not performing with HDB, Robert can be found at Northeastern University, where he is a faculty member in the Mathematics Department.

Željko Jergan 💖 Dances of Croatia

Since his twelve year career as a leading performer with the Croatian National Folk Ensemble, LADO, Željko Jergan has catapulted through the folklore and dance community as a driving force. He has restored details and authenticity to traditional dances, and developed new choreographies from regions of Croatia that had hardly been touched. There have been over 500 original choreographies to his credit, which have been set for nearly 100 performing ensembles. He has collaborated with some of the foremost composers and musicians in the Croatian folklore world.

His popularity in the recreational folk dance community has extended to several countries, including the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan & Taiwan. His attention to style and detail keeps him in high demand. In addition to this, he has single-handedly raised the artistic and presentation level for children’s adult amateur, semi-, and professional ensembles throughout these same countries.

Across Canada, he has made a significant contribution to the Croatian folklore community, where he has researched and produced many original choreographies, which are ultimately presented at Croatian Folklore Festivals. In addition, he serves as Artistic Director for several ensembles throughout the country.

In the States, he has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur folk ensembles from coast to coast. He has also developed children’s groups, providing these students with the soundest of foundations to move to higher levels; such as the collegiate TAMBURITZANS of Duquesne University, KUMOVI of Pittsburgh and Folklore Ensemble LJELJO, also of Pittsburgh.

Željko has been recognized many times for his on-going work. He has also received fellowship grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Željko also was bestowed the prestigious honor to serve as the Guest Conductor for the 2009 CFU Junior Tamburitza Festival in Chicago, Illinois. He continually strives to elevate the level of authenticity and presentation for all the ensembles with which he is affiliated, while continually showcasing the Croatian and other cultures at its highest possible level.