Kalispell International Folk Dancers


The Kalispell International Folk Dancers began Friday March 20 1998, at the Sons of Norway. Prices were $2 for adults, $1 for kids under 12, $5 for families. Organizers were Sara Hok and Chris Brewer. I found out about it by a poster in a health food store.
I wrote down the number and called it when I got home. It was Sara. We exchanged folk dance histories and said I would attend the first meeting. No one wrote down who was there the first night but it was a good turn out of about 20 people or so. All of us had learned folk dances many years past and most of us had forgotten most of everything we knew. There were many dances someone would remember one part and someone else would remember another. Between all of us, a group mind, remembered the dance! We would meet every Friday once a month and dance.

One person in particular I give credit to helping our group to become cohesive and grow was Sally. Sally was tireless in her recruitment of people to come and try it. She contacted radio stations and wrote to newspapers and sent email to those that were on the web, and for those that were not would call them up and invite them to a dance that was coming up. Sara taught the dances she remembered, I taught the dances I remembered. Two other folk dancers, Jon and Roseland taught dances too. Between the four of us we expanded our dance knowledge.

After a while, we switched to Saturday nights. At our first anniversary, Russ became a member of our group. He brought a wealth of dance knowledge and after a few months a much better sound system. He was an excellent teacher and he introduced us to the rest of the Montana folk dancers. Every year in January, at the Boulder Hot Springs, just south of Helena, a few folk dancers from Helena, Butte and Bozeman, would rent rooms and dance Saturday and Sunday. Meeting all those people really was inspiring. Many of them were excellent dancers. They helped us to remember many of the forgotten dances.

Sally found out about a folk dance group in Calgary and went to their web site and left a message that there was a group of folk dancers in Kalispell, MT.
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999
From: Sally
Subject: Invitation to Calgary Folkdancers

Hi, you guys, if you go to http://www.cadvision.com/winklerj/cff.html you should find yourselves at the Calgary's Recreational International Folkdance Club homepage. I signed the guestbook and got a personal reply that included the following: "It would be great to arrange a get together with our kalispellian neighbors to the south and would be able to offer complete billeting to all participants and we could share some dances with each other. We do this in Alberta with our Edmonton and Camrose groups. Let's see if there is a weekend where we could have a little workshop together."
So who knows? Let this roll around in your minds, it would be fun.

On another subject, I went out to see the little hall in Evergreen that I found--what a nice surprise to find--it was built in 1962 and has been in constant use for square dancing and round dancing ever since, just in some people's back yard. Even has parking. One part of the floor is a bit uneven, but we all know backs can start to get weak by 37 years old! It's really quite nice. Great Baroque concert, Sarah--you looked like you were really enjoying it. We sure did!
See you all the 27th if not before (except Ros, who said she'd be back in June--hooray!)

In November 10-12, 2000, a few of us (Roger, Jackie, Sarah, Russ) drove up to Calgary to take part in a workshop with Edwidge Munn.
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000

Well done, that was one of the most fun weekends I have had in a long time. Roger

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2000
Subject: Dance Roundup

Dear Roger,
I think I counted 22 dances we did last night. See if I'm missing any. Sorry these are not alphabetical, I just write them down as I remember them.

My list of dances has about 75-79, I think--a few very slight variations from your list. The 22 we did is just under 1/3 of the dances we know. Remember when we could do our entire repertoire through in 2 hours? We've come a long way since then.

By the way, if I'm the glue, let me carry the analogy a step further--epoxy takes 2 kinds of goop mixed together to work, and I am only a part of the team. You, Russ, and Sarah are indispensable to the working of the dance in general and to me personally!


Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000
Subject: Ridicule not appreciated
Roger, I heard the same report from someone here at work about the B-98 ad that you told me, so here is a copy of the e-mail I just sent the station manager. I have been very angry about this and hope I handled it right.

Date: Tue, 25 April
Subject: Ridicule not appreciated

To the Station Manager of B-98:
I am the publicity chairman for Folk dancing in the Flathead, and for two years now we have appreciated the free publicity we have gotten on your radio stations for our monthly dances. I learned in the last couple of days that last week (Thursday late in the afternoon, I believe) one of your DJ's must have been bored and began to ridicule our event in what I feel was a very offensive way.

Because folk dances are seldom done as couples, but rather are done in lines or circles of all the people present, it is a place that welcomes single people who love to dance, and we like to make that fact known. Your DJ took it upon himself to twist around the phrase "no partner needed" to say, in his words, "so if you feel like dancing with yourself (or by yourself)...go ahead!" with enough verbal innuendoes to make it sound lewd and offensive.

Free publicity is great, but only if it is positive publicity, not negative publicity. We provide a safe, family-friendly, smoke-free, and FUN activity for more people than you are aware of. We'd like the publicity to reflect that, and I hope you'll speak to the person who brought this embarrassment upon us.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,
Sally C.

Top Of Page


Date: Mon, 01 May 2000
Subject: Re: Summer Dance Calendar

June 17th and 18th
June 24th and 25th
July 7,8,9th
July 22nd all week till July 29th

So how about *SUNDAY* June 11, *5:00-9:00*
Saturday July 15, usual time
Saturdy August 19, usual time

Above dates are based on your schedule AND Sons of Norway schedule.
I'm on days that week, Where would you like to dance at? SON on the 13th? Outside?

Don't know yet, I don't even know what day(s) they'll be here. They're going to a graduation in Oregon the 6th and 7th and then coming here, but I don't know how long they will stick around Oregon first. I'll probably only have a day or 2 notice myself, but would expect them mid-week--9th, 10th, 11th, in there sometime. But knowing you're on days is a starting place.

You did the right thing to let B98 know what their doing isn't cool. I don't think it will change a thing tho. But they needed to hear it. Maybe the DJ might think twice next time, especially if the station manager chewed his ass.

I don't think anyone chewed anyone out whatsoever. I haven't heard back and by now I don't expect to. I have thought and thought, and I don't think there's anything different I could have said. I think what we have is a case where we don't have a leg to stand on, since the advertising is free, and they just aren't our kind of people, period. My thinking at this time is to not advertise on that station (or the other 3 that are owned by the same people), since really our recruits are coming because of word of mouth, not from radio ads. I just don't need the risk of offensive advertising, so I'm done with them.
What I will do on the positive side, however, is write notes of appreciation to all the stations and newspapers that have been helpful to us. After all, we've had 24 consecutive months of good advertising from them, all for free--that's certainly worth a 33 cent stamp.

Let me know soon about the proposed dates.
P.S. Russ said his chicken-coop-turned shop, soon to be potentially a dance hall is 8' ceiling and has an open side for daylight so you should not have to worry about claustrophobia or about hitting your head on a good Haroa Haktana leap!
See ya,


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000
From: Sally
Subject: Chicken house Dance Hall

Roger and Sarah,
Russ reports that the floor is in at the new Chicken house Dance Hall and that it will soon be ready to inaugurate. We've found two great pictures: one of a dancing hen and one of Foghorn the Leghorn; Sarah and I plan to use the school's opaque projector to enlarge them so we can make an appropriate sign. :) When the time comes, we'll have to remember to do Orijent and Floricica for sure, since one has the "front barnyard step" and the other has a "back barnyard step."
Enjoy the holiday!


And After

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000
From: Sally
Subject: Impromptu dance/work party at Russ' Chicken House and Dance Hall

dancing in the chicken coop

Hello all,
This Saturday, June 3, from 5:00 on, there will be a small folk dance combined with a work party and food at Russ Conn's place, 1800 Conn Road, Columbia Falls. Russ has been rebuilding an outbuilding for the purpose of holding small-group folk dances such as beginner sessions, advanced sessions, waltz lessons, hambo lessons, and the like, rent-free and without the need for scheduling. The building used to be a chicken coop many years ago, but has more recently been a shop and a storage building, so any signs of chicken use are long since gone. Russ has installed a wood floor. The building still needs to be painted, and may need some other work. So the plan is to dance for a couple of hours first, then paint (so we don't have to smell the paint while we're dancing)--and of course, eat all the time :) if you bring food. Wear or bring clothes that you can get dirty or paint-y.
Come if you can!

Dancing only once a month just wasn't enough, but we couldn't afford to dance more. The original deal at the Sons of Norway allowed us to dance there at a very reduced rate. By November 2000 we were paying one hundred and twenty-five dollars per night.

Subject: Folk dance Calendar

Dear Roger, Sarah, Jackie, and Jon

Here's the calendar I have set with the Sons of Norway. It can still be changed. So far all are set for 7:00-10:00 and they are all Saturdays. Please look these over and make sure these dates suit all of you. I'm including a couple of other dates that I know of that involve some of us.

Jan 27
Feb 17
March 31
April 28
May 19

Glacier Orchestra and/or Chorale Concerts:
Jan 13/14
March 24/25 (this one features music and dance from eastern Europe)
May 5/6

St. Patrick's Day is March 17
Memorial Day weekend is May 26/27/28
I don't know when Spring Break is.

Steam and Stomp at Boulder Hot Springs is January 20/21.

Let me know if you have any problems with any of these dates.


Sally's sense of humor:

funny award

Sally moved to Oklahoma Jan 4, 2001. She left a big hole in our group, but she had by example showed how to keep our group together and communicate via email and phone calls. She is sorely missed.

Subject: New place to dance
Hi Everyone!

We moved to a new location October 2001, the Salvation Army Gym. The place was MUCH more affordable, so much so we could dance every week. By the way for those who have yet to attend our dances, it is unlike most gyms you have ever seen. The sound quality of the room is excellent due to the extensive use of fabric in the room. It's a full basketball court in size but where the bleachers would go is, on one side, a raised stage with its curtain. Opposite is a large carpeted room, (the chapel) that can be and usually is partitioned off with a curtain. (Before The Salvation Army bought the building it used to be a Mormon Church.) The ceiling is high as gyms are, but running around the ceiling are fabric panels, again adding to the great acoustics. The ceiling is not flat but a rounded peak. One of the nicest places I personally have ever danced and at 2 dollars per person, you can't beat it. Also, we teach or review all the dances, some places don't. Depending on who shows up, the dances begin easy, toward the end become more challenging, always we strive to help you to learn the dances. We will intersperse an easy dance with a more aerobic one.

Just a note to let you know that we will be dancing every Saturday at the Salvation Army Gym. I know everyone has conflicts in scheduling and I hope this will allow those of you that can't always make it to have more options. If we get a different group each time, that's ok as we can relax a little and spend more time on things that we didn't have time for before.

Once in a while we may have to relinquish the gym for a wedding or other large group, so I will let people know if there is a change. Again, the address is 110 Bountiful dr.. Turn in behind the hospital and drive by the emergency room., turn right at the helipad and go by the NW. Professional building. Turn left onto Bountiful (It looks like part of the parking lot), and the church is on the end. The right hand doors will be unlocked.

We want to thank Joe and Don for all the pictures they have contributed. Sally and a few others have made some suggestions and pointed out typos and spelling errors. Most desperately appreciated was well taken criticisms of the HTML code by web expert Cris. Thank you all!

Any KIFD folk dancers out there want to write a word or two? Just email me your ideas, short notes, essay or masterpiece to me, and I'll do all the work to turn it into HTML.

May 10th 2005, Our mighty sound system. Joe sold us his laptop at a very affordable price. Thanks Joe! Now, no more using our 5 min cassette tapes, or searching for a dance on a cassette, and no more CDs and CD players!! :-)

November 3rd 2008, The Kalispell Folk Dancers web page was integrated into Cris's Web site Montanafolkdance.org, after being absent from the web for over nine months. That was the time between when I graduated FVCC with an AAS degree in Communication Technology, and June 2007, but the college IT department kept it on their servers until January 2008

June 20th 2011, sometime within this week, unfortunately our web site was accidentally deleted from the host server. The only full back up of this site I had was September 11, 2010. For the most part every thing is as it was except for dance reports from 09-11-2010 to 05-21-2011; they are gone. Over time I recovered those too, and on Labor Day 9-5-11 got everything back to normal! I will back up our site every month now!! ;-)

June 16h 2013. After seven years a whole new web site, all PHP now and better use of CSS. I Have made a separate page for the geeky stuff, hope you find it interesting. Roger

November 10th 2013, so far I have gone back through the previous years and converting the dance reports that display as simple text pages to the dance report displayed in the Content section of the web page. I have finished back to 2005 - and that will have to do for the time being.

November 2014, replaced Joe's XP laptop, with a Win7, Dell Latitude E5500, Core duo cpu p 8700 @ 2.53 Ghz, with 3.028 GB RAM, and 75 GB HDD -Which I upgraded to 500GB.

May 4th 2019, another upgrade for the Folk Dance Laptop. Moved to a Dell Latitude E6500, with 4GB RAM, and a Samsung Evo 1TB SSD, still running Win7 64bit. We do not have this laptop on the internet. More Specs: Processor Support Intel® Core™ 2 Duo, Intel® 45 Express Chipset, RAM Size up to 8GB, RAM Type is 800Mhz DDR2, available RAM Slots: 2. Dimensions (W x D x H) 35.8cm x 25.7cm x 3.3cm, Weight 2.3kg