Spring 2014
From the Editor

Welcome to the New Online Kef Times!

This new format for the EEFC’s newsletter is the culmination of bright ideas and diligent work from many collaborators over the last few months. We hope you will enjoy it and be inspired to contribute articles and photos for future issues. Continue Reading

Scholarship Recipients

Iroquois Springs 2013: Michelle Tsigaridas Weller (Stefni Agin Scholarship)

By Michelle Tsigaridas Weller, Spring 2014


Location: Astoria (Queens), N.Y.

Occupation: Administrative Director of Clinical Program at New York Law School; clinics provide opportunities for upper-level law students to learn about law by practicing it! Our clients typically are indigent or otherwise cannot afford legal services. The resulting educational experience for our students is priceless. I work closely with our faculty and staff to create a dynamic learning environment for our students while providing quality service to our clients.

Connection to Balkan music/dance: I recently began teaching Greek dance to small groups and in private lessons. I’m still developing my website, but you can visit to dance with me. I am a member of the Greek American Folklore Society performing group and also take classes with Traditional Movement and drop in on occasion at Folk Dance Fridays (Laura [Pannaman] and Emily [Cohen]). Last year was my first Golden Festival, which led me to camp this year, and just as you all said I would be, now I’m hooked!

Number of times at Balkan camp: First time at camp.

Experience at camp: Balkan Camp was the most wonderful string of moments I could ever imagine happening all in one week. I interacted with many wonderful people, so there are many wonderful stories that I could share, from bonding with Cabin 18 (the best cabin ever!), to killing my feet Pontic dancing in flip-flops (big mistake), to an epic Girls with Drums blender band (IzreyalaAaAa), to going cross-eyed figuring out which santouri string I was supposed to hit (there's like a million of them), to finding someone at any time of day to practice violin with on a random front porch (or tree stump). I have rewritten this paragraph so many times; how can I truly express the joy this week brought me?

Maybe it was the moment I realized I needed some time to myself. I decided to take a kayak and paddle out to the middle of the lake. I began to hum some of the songs we learned earlier in the week and then found myself belting them out. In these beautiful open surroundings, breathing in the fresh air, I took some time to reflect and meditate. I remembered how afraid I was at first to come to camp, not knowing anyone, and not knowing what this experience would bring. I realized how welcomed I felt by every camp "veteran" I met, how patient the teachers were with every wrong note I hit, how excited I could make someone else feel, just by helping them catch up and join in a dance. I laughed aloud at myself and decided to go back to all those wonderful people I was so grateful for. Thanks, EEFC, for reminding me that I feel like my truest self while I am back on the dance floor.

© 2014 – 2024 East European Folklife Center