On November 12-14 the Nashville International Folk Dancers will hold their 27th Autumn Leaves Dance weekend.

This year's dance leader is Sani Rifati. Sani is a Rom from Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. He began dancing at a young age in his neighborhood (mahala) in Pristina, learning from uncles, neighbors, and especially his mother, Djevria. He learned many of the dances in various neighborhoods throughout the former Yugoslavia. In his late teens, Sani performed with Kheljen Roma, a traveling folkloric dance troupe. He spent summers with his cousin, Esma Redzhepova (the Queen of Romani Music), in Sutka, Macedonia, where he learned traditional Balkan Romani dances. In Florence, Italy, where he lived for four years, he choreographed and performed for a Romani group. Since coming to the US, Sani has been a colorful member of the Balkan music and dance world, as well as founder and president of the prominent cultural and human rights group "Voice of Roma". Besides organizing festivals of Romani culture and tours of Romani performers, he has taught numerous dance workshops throughout the United States, integrating information about his cultural traditions and the current plight of his people from the former Yugoslavia. Sani's Dance workshops and performances have been offered in the, New York, Portland (Maine), Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Thousand Oaks, Portland (Oregon), Seattle, and in Canada. Many of these performances and workshops were part of the Romani Routes Concert Tours involving high caliber Romani artists from Balkan countries, such as Esma Redzepova (known as the "Queen of Romani Music") and her ensemble (2004); Ivo Papasov (2005); Kal, the young energetic Romani band from Serbia (2006 and planned for fall 2008); and Yuri Yunakov and his Romani Wedding Band, including Rumen Sali Shopov (2007).

NIFD is delighted to host Sani for his first Nashville Dance Workshop. Sani will be teaching Roma/Gypsy dances at Autumn Leaves. Please note that he believes in transmitting the dances without the aid of dance notes, so for this year's workshop, we will not furnish printed notes but we will make videos available for review (for an extra fee), and will get them out promptly.

Cost: Registration for all sessions and dance party: $100 ($90 if paid before Oct.22)

Pre-registration (includes 2 breakfasts & 1 lunch)

Individual Sessions are prorated as follows:

Session I, $18; Session II, lIl, and IV, $28; Dance Party, $10

To keep prices low, we will ask each participant to sign a release to avoid purchasing insurance.

(A video DVD will be made of the review for purchase)

For those wanting further information, please contact Butch Durst or telephone 615-298-2483 ( to activate voice mail, let ring 10 times.) You can also find information on their website.