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Rajeckas to launch second season of dance parties


KENT—Paul Rajeckas was born to move. A performer, educator and choreographer with more than 30 years experience in physical theater and storytelling, he simply loves to dance. So much so, that if no opportunity presents itself, he creates his own.

Summer weather is on the horizon and so are dance parties on Maple Street at the home of Paul Rajeckas and Julianne Dow. Photo contributed

Rajeckas, who moved to Kent three years ago with his wife, holistic healer Julianne Dow, is inviting townspeople to dance parties held at his Maple Street house. This is the second year that the lively one-hour sessions have been held there.

“It’s a great way to meet people,” he said. 

Last year he issued invitations to join his “club,” and 77 people responded. About 15 persons attended each of last year’s dances. “I would love to have more of our Kent neighbors join in the fun,” he said, adding that no previous dance experience is necessary. 

He explained that while the dances are “folk dances”—similar those enjoyed with such gusto at the Robert Burns Dinner in January and the Shamrock Shindig in March—participants should not expect only English country dances. It is true that 45 on Main’s Scottish proprietor Gary Kidd has agreed to be the caller for this year’s first dance, tentatively scheduled for June, but other dances will be drawn from countries as diverse as Sweden, Turkey and Lithuania.

Actor, teacher and choreographer Paul Rajeckas is planning to start his dance parties again this summer. Photo contributed

The dance parties focus on movement, with no alcoholic beverages or food served.  They last only an hour because by then, most participants are beginning to tire. But Rajeckas promises that none of the dances will be any more physically demanding than the reels danced at the Burns night. He would like to have dances every three weeks.

“The hardest part is finding a caller,” he said. Last year he found one in Newtown and hired an accordionist to provide the accompanying music. Last year’s dances were free, with Rajeckas paying for caller and musician. This year, because of the expense, he might ask guests to make donations toward the cost of the entertainment.

For the time being, he anticipates continuing in the dance parties in his back yard, but if enough people decide to join in the fun, they will be moved to larger quarters—perhaps the community house.

Rajeckas has plenty of experience in teaching movement and performance. As an educator, he was selected, in both 2008 and 2011, as a Doris Duke Foundation Creative Campus Innovation Artist for the Telling Tales Project at SUNY Oswego. He also teaches a graduate course in Physical Theater for the City University of New York School of Education.

He has collaborated with renowned artists such as Jonathan Wolken, co-founder of Pilobolus Dance Theater, and Neil Intraub of TheatreMoves. Rajackas co-authored “Notes to the Motherland” with George Chieffet, a play that went on to an Off-Broadway premiere in July 2004 and was nominated for a Fringe First Award at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Rajeckas was nominated as best actor at the 2004 Festival by STAGE Magazine.

Those interested in joining in the dance parties can contact Rajeckas at his Facebook page.…/1p7JqwMUX5tGngIYBG1…/view…
Kathryn Boughton
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