Ethnic Dance Chicago (EDC)
Dancing As a Second Language - - Mobile: (847)-846-8139 - Skype: (773)-634-9381
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Click for an EDC Overview Document (FAQs)



What is Ethnic Dance Chicago (EDC)?

  • Ethnic Dance Chicago (EDC) is a multi-ethnic group of folks of all ages who enjoy dance and music from around the world. Our handle is "Dancing as a Second Language". Ethnic Folk Dancing is a great social mixer and a good workout of which a personal trainer would approve. Since 1987, EDC (not-for-profit) has promoted the preservation and enjoyment of the dance and music heritage of America's ethnic groups, traditional American contras and squares, contemporary line dances, social, popular and swing dances, and round dances and mixers. You don’t need partners for most of the dances!

  • Join us at our Friday dances where we offer dance lessons early in the evening, followed by an open dance party until midnight. Stick around for the party where you'll be exposed to many dances you can learn by doing. Just get in between experienced dancers and/or follow behind the line. Beware joining the end of a line as you may end up leading if the line changes direction.

  • You’ll encounter dances with strange sounding names (such as Kolo, Drmes, Csardas, Legenyes, Tsamikos, Syrtos, Halay, Debki, Kujawiak, Krakowiak, Highlife, Oro, Paidoushko, Horo, Kopanitza, Rachentza, Briul, Sirba, Hambo, Polska, Ondo, and Bourree) and with unusual time signatures (such as 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, 11/16, 12/16). You’ll also see more familiar dances such as Mazurka, Schottische, Polka, Reel, Jig and Waltz with familiar time signatures such as 2/4, 3/4, 6/8 and 4/4.

When and where does EDC meet?
  • EDC meets most Fridays throughout the year:

  • Most Fridays: Chicago Latvian Community Center, 4146 N Elston Ave in Chicago, NW Corner of Elston Ave (NW Diagonal) & Hamlin Ave (3800W).

  • Last Fridays: S.P.A.C.E. Academy Center for the Arts, 3433 W Peterson Ave (6000N), Chicago, IL 60659. S side of Peterson, just W of Kimball Ave (3400W).

  • Cancellations: On Occasion, EDC may cancel its regular dance for a group outing or for a special event. Check the Website for schedule changes ( and directions (

  • The suggested donation is $6.00 per person with discounts for full-time students and children under 12. There is no better return on investment for your entertainment dollar!
Where Can I Find EDC Online?
Why do people dance?
  • Participating in dance and music celebrations is a strong unifying factor among many ethnic groups and also within the international folk dance (IFD) community. One of the world's best-kept secrets is that folks in the IFD community find their own unity in learning and enjoying dances and music of other cultures - cultures not necessarily part of their own heritage.

  • Ethnic Dance Chicago is a safe haven where folks of all backgrounds and origins (and even some pets) are accepted. No one has to give up or change their own ethnicity to participate. Besides, as a participant you can:

  • Keep in touch with or re-establish contact with your own roots

  • Learn dances and songs from different traditions and enjoy cultural celebrations of others

  • Meet an interesting cross-section of people and make new friends

  • Challenge yourself to learn new and unusual music rhythms and dance forms

  • Introduce yourself and your friends to new challenges and new relationships

  • Indulge in healthy physical and mental exercise

  • Have fun
How do I get started?
  • If you live in the Chicago area, or if you’re just passing through Chicago, drop in, and make dancing your second language! If you’ve danced but haven’t been active for a while, there’s no better time than the present to start up again!

  • The first night you attend, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by the variety of new music and dance steps, but you’ll survive. You'll probably think that everybody there is an expert, but they aren’t. Everyone started from scratch at one time. Give yourself time to learn the language of dance, and you’ll become competent sooner than you can imagine.

  • After dancing a while, you'll recognize common elements across cultures and unique elements of specific cultures. You'll also begin to recognize dance and music styles and forms, dance names, tunes and countries and ethnicities of origin. Moreover, you'll notice that many people you once considered to be "dance experts” are just plain folks – like yourself.
What dance experience do I need?
  • None – You don’t need any dance background or experience – Just a willingness to try something different!

  • Come to the dance lessons early to learn more. Generally, easier dances are taught earlier and more challenging dances are taught later. During the open dancing, we do dances recently taught, dances requested by participants, and occasional "old chestnuts" until about midnight.

  • We accept donations in Cash, Checks and Credit Cards, but we don't accept statements like, "I don't know how to dance"!

What other activities does EDC provide?

Ethnic Dance Parties
  • Every Friday after 10:00pm is a dance party, so bring food, snacks and beverages to share! We also throw pot luck dinners and dance parties for special events so be prepared to participate! Examples:

  • New Year's Eve Party:

  • Super Bowl Party:
Group Dinners
  • On occasion, EDC organizes group dinners at local ethnic restaurants and clubs, where there is great ethnic food, and often music and entertainment and sometimes even ethnic dancing. Many ethnic people are surprised to find that folks outside of their group know something about their culture. Excursions have included dinners at Turkish, Serbian, Uzbek, Greek, Japanese, Romanian, Bulgarian and Ecuadorian restaurants.

Weekend Festivals & Workshops
  • EDC sponsors and supports (indirectly) local and regional dance workshops, parties and concerts. Occasionally, EDC cancels a Friday dance in support of other events. Check online for schedule changes.

  • Current EDC Schedule: (

  • Regional Event Calendar: (
Door County Folk Festival
  • Door County Folk Festival – save the dates – July 9-13, 2014

  • EDC sponsors the Door County Folk Festival (DCFF), one of the most fun-filled extended weekends of dance and music in the Midwest, attracting hundreds of participants from all around the U.S., Canada and other countries. DCFF offers workshops in ethnic dance, contra and square dance, and ethnic singing; late night dance parties with live and recorded music; mini-concerts; youth activities; a traditional Door County Fish Boil; a pot luck picnic dinner; and a great time in a great location – the Northern Door Peninsula towns of Baileys Harbor, Ephraim and Sister Bay, Wisconsin.
  • Examples:

  • Music, Dancing & Siging in the Park
  • Concert in Baileys Harbor

  • Website for Detailed Information:
Dance Performances / Demonstrations
Dance Instructors for Special Events
  • Looking for a dance instructor or contra/square dance caller for your school, church, community, social or corporate event? EDC instructors excel in making dancing fun and accessible to new or inexperienced dancers. Venues have included: community organizations, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, churches and religious organizations, foundations, fundraising events, fraternal organizations, associations, social clubs, weddings, birthday parties, special events, government agencies and corporate training events. EDC instructors teach many styles of ethnic dance to live or recorded music and call traditional American square and contra dances to live or recorded music. Examples:

  • Old Town School of Folk Music Global Dance Party
  • Square Dance for Valparaiso Old Time Dance Society
Dance Instructors for School Programs
  • Are you looking for a program to enhance your school’s Multi-Cultural Program, Diversity Day or International Festival? EDC instructors have many years of experience in designing and delivering multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary dance programs to primary and secondary schools (public, private, parochial) and colleges and universities. EDC offers various types of residency programs as well as in-school and after school programs. Examples:

  • Multi-Cultural Fair @ Chaney Monge School
  • International Festival @ Spring Hill Middle School

  • Website for Detailed Information:
Teacher In-Service Workshops – Teacher Continuing Education
  • EDC offers programs that provide development & enhancement of teaching skills through the medium of world dance & music; including: (1) developing best practices for the delivery of effective instruction, (2) adapting to various populations of diverse learners, (3) creating effective & collaborative learning environments, and (4) increasing multicultural awareness in local and world perspectives. EDC is authorized to offer CPDUs and CEUs by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

City-Wide Cultural Events

Click for an EDC Overview Document (FAQs)