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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Morley Leyton and Monique Legaré

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Morley Leyton and Monique Legaré


Information: Morley Leyton and Monique Legaré, teachers of Polish dance.

Morley Leyton's interest in folk dancing started while he was attending the City College of New York. He became an avid square dancer, then moved on to folk dancing, then to ballet. From 1955 to 1960, Morley studied professionally in New York at several schools, including the Juliard School of Music and the Ballet School of the Metropolitan Opera. He then enlisted in the Armed Forces.

While stationed in Kaiserlautern, Germany, he danced with a German Schuhplattler group. After his discharge, he danced professionally for several years until his career was cut short by a knee injury he sustained while performing in summer stock. As a result, he decided to pursue graduate studies in Biostatistics, receiving his Master of Sciences degree from Columbia University and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Johns Hopkins Univesity.

He taught Biostatistics and folk dancing at the University of Washington and travelled the length of the Pacific Coast teaching and performing with dance clubs. When the opportunity arose to travel to Poland, he took his wife, who was pregnant with their second child, and their son Geral, and left for Poland to teach Biostatistics. There he attended a week-long festival in the mountains with mountain folk dancers from seven countries – Norway, Austria, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland. He met the dancers of the famous national song and dance company Mazowsze and learned many Polish dances.

In addition to the dances and folk costumes, some of which weigh over 20 pounds, which the Leytons brought back from Poland, they also brought their new son Jacek (named after their good friend and leader of the dance group in Poznan), who was born in April, 1970.

In 1971, Dr. Leyton founded and directed the Janosik Polish Dancers, at Temple University. The group has 40 singers/dancers and its own orchestra. Janosik travelled to Poland in 1972 and 1974, and returned with authentic music and costumes from the regions of Rzeszow, Wielkpolska, Podhale (mountaineers), Lublin, Opoczno, Zwyice Crokal, and Cicszyn.

Morley Leyton taught folk dancing classes at Temple's College of Education in Philadelplhia, Pennsylvania, and full-time at H.H. Lehman College, CUNY, Department of DHPER (Dance), in New York City, New York.

Monique Legaré is an internationally known teacher of folk dance and a native of Montréal, Canada. She trained and performed with les Grands Ballets Canadiens de MontrĂ©al Ballet Company and studied dance in Canada, USA, Poland, and Puerto Rico.

Monique graduated from the Choreography School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and did extensive research on folk dance in Hungary.

She has taught on the North American continent, Poland, and Ukraine, and is an authority on French Canadian clogging.

A remarkably versatile dancer and teacher, she directs the Monique Legaré International Dance Company and the Professional Dance Academy of Montgomery County.

With late husband, Dr. Morley Leyton, she won first place at the 2003 and 2004 state of Pennsylvania's polka dance championships.

Morley passed away May 21, 2007, after a dance performance.

Dances Morley and Monique taught include Baiły Mazur, Brigand's Dance, Cieszyniok, Good Old Days, Hajduk, Happy Wally Oberek, Hej! Na Moście, Horehronsky Čardáš, Jacok, Jawornicki, Koło Nasza Mastołki, Krakowiak, Krakowiak od Tomaszowie, Krzyżak, Kujawiak, Kujawiak Niebieski, Kujawiak Weselny od Osiecina, Lipka, Mach, Mazur, Mazurka Szarona, Oberek, Oberek Opoczynski, Od Włocławek Kujawiak, Orzidej Szamotuly, Polish Polka, Polka Dzwon, Polka Gacok, Polka Kocana, Polka od Przeworska, Polka Pryez Nogę, Polka Suwana, Polka Tramblanka, Polka Uginana, Polka z Kropka, Polonaise, Przodek Szamotuły, Siano Grabała, Skoczny Oberek, Szpacyrpolka, Swir Swir Oberek, Swir Swir Mazur, Szpacyrpolka, Sztajerek, W' Dolinie, Walc Lubelski, Wesoly Wacuś Oberek, and Wielki Ojciec.

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