The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Pirkko Roecker, teacher of Fundamentals of Motion and Rhythm and Balkan dance.
Pirkko Paasikivi Roecker (pronounced "Wreeker"), a Finnish name meaning spirit, guts, resolve, tenacity and perseverance, was born in Finland on April 13, 1911. She studied for five years under Martha Graham, and served as the head of the dance department at the University of Oregon.
In April of 1950, Pirkko started the Eugene Folk Dancers (EFD) club all couples, all trained folk dancers. Basically, the EFD was a performing troupe, performing at many celebrations, such as, The United Nations 6th Anniversary celebration; one of the last city-wide Eugene Oregon Trail Pageants; a Jamboree benefit for the Pearl Buck School; a Festival of Nations sponsored by the YWCA; a Viennese Ball in cooperation with the University of Oregon Symphony; a party to celebrate the grand opening of two new ballrooms at the Eugene Hotel; a KVAL-TV appearance in J.C. Spotlight; and nine annual folk dance festivals of their own. In 1975, the group opened the doors to singles and the general public and introduced line and circle dances. As of 2010, the Eugene Folk Dancers had reached their 60th anniversary.
She taught folk dancing at Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa for years.
In 1987, she returned from her California home to teach for six years at the University of Oregon. For many years, she was a legend, teaching "Fundamentals of Motion and Rhythm" classes at the Stockton Folk Dance Camp in Sacramento, California.
Pirkko's husband was Dr. William A. Roecker, assistant professor of German at the University of Oregon.
Pirkko was preceded in death by her husband and died on January 21, 1997, leaving two daughters, Gretchen and Kathi.
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