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John Skow

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John Skow


Information: John Skow, teacher of international dance.

John Skow began square, round, and folk dancing during his school days in Santa Paula, California. After his discharge from the Navy in 1948, he began folk dancing at the Recreation Department in Salinas, California. A short while later, he moved to central Oregon to attend school and soon became a part of the folk dance scene there. It was in Eugene that John first started calling square dances and shortly was voted into the Cascade Callers Association. It was also from Eugene that John made his first trip to Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California, where he acquired his real interest in Balkan dance. In 1951, John began teaching folk dance in the Recreation Department in Eugene, Oregon.

The summer of 1953 brought a move for John to San Francisco to be nearer a hot bed of folk dance on the west coast. Affiliation with the Festival Workshop, the Dance Guild, and Chang's International Folk Dancers came soon after this move. John also undertook a mini teaching tour of the United States in 1953.

In 1954, he took up teaching Balkan dance in San Francisco, Cupertino, and Oakland. John opened "John Skow's Studio," and ran it for a while. The classes there were taught by Johnny Pappas. There were many people who taught at the taverna. For example, Ruth Browns taught Israeli dancing and Bora Özkök taught Turkish dancing.

In early 1957, John formed his own exhibition group, Ansambl Norodnih Igraca Sokoli. This group of over twenty young people performed all over the state of California and received an invitation to dance at the National Folk Dance Festival in Oklahoma City. In addition to performing for folk dance activities, Sokoli performed regularly for Yugoslavian immigrants' programs. Sokoli was particularly interested in keeping alive the folklore of Yugoslavia and the members of the group were all active in the research necessary for their performances.

Also in 1957, he was the driver for Vyts Beliajus on Vyts' annual teaching tour. During this tour John had the opportunity to teach in many camps and most of the major cities of the east coast. In 1958 and 1959, John went on teaching tours of his own along with his wife, Joan. In keeping with his teaching interests, John was a very active member of the Folk Dance Federation of California and its Teachers' Institute Committee.

Moving to southern California, John opened his own record shops, John Skow Records and Lyric Sales, Inc. In 1963, he again made a teaching tour of the United States.

John received his Associate degree from the San Francisco State College and an Elementary School Credential.

On April 22, 1967, John married Ilona Zelle. John can be found hanging out in Seattle, Washington.

Dances John taught include Ajde Jano, Arap, Belo Lence, Čačak (long), Dajčovo Horo, Ekizliisko Horo, Eleno Mome, Gankino Horo, Halay, Karsi Bar, Kasapsko Horo, Katuše Mome, Kiša Pada, Kosovsko Lesno Oro, Kozačko Kolo, Lesnoto Oro, Lesnoto Oro (Vlak), Moja Diridika, Narodno Horo, Oj Rastiču, Pajduško Horo, Plevensko Pajduško Horo, Pok Šotiš, Pravo Horo, Pravo Trajkisko Horo, Ravno Oro, Šetnja, Skudrinka, Slavjanka, Slavonsko Kolo, Trajisko Horo, Trojanac, Za Pojas, and Zaroura.

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