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The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Tineke and Maurits van Geel

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Muarits van Geel Tineke van Geel


Information: Tineke van Geel, teacher of Armenian dance.

Tineke specializes in the teaching and choreography of Armenian dance and conducts workshops for students at various levels, from beginner to professional. Her main focus is to break down complicated steps and movements to basic elements and slowly rebuild them into the original dance form. This skill is part of her worldwide success and is combined with a vast knowledge of Armenian dance and culture. She also discusses the history and background of each dance she teaches. She has taught folk dance workshops in Austria, Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United States. In addition to Armenian dance, Tineke has taught international and Dutch dances.

She started folk dancing in 1975. In 1977, Tineke received her degree in the Netherlands as folk dance instructor.

Since 1985, Tineke has spent much time in Armenia, regularly studying at the Pedagogic Institute and Choreographic School in Yerevan. She has danced with the village folk as well as learned alongside the performers. A part of each of her research trips to Armenia has been devoted to wrking with several amateur dance groups. She also has done extensive research on Armenian costumes. So far, two of her trips to Armenia have been sponsored by the Dutch government. Moreover, she has done research in the Armenian communities in the United States.

In January 1986, Tineke published a book (in Dutch) on Armenian history, culture, dance, and costumes.

Since 1989 Tineke has produced compact discs of dance programs on the Nevofoon label. In 1991, Tineke established Van Geel Records, concentrating on the production of Armenian folk music utilizing the Muradian Ensemble from Armenia. In that year the group's first album Hayastan – Armenian dances appeared. Tineke also took the opportunity to record folk music that was on the band's concert repertoire. This resulted in a second production with both traditional folk melodies as well as arranged folk music on the CD Muradian Ensemble Vol. 1. A number of other titles have been released.

In 1997, Tineke organized her first dance tour to the Netherlands. This formula has been repeated successfully on a two-year basis to various countries. A typical program might consist of a combination of three-hour dance classes per day and sightseeing or free time to explore. Guest teachers are well known in their fields.

On March 23, 2006, Tineke received special honors from the Ministry of Culture and Youth in Yerevan, Armenia. She was given this award by the Ministry of Culture, for her extraordinary devotion and energy in promoting Armenian dance, music, and culture.


Information: Maurits van Geel, teacher of international dance.

Maurits holds a degree in Arts and Crafts and Art History. He graduated as a folk dance teacher in 1977 and received his degree at Dance Academy level from the Ministry of Culture in 1986. He taught at folk dance clubs in Amsterdam and worked as a dance consultant for the City Council 1986-1988, initiating dance projects in schools in combination with setting up dance projects and festivals. Also in the 1980s, he specialized in the Appalachian Clogging, worked as guest teacher in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, and was invited to be a guest teacher at the Rotterdam Dance Academy.

He was employed by Het Internationaal Danstheater, a professional dance company in Amsterdam, first as choreographer and later as artistic director for 23 years (1988-2011). During his career, he produced over 47 theatre programs in the field of world dance for this company. Part of this job involved several months of dance research each year in order to prepare for these programs. His travels have included India, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Cherkassy, among many other countries. His archive consists of almost 900 DVDs, with research material from all over the world, most of it recorded by himself. He has also choreographed folk dances, among them Syrtos Kitrinou.

Since 2011, Maurits has been teaching, often with his wife Tineke. They have traveled to many European countries, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, and were guest teachers at a number of folk dance camps and workshops in North America.

In November 2017, Willem-Alexander, King of the Netherlands, appointed Maurits Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau for his extensive contribution to dance.


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