William C. Burke (Billy) became introduced in Folk Dance & Music through his mother Barbara, who took him around to all of her folk dance practices and performances as a small boy. She then started a class for children when Billy was 5 years old, and started a performance group for young people, when he was 12. At the age of 15 Billy started dancing with his first adult performing group "Madelynne Greene's Folkdance Workshop in San Francisco. After that he danced with a wide variety of ethnic dance clubs in the city; a Russian community group, German, Balkan, Scottish and various others.
Billy became a professional dancer at 19 and toured the United States and Canada with as a dancer with the Don Cossack Choir. In 1970 he moved to Los Angeles and joined the AMAN International Folk Ensemble, was a choreographer, principal dancer and the founding director of the AMAN chamber ensemble (small group) that toured schools doing shows and educational in-service and residency dance workshops. Also AMAN's first recipient of the AMAN Scholarship to study ethnic dance & music over seas. On his tour he traveled to the former Yugoslavia to attended Folklore Festivals and do field research.. After several years he retired from AMAN Ensemble and started his work with young people.
Billy has taught traditional dance in LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) for 35 years. And for most of those years has directed a middle school performance group is called "TANZA" who have danced and performed at many major fold events/festivals throughout California. He has also had the opportunity to teach teachers how to introduce traditional/recreational dance into their class curriculum through the California Arts Project and The University of Phoenix. And was a contributing member of the team that wrote the LAUSD Performing Arts Standards and have had input into the current state standards, note the term "Traditional/Recreational" appears in them.
In addition: He has just finished writing "A Celebration of Diversity: Multicultural Experience Through the Art of Dance" with 36 dances, a music CD and instructional DVD, enough material to help equip a teacher to be able to introduce Traditional/Recreational dance into their classes for several years.
Cal State LA - BA in Education w/PE minor
Book web site (will be active 12/10/15): www.culturaldance.net