Balkan Festivals Northwest Presents

Alex Marković

Alex Marković holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He spent 17 months conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Vranje, Serbia on Romani ethnic identity and musical performance. His general research interests involve music, dance, and ritual in the Balkans, ethnic identity and nationalism, the anthropology of performance, and ethnomusicology.

Alex has actively researched, performed, and taught folk dances from Serbia and Greece for the past 10 years. His specialties include Serbian music and dance traditions of southeastern Serbia and Kosovo, as well as Romani dance culture in southern Serbia, Kosovo, and Macedonia. His research in Vranje, Serbia allowed him to conduct in-depth fieldwork on dance in both the Romani and Serb communities of the area. Alex also researches and teaches a variety of Greek regional dance traditions.

He has taught dance to performing ensembles at various Serbian Orthodox churches in the Chicago-land area and northwest Indiana, as well as for Greek dance groups affiliated with the Pontian Society "Xeniteas" and the Greek Macedonian Society "Makedonia" in Chicago. Currently, Alex is co-instructor and performer with the Greek dance group "Ellas" of Chicago. He also periodically offers public dance workshops and presentations on his research in dance and anthropology.



Galia and John Kuo

Galia Miloucheva Kuo and John Kuo, co-directors of the dance ensemble Balkanske Igre in Chicago, are long-term teachers and performers of Balkan folklore, specializing in Macedonian and Bulgarian dance. Galia Miloucheva Kuo grew up immersed in the music and dance culture of her native Pirin, Bulgaria. She studied folklore, and before emigrating to the US she danced with Ensemble "Pirintsi" at the Neofit Rilski Southwestern Bulgarian University.

Both Galia and John have worked with primary sources in the villages as well as with masters of Macedonian folklore, and have been instructors for numerous folklore groups. In 1998, John led the Kitka folklore group from the Sts Peter & Paul Macedonian Orthodox Church on a performing tour of Macedonia, sponsored by Makedonska Matica. Since 2008, they have given guest lectures and workshops on Balkan music and dance for the Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES) and the Departments of Anthropology and Music at the University of Chicago. In 2010 Galia and John were invited to teach Macedonian dance workshops at Goran Alachki's Macedonian Pearl Folklore Seminar in Berovo, Macedonia.

Galia and John have been directors of the University of Chicago International Folk Festival, the International House Festival of Nations, and the Spring Festival of Eastern European Dance and Music co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for Eastern European and Russian/Eurasian Studies (CEERES), the International House at the University of Chicago, WHPK, and Balkanske Igre. John received a leadership award from the Folk Dance Council of Chicago, and in 2006 was presented the 50 Years of the United Nations medal by the Bulgarian Consul General of Chicago, the Honorable Ivan Sotirov.