Liz Mellish and Nick Green are independent academics whose research is centred on dance, music, customs and ethnography of Romania, Bulgaria and surrounding areas in south eastern Europe. Our original introduction to in dancing from south eastern Europe was sparked many years ago in the UK, consequently we are also interested in the history of the genre of “Balkan” dance in UK and the dancing among the Romania and Bulgarians living in the UK.
Our research draws on a combination of our personal ethnographic research and experience as practitioners of dances from south east Europe for many years. The central focus of our ongoing research is on social dance, cultural events and choreographic practices in the Banat region of south west Romania where we currently spent much of our time. Liz’s work draws on her anthropological background looking mostly at the dancing people, whereas Nick applies a more analytical approach to analysis of dancing in order to gain an understanding of local ways of moving.
Liz holds a MA in southeast European studies and PhD in anthropology from University College London (UCL) (2014), and Nick has an MA in dance, in addition to his previous background in physics and electronic engineering (holds CPhys and CEng registration). We are both members of the International Council of Traditional Music (ICTM) and active in the study group for Ethnochoreology and study group on Music and Dance in southeastern Europe.
We both have been involved with dancing for most of our lives. Liz had a background in ballet and stage dance, whereas Nick has a background in English folk dance, Morris and music. This led us to discovering dances from southeastern Europe in the 1980s when we started to make numerous trips to southeastern Europe travelling throughout Romania and Bulgaria, and more recently Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, attending many dance workshops and undertaking ethnographical research into dance, music, costume and customs in the area.
In the early 1990s, we joined the London “Mărțișorul” Romanian group that had been established by dancers from the students’ ensemble Doina al CCS in Bucharest who remained in the United Kingdom following a tour by their dance group. Over the years we have also performed dances with “Sonce” Macedonian group, “Balaton” Hungarian group, “Sborenka” Balkan group and “Tanec” London Bulgarian ensemble, and more recently with Scoala de dans popular “Maria și Marius Ursu” in Timisoara. Also, for around twenty years Nick led the “Vupros” Balkan folk music group.
In the past we taught Bulgarian and Romanian dances for the Society for International Folk Dancing (SIFD) and Imperial School of Teachers of Dance (ISTD), provided advice regarding the restructuring of the ISTD Bulgarian syllabus in the mid-1990s, and have published booklets on Romania and Bulgaria to complement the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD) national syllabus and Society for International Folk Dance (SIFD) silver badges syllabus.
Since 1999 we have hosted the web site www.eliznik.org.uk which is an internationally recognised English language website covering Romanian, Bulgarian (and southeast European) dance, ethnography, music, and costume.
Contact: info (that @ symbol) eliznik.org.uk