Steve Kotansky has an extensive knowledge of the cultures behind the dances he teaches. Beginning in the early 1970s, Steve made many research trips to Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Hungary, Greece, and Albania. He and his wife, Susan, have taught at many major folk dance camps in the USA and Europe.
He began dancing in grade school in San Francisco and transitioned to folk dancing when two of his "girlfriends" got him to drive them there and pulled him into the dancing. Steve moved to Southern California after high school, and danced with the prestigious AMAN Folk Ensemble (aka, AMAN International Music and Dance Company) of Los Angeles. He also danced with Vince Evanchuk and his Ukrainian dance troupe, the Westwind Folk Ensemble, and the San Francisco Russian Dance Group, before becoming a dance major at UCLA, where he also studied Slavic languages. He later finished with degrees in Eastern European languages and culture from the State University of New York and Waldorf teacher education from Sunbridge College.
For seven years in the 1970s, he traveled throughout Germany. He worked with ethnic communities in Munich, teaching international folk dance, performed, and co-founded the performing group Gajda, all while taking advantage of his proximity to Balkan and Eastern European countries to pursue his interest in the study and research of their dances. He also lived in Bucovina for a while, learning local folklore. When asked about his favorite folk dancing, he replied, “Macedonian, but Albania is creeping in too."
In addition to teaching folk dance in Western Europe, Steve has organized workshops in Hungary, Macedonia, and Serbia. In the late 1970s, he returned to Hungary and studied with dance master Timár Sándor, among others. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Susan Snyder. Steve has taught at every major North American festival and camp, often with his Susy. Their work continues to be an expression of their love and passion for dance, finding time to teach dance to children K-12 in New York City area public and private schools. Steve also serves as a consultant to several Hungarian folk ensembles.