Workshop Program

NOTE: This page describes a typical program for our annual in-person workshop each July. The program for 2024 may differ slightly.

For information on our online programs including the Open Hearth Winter Workshop, please see the web page for that specific program.

All activities take place at Folklore Village, located in a peaceful, rural setting about seven miles east of Dodgeville, WI and about a 35-minute drive west of Madison, WI. The beautiful, air-conditioned main hall includes a spacious sprung wooden dance floor and separate classrooms for fiddle instruction.

General schedule

Instruction begins at 1 p.m. on Thursday afternoon and ends with lunch on Sunday after a morning review session. Part-timers are welcome. See the registration form for options.

Hardingfele: The HFAA welcomes hardingfele students at all skill levels, from complete beginner to serious amateur to the professional player. No prior experience playing hardingfele is required. We offer four concurrent classes--one Beginner level, two Intermediate level, and one Advanced level, with special Beginner Mentoring available on request to those who have never played a bowed stringed instrument before. Here is a more detailed description of our classes:

Sample Schedule (subject to change)


12:00 - 1:00 - Registration

1:00 - 5:00 - Dance and hardingfele classes

6:00 - 7:30 - Dinner

7:30 on - Dance party


8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast and registration

9:00 - 9:30 - Orientation

9:30 - 12:30 - Dance and hardingfele classes

12:30 - 1:15 - Lunch

2:00 - 5:00 - Dance and hardingfele classes

6:00 - 7:00 - Dinner

7:15 - 8:15 - Talent Showcase concert

8:30 on - Dance party


8:00 - 9:00 - Breakfast and registration

9:00 - 12:30 - Dance and hardingfele classes

12:30 - 1:15 - Lunch

1:15 - 2:15 - HFAA Annual Business Meeting and election of officers

2:15- 5:30 -  Dance and hardingfele classes

6:30 - 8:00 - Banquet

8:00 - 9:30 - Gala Staff Concert

9:30 on - Dance party


9:00 - 10:00 - Breakfast

10:00 - 12:00 - Review of dance and hardingfele classes

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch

1:00 - 2:00 - Pack, farewells

We encourage you to study these class descriptions to help you find the class that is best for you. However, if at any time you feel your selected class does not meet your needs, you are welcome to switch to any other class. 

All hardingfele classes are taught in the traditional manner by ear; students are allowed and encouraged to use audio recording equipment in the classes. Upon registration, students are given access to download mp3 files of all tunes to be taught for study in advance of the workshop. In addition, we provide written transcriptions of all tunes to be taught, to be used for reference after learning the tune by ear. These will be available at no cost as a downloadable pdf file beginning on the Monday before the workshop starts. It will also be possible to download the file on wifi-equipped devices via the wifi network at Folklore Village during the workshop. Students who wish to receive a paper copy  of the transcriptions at the workshop must request one on the registration form by the deadline specified on the form; a fee applies.

Students without a hardingfele are welcome to attend; just sign up for our Workshop Hardingfele Loan Program

Four to five hours of instruction are provided each day on Friday and Saturday, and 3 hours each day on Thursday and Sunday. Additionally 2 to 4 hours during the weekend are devoted to lecture/demonstrations and group playing practice.

Dance: The HFAA does not set any gender limitations or experience prerequisites for our dance classes; all are welcome. Instruction is tailored to both beginning and experienced dancers. Morning classes focus on the featured dance tradition. In the afternoon, instruction in the featured tradition continues, and we may also offer lectures on other hardingfele-related dance traditions, question-and-answer sessions, and an opportunity to view and discuss Norwegian dance videos. Dancing in classes and at parties is to live hardingfele music.

NEW! Music in Motion: Norwegian Dance Basics: Two one-hour classes in popular Norwegian dances such as vals and reinlender may be offered. These classes are suitable both for anyone with no prior dance experience and for experienced dancers who want to polish their skills. These classes will provide students with more exposure to the dances that are commonly done during our evening parties, and allow anyone, both fiddlers and dancers, to join in.

NEW! Hardanger Fiddle Construction: We occasionally offer a four-day course in the basics of hardingfele construction. Detailed information will be available on the registration form.

Note to all students: Dance and hardingfele classes are taught concurrently. If a student wishes to take full-day classes in both, we recommend signing up for hardingfele on Friday and dance on Saturday. Saturday-only enrollees should be aware that classes on Saturday build partially on the work done on Friday. Beginner mentoring on hardingfele is offered on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning only.

And more . . .

Singing and jam sessions: In some years our workshop may include two one-hour classes in kveding (Norwegian traditional singing) (check the registration form). There may also occasionally be impromptu jam sessions on munnharpe (jaw harp) or seljefløyte (willow flute). 

Dance parties each evening feature a variety of fiddlers, including faculty members and the student lagspel (group playing) ensemble. Fiddlers perform music for dances from different regions of Norway, which offers attendees a chance to practice dances taught at previous HFAA workshops as well as the dance(s) being currently taught.

Talent Showcase: Our Talent Showcase, held on Friday night, is an opportunity for workshop participants to display their talents, regardless of musical or dance genre. Performance slots are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at check-in on Thursday.

Festive Saturday evening includes a traditional Norwegian dinner (many choose to wear bunad—traditional dress), a parade of all fiddlers, and a concert featuring our workshop staff. The general public may purchase tickets for the concert at the door. Those not already participating in the workshop who wish to attend the dinner must make reservations in advance using the workshop registration form.