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Lithuanians In Arizona:
Dance Group "Saulė"

In 1999, through the efforts of Dalia Motiejunas and Aldona Vaitkus, a Lithuanian folk dance group called "Saulė" (or Sun in Lithuanian) was organized in Arizona. It began with veteran dancers living in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix, Tucson, and Casa Grande, but in time expanded to include a number of younger dancers. The original goal for the group's formation was to perform at the upcoming 11th Lithuanian Folk Dance Festival in Toronto on July 2, 2000. Dalia Motiejunas agreed to become the dancing instructor for the group and attended a week of intensive training at Dainava in Michigan in the summer of 1999. To practice dancing a location was found equidistant from Phoenix and Tucson - the American Legion hall in Florence, Arizona, and practice began in the fall of 1999.

When Dalia Motiejunas relocated to Florida, Aldona Vaitkus stepped up to lead the group and the home of Don and Carol Adamavich in Casa Grande became the choice location for practice.

During a period of thirteen years (2000-20012) "Saulė" performed at a number of cultural events (see the partial list below).

"Saulė" dancers in Florence, Arizona, in the spring of 2000: in the front row from the left are Siga Eidukonis, Aldona Vaitkus,Violeta Juodakis, Maryte Tallat-Kelpsa; Ruta Motiejunas, Antonija Petrulis, and Rima Reklaitis; in the back are Kestutis Eidukonis, Rimas Vaitkus, Rimtis Tallat-Kelpsa, Dalia Motiejunas, Don Adamavich, Algis Motiejunas, and Vytas Reklaitis.

Saule Arizona's "Saulė" in 2001.

(photo by Audrone Bartys)

Saule 2008

"Saulė" dancers in Los Angeles in 2008: from the left are Jim Hayes, Don Adamavich, Irena Janulis, Dr. Violeta Juodakis, Marie Shoban, Mark Shoban, Aldona Vaitkus, and Rimas Vaitkus.

Saule 2012

"Saulė" dancers in Casa Grande, Arizona, in the spring of 2012: in the front row from the left are Dr. Violeta Juodakis, Aldona Vaitkus, Gražina Karsas, Marie Shoban, and Irena Janulis; in the back are Don Adamavich, Rimas Vaitkus, Algis Karsas, Mark Shoban, and Vytas Stagniunas.

(photo by Don Adamavich)

Some events at which "Saule" performed