Žaibas (pronounced Zhy′ bus) is the Lithuanian word for lightning bolt. We chose that name because it brings to mind the nature of both Lithuania and Wisconsin.
Žaibas Lithuanian Dancers perform at folk fairs, school programs, dance festivals and other cultural events. As a Madison Vilnius Sister Cities' project, Žaibas works to share, preserve, and promote Lithuanian heritage.
Žaibas was founded in 1991, in Madison, Wisconsin, by Vida Kazlauskaite Stark. Our purpose was to preserve Lithuanian culture, particularly folk dance, within the small Lithuanian community in South Central Wisconsin, and to make that culture known to the residents of Madison, the Sister City of Vilnius. Žaibas premiered at the Madison International Folk Festival, and has continued to dance annually at that event and other ethnic fairs and festivals throughout the Madison area. Together with other Lithuanian dance groups, Žaibas has participated in Lithuanian dance festivals in Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Argentina, and was chosen to represent Wisconsin at a cultural festival in its Sister State of Chiba, Japan .
For over 13 years, Asta Sepetys was the guiding spirit of our dance group. When she retired, Nijole Semenaite Etzwiler became the director and teacher. In 2009, a children's group named Zaibutis, "Little Lightning", was formed, with most of the dancers coming from Baraboo, WI. They perform with the adult dancers at every Madison International Folk Festival. In 2010, two of the little girls were featured on the Festival's posters, brochures and webpage.
Funded by Madison-Vilnius Sister Cities, and loyally supported by Madison's small Lithuanian community, Žaibas participates in all of MVSC activities, such as the Vasario 16 Lithuanian Independence Day Commemorations, picnics, and Christmas parties. In addition to its annual performance at Madison's International Festival,
Žaibas appears at other ethnic and cultural fairs, staffs information tables, and gives demonstrations, talks and slide shows to organizations and schools.
Our ensemble consists of people who love Lithuanian culture. Some were born in Lithuania, some are of Lithuanian descent, some have married Lithuanians. And some have joined because they simply enjoy Lithuanian dancing.
Membership is open to anyone who can dance. Practice is held on Sundays, on Madison’s East Side.
In almost 20 years of dancing, Žaibas has performed the following dances: Abruselis, Astuonnytis, Audejele, Blezdingele, Cigonelis, Deg Ugne, Dzuku Polka, Geguzine Polka, Gyvataras, Iskilmingas Trejinis, Kalatinis, Kalvelis, Karklai, Kepurine, Klaipedieciu Apvalcios, Klumpakojis, Kubilas, Landytinis, Lenciugelis, Malunas, Mikitiene, Musu Proteviu Žeme, Olinderis, Pasiutpolke, Per Giria Girele, Prades Ausrele Austi, Putinelis, Rolenderis, Ruguciai, Rusnietis, Sliazio Polka, Subatele, Suk Suk Rateli, Suktinis, Siunte Mane Motinele, Telsiu Valsas, Vakaruskos, and Varkijietis.
We are always willing to share our culture and traditions with others. If you are interested in having members of our ensemble perform or speak for your function, please call Nijole at 608-356-6549, or email firstname.lastname@example.org