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Israel 2010: A Whirlwind of Israeli DanceRick Rosen 14.4.10 
A highlight of our trip this year to Israel included the opportunity to dance at several venues. Arriving on Friday February 19th, we were able to get to the beach the next day and enjoy the first few hours of dancing on the blacktop behind the Renaissance Hotel in Tel Aviv, aka “Hatayelet.” It was a bright and beautiful day with a large crowd strolling, playing volleyball and paddle ball. What a great way to begin our vacation! Monday evening we went to Batya Kronenberg’s session at Country Club Migdalay Tel-Aviv in Nachalat Yitzhak. My wife had discovered Batya’s group a few years ago when she and four friends came to Israel on an IDF tour - that’s the Israeli Dance Fanatics. The group came and danced in 7 different places in 9 days! My wife, Jani, thought I would enjoy Batya’s session, too. Upon arrival, we were surprised to get a 1 shekel discount for coming as a couple. Batya was visiting her son in NY that week, but her protégé led the session with easy to follow instruction, despite our limited knowledge of Hebrew. Sivuv, regel yamina, we followed the movements pretending to understand the words. The instruction for beginners began at 7:30 and was a good warm-up; the room rapidly filled with more experienced dancers as the evening progressed. The gym facility was quite nice, well lit and with a seating area of grandstands for those who preferred to watch. What was especially nice for us was the intermediate instruction that began about 8:30. We were able to enjoy some of the circle and couple dances and the couple dance instruction, too. We left at 10:30 PM, as our arranged taxi driver was there to take us back to Yafo.

The entry from my travel diary for Thursday, February 25 reads: Tonight was a special treat as Harry and his dance partner, Vered, picked us up in Yafo in the driving rain to transport us to a session in Ra’anana. They kindly covered our admission, and we entered a gym where there seemed to be more than 200 couples dancing, something I had never before experienced. I stepped back and my wife was immediately asked to dance; she danced all three partner sets during the evening, a very unexpected and pleasant surprise for her. This was totally opposite to what we had expected. “If you do not bring a partner you won’t get a partner.” Or so they say. Jani is sure the rain had something to do with the fact there were more gentlemen without partners that evening. Whatever the case, she was not complaining. They played many couple dances which were familiar, but I never realized how many dances my wife knew. As somewhat of an advanced beginner, I managed to participate in more than a dozen of the circle dances, and enjoyed watching everyone the rest of the time. The Thursday Ra’anana session is usually run by Yom-Tov Ochayon, but this evening there was a substitute Markid, Roni Siman-Tov. He announced our visit from Philadelphia and as requested, played some of our favorite dances. The program was flawless; had we not been told, we would never have known of the change. We were warmly greeted with logo T-shirts and caps by members of the Irgun HaRokdim. There was coffee and tea available all evening, and a special treat of trays of hamantaschen in honor of Purim. The facility was superb with a very large dance floor and grandstands and a powerful, multi-speaker, well balanced sound system. For an added treat, there was a special appearance by Tuvia Tischler, one of Israel’s well-known choreographers; they played several dances he had choreographed. We don’t go anywhere without my wife recognizing someone she has met before; sure enough, she recognized Riki, who had danced with us in Philadelphia just this past year while on sabbatical there.
During a break, we were able to chat with Adi about dance sessions in Israel and the US, and to describe our experiences with dance camps in America. The evening flew by and soon it was 1 AM; yet the dance floor was filled until the very end. Luckily for us, the rain had cleared, and the drive back to Yafo was much more pleasant. We had a marvelous evening and were grateful for the wonderful reception. The hour was the latest we had been awake in years but well worth every minute.


The following Saturday we taxied to the Country Club in Holon to visit and dance with our friends Dani and his wife Ofra. We had been there last year, enjoyed the afternoon session, and looked forward to dancing there again. They started with several familiar circle dances, and found that we could easily follow those that were new to us. After 90 minutes, there were a few line dances, which was followed by a 30 minute partner set which Jani and I enjoyed as a couple. This Holon dance session has a rotating set of markidim; that afternoon, the Markid, Yigal Triki, played a half dozen partner dances we knew and requested. Several dancers had come in Purim costume, a delightful added touch. The Markid, too, seemed to be straight out of the Russian Army with his uniform costume. One dancer, dressed as an angel, managed to keep her halo and wings on straight the entire time. The room at the Country Club facility is part of a larger complex that includes indoor and outdoor pools and a café. You need to be a member of the club, or a guest of a member to enter. Thanks Dani.
Our plane back to Philadelphia was scheduled for 5 AM on Tuesday morning which gave us one more evening to dance. We happily returned to Batya’s session to find her back from New York and leading an energized session. We learned a new circle and couple dance and thoroughly enjoyed the evening from 7:30-10:30. No sleep that night, as we took a 2 AM taxi for our early morning flight. On our way to the airport, we began to plan where we would dance on our next visit to Israel.
Anyone have any new suggestions?

לכתבה זו נרשמו 2 תגובותלהסתרת התגובותלהוספת תגובה

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0.(*יצחק) 
 Sorry for the loss of your Mom
 Hi Rick
Sorry for what you have to go through now with the loss of your dear mother, you should not know "tzaar" pain or sorrow any more
thanks for your opening, spreading or broadening the issue and I must admit you have done a great job in covering the different aspects which are an important issue for me and my colleagues at the rokdim association
I hope they will all take the time to read your words' reflect on them and comment
as for the generations I believe it is true, at least we sound from same generations, however I may be older than you. let's just mention that we are both a product of the
fifties, would you agree to this?
Meantime good bye and be well
Yizthak

0.(*Rick in Philadelphia) 
 Dance Diversity
 Yitzhak—thank you for the kind memories of your early dance encounters. It seems as if we are generationally linked. In your post you asked my thoughts about new dances introduced weekly to the neglect of the older ones. It has taken me a while to reflect on that issue as we recently dealt with the passing of my mother and shiva. Uniquely, as we looked back on her life, I looked back on mine. We took time to share old memories as we pored over old photographs, noting how hairstyles and clothing styles changed. Music and popular dances changed, too.

You might even recall that we had a program when I was a child called “The Ted Mack Amateur Hour” in which young and old talented folks competed for votes and possible performance contracts and a future in show business. Today we have many programs reminiscent of that in versions of “American Idol” and “Britain’s Got Talent.” We are watching “Dancing with the Stars” a show where the contestants have to prepare a dance, a waltz or a tango; the steps performed are reminiscent of the classical movements and require energy and precision for their audience and judge pleasing action. Although the idea is the same, that there is competition for recognition, the comparisons of the music, beat and accompanying choreography is dramatically different and updated.

All this is a prelude to my comments that the world is constantly changing and each generation wants to claim a style for its own. There are those of us who enjoy clinging to the past, and then there are those who are involved in making the future. There are always new generations of song writers, music makers and choreographers. Each wants to add their contribution to the state of the art. There are annual awards for the best dance, as there are in almost all fields from the Nobel Prize to the Academy Awards.

In my opinion, there is a time and place for everything, and whether dance groups start off with basic beginner dances, and whether or not they progress to intermediate, couples and advanced, to teaching new and remembering old, there is room for all interests. One of the groups I dance with here in Philadelphia has participants from ages 8 to 80. The young ones love the new hip-hop type as well as line dances, while the dancers with years of experience enjoy the retro dances. No-one faults the other for sitting out a few minutes, or trying something which they have never encountered before. The dance instructor/leader is responsible for knowing their audience and keeping everyone as involved as possible in order to have a successful session and, at the same time, having people eagerly returning for the next week’s session. There are also “specialty sessions” with a focus on older dances, geared to the advanced dancer, unknown to the younger crowd, or couples dancing and so on.

Dance is a universal activity with so many options. We have the opportunity to incorporate old themes, create new movements, and incorporate Irish, Spanish, Greek and other music and styles into our repertoire. I hope that we can all appreciate the variety of opportunities we have and the great diversity that we are able to share, recognizing the contributions of every participant toward the group goal of having a fulfilling activity together.

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