Let Us Dance in Peace and Quiet
In the wake of multiple complaints about the issue of the loud volume at which music is played during folk dance sessions and its health hazards, acoustic volume became a subject for the Dancer’s Association to tackle. This year during the Karmiel Dance Festival, we led an intensive campaign to increase awareness among dancers of the health hazards high volume possesses.
Our efforts were well received. People were attentive to our explanations. They expressed support, encouragement and appreciation of our efforts on a variety of issues, but particularly for our efforts regarding this issue, which is of great concern to many of us.
We have been dealing intensively with this subject for the past three years; we have studied the matter; we have acquired measuring instruments and assessed the noise level at many dance sessions. Sadly, the results of these measurements confirm the validity of the complaints. We discovered that the decibels of the music played at dance sessions does indeed exceed the acceptable norms established by WHO, the World Health Organization.
We have approached all the pertinent government offices having jurisdiction over these types of issues, including the legal counsel to the government. We have made numerous attempts by mail, telephone, e-mail and other means. Unfortunately, at first, we were rejected. Politely and courteously, each person we addressed explained to us that they do not deal with this kind of issue and sent us to another department. We were transferred from one department to another like the proverbial “hot potato.” Nevertheless, we did not throw up our hands in despair.
We persisted till the first crack appeared at the Office for the Protection of the Environment. (It should be pointed out that their initial objection was on the grounds that they deal with environmental issues, rather than with problems occurring indoors as is the case here.) We held several meetings with the head of the department which deals with noise and radiation. We also met a variety of professionals and legal experts. With the participation of one of the department engineers, we measured the sound level at a particular session; the result was an affirmation by the department that this is indeed a potential health problem that requires serious and immediate attention.
We have in our possession the summary of the meeting with the head of the Department of Noise and Radiation which expresses a readiness to cooperate. We also have in our possession a document from the General Manager of the Office for the Protection of the Environment which recognizes the severity of the problem, as well as proposes solutions.
It is worthwhile to note that these accomplishments were the result of hard work, determination, and uncompromising persistence, all done in an effort to resolve a problem which concerns many dancers. The problem however, is not yet resolved. There is still much work to be done. Of course, we will report any new progress.
Public awareness of this issue is of the outmost importance. Therefore, we urge you to inform your friends of the potential hazard to our health playing music at high volume poses; and tell them about the efforts of the Dancer’s association to resolve the situation. In the meantime, you are reminded to take care of your health, and request your markidim lower the decibels to acceptable levels.
Best wishes from your dancing friends.
Adi Habad, Chairman of Israeli Folk Dancers Association
Translated by Peter Smolash