No matter where we are in the world, we never miss a chance to dance at a completely different Israeli dance session.
My wife has visited sessions in Orlando, Chicago, and Baltimore. This year alone, we danced in Houston, led dancing in Midland, Texas, and went to 3 different harkadot in Israel.
So I was not surprised when long before we planned our summer vacation, Jani was corresponding with Colin about the Israeli dance availability in London. And, things worked out perfectly.
We started our trip on a Sunday in Amsterdam, and finished two weeks later on a Monday in London, thus allowing us to have a fine time dancing in Southgate before we had to fly back home.
We stayed at a hotel in Borehamwood, making it easy for Colin to drive us to the dancing in Southgate; a church with a fabulous wooden floor, emptied of all religious trappings, serves as a community activity center. |
The beginner session started at 7:30PM in a smaller room downstairs, while Zumba finished up on the main floor. In 45 minutes we had instruction of 3 fairly simple beginner dances and also danced several others that had been taught or reviewed before at that session.
There were eight of us there, just enough to make an intimate circle, and not too many to crowd the smaller room, perfect for the beginner dancer. Francene and Betty helped to lead the beginners’ session as well as to transition them to the intermediate group upstairs.
By 8:30PM the Zumba crowd had cleared out and Colin’s larger, professional sound system, complete with a touch screen for music selection and wireless remote microphone, was set up in the main room.
A circle of men and women, younger and older, experienced and less practiced were up and moving to familiar music. The crowd continued to grow until there were about 40 dancers at any one time, although it seemed like 50 participants had come and gone throughout the evening.
The sign-in table had a list of the regulars where one could just check off a name and pay the L5 fee. (We were guests for the evening, thank you, Colin.) There were some light refreshments, along with tea or water to keep you hydrated.
Colin explained some of the history of this particular dance session and instructors as we rode with him. There is dancing available somewhere in London most every weekday evening.
He explained his involvement over the past 20+ years and his efforts to involve more youth in Israeli dance. His wife and his children were at the session actively participating by either helping set up, clean up or just enjoying watching or dancing themselves.
The programming was terrific. Colin’s dance selections reflected the crowd; the dances growing progressively more difficult at the evening wore on. He played a mix of both new and not-so-new circles, with line dances interspersed between.
There was energetic instruction of new dances, review, and general dancing that lasted until 10:30PM. There was no couples dance set at this session as women outnumbered the men.
Something different and fun: a ten minute “warm-down” was conducted by another member of the group, keeping all body parts mobile and flexible at the end of the evening.
The friendliness of the group was impressive. Throughout the evening we were greeted and welcomed by many of the dancers.
Once all the sound equipment was packed and the lights turned out and doors locked, eight of us went across to a sweets shop and enjoyed some ice-cream and conversation. Many in the group have had frequent travel to Israel, to visit family and to dance whenever possible.
Of course, England is closer to Israel than the US, hence shorter and less expensive flights. Lucky for them! Colin noticed that I was wearing my amateur radio club jacket,
and we found that we shared a second hobby - interest in VHF and microwave communication. All good things come to an end. As one of the dancers drove us back to the hotel after a thoroughly enjoyable evening, I made a mental note to tell everyone: if it’s Monday,
it must be Southgate.