We came to Skokie for a family Bat Mitzvah weekend, but arrived a day early so we could dance Thursday evening with the local group and the visiting crowd who were arriving from all over the world. Many dancers had flown into O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on their way to Chagigah, the three day dance camp held at Camp Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, about a 2 hour drive from here. We revisited with Colin, who had come from London to run the sound systems at camp.
Dancing was held at Temple Judea Mitzpah, a facility with a large open area with a tiled floor. The admission is usually $8 per person, with a discount for students. However, that night the charge was $10 for a special event with choreographers from Israel. The beginners’ group, led by Penny Brichta, started at 7:30PM. The dozen folks involved early expanded to 20 by the time the larger crowd arrived. By 8:30, the dance hall was filled, and at the peak it appeared that there were over 60 couples and almost 150 folks participating overall. The circle was rather close and crowded until the more experienced dancers made an inner circle. There was a wide range of dance abilities, and a great opportunity for all to participate and learn. The dancers were quite spirited and enthusiastic with the newly taught dances, and in anticipation of the upcoming camp weekend.
Phil Moss ran the sound system very effectively. He had a large chalk-board to list requests and it was filled by the time the evening ended. After Phil taught the first number, Schmulik Gov Ari, Ofer Alfasi and Sagi Azran took turns teaching, and I added three new circle dances and one couples dance to my repertoire. It was very useful for those of us who needed the additional visual assistance to follow and learn to have all the instructors in the inner circle moving in sync. There was a good mix of circle, couples and even a few line dances. After three hours of dance we said our farewells, and look forward to returning on other occasions to have fun with this exuberant and welcoming group.