Introduction to these Articles on Israeli Dancing - 060222

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying. ~ Oscar Wilde

In January 2005, I took over the revival of our little Israeli dancing group in Gainesville, Florida.

For many years, Dora Friedman ran a lively and intimate group of one to two dozen people, at the old Hillel. Dora was a wonderful leader, full of energy and yiddishkeit, infusing the group with rich Jewish tradition. Dora and her husband Rabbi Gerald Friedman, after enriching our community for two decades, moved on to New Jersey.

After several years, Erin and Jonathan King, enthusiastic and creative dancers from way back, and participants with Dora, revived the group for a six week session in the fall of 2004. With their young family's needs requiring attention, Erin turned the reins of the group over to me, when I returned to Gainesville in the winter of 2005.

These are articles prodded by my experiences. There are a lot of articles for such a little group of only a handful of people. We dance twice a week, for three to four hours a night, and while small, we are devoted.

Enjoy and happy dancing.

By Andrew Weitzen 2/22/2006

Just put on the music and we will follow ~ my group, when I try to teach a dance

April 28, 2007 update

There are many nice things about a small group, in a small town, like ours. While the energy of a large group can be exhilirating, the intimacy of a small group has many rewards.

One of those rewards is we can experiment. For the last two years, I have been experimenting with teaching people how to dance, rather than teaching choreography, both for circle and partner dances.

When everyone goes home, Erin and Veronica like to hang around and do partner dances. Sometimes George shows up at ten and we are gender balanced, otherwise, the ladies alternate dances.

I put on partner dances that I used to know and make up the parts I cannot remember. The three of them know about every third dance, but do them all enthusiastically anyway.

We have been experimenting with ways they can do the dances without me actually teaching the dances. Our system has been working pretty good, and now, when I try to teach a dance, either circle or partner, often I get shouted down with, "just put on the music and we will follow".

Many articles and the Workshop on Lead and Follow have grown out of these experiments.

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