|WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO?!|
We're having surprisingly pleasant weather this summer here in Chicagoland;maybe whoever plans the global weather decided we deserve this after the winter we all slogged through. But, although summer doesn't officially end until the autumnal equinox on September 21, it feels as though the end is in sight: School starts here on August 25, which means my teacher friends will be back in the school building in two weeks. Arrggh!
My dancing summer was wonderful, starting with the IFD community's regional June Camp at Beloit (Wisc.) College, featuring the great teaching of Steve Kotansky. Then I spent another excellent week at the Silver Burdett/Pearson Summer Music Institute in Boone, N.C., at Appalachian State University. It's like a family reunion, back with my colleagues and seeing music teacher pals. We had fun showing them the delights of the new Interactive Music Program up on the big screen. What made it even better is that Mars came, his first time in 15 years.
A week later, we were at my spiritual home, Folklore Village in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, leading international dance sessions during the Midsommer Festival. It was another family reunion with longtime friends, plus the pleasure of meeting and dancing to the Scandinavian music of two beautiful young string players from Stockholm, Ellinor and Leonor.
Then, in July, there was the Door County Folk Festival, up in Wisconsin's air-conditioned peninsula, with many excellent workshops taught by local IFD teachers, and guest teacher, Yves Moreau from Quebec. Watching Yves instruct patterned dances is a whole master class. It was our pleasure to spend quality time with him and his dear wife, France. Also, two of our favorite musicians, the Ladies of the Lake, Maria Terres and Amy McFarland, were there to play for contras and squares, taught by one of the country's best callers, Sue Hulsether. Great weekend, thanks, Paul!
Then I got to teach some dances at a summer choral camp run by Danny Wallenberg and Gary Geiger, two outstanding directors of local children's choruses. The kids were aged 7 to 12, which could be a programming challenge, but they loved the music games I led, like "Ee Yay Yay" and, of course, everyone's favorite, "Sasha." My last summer gig is, as usual, for the Ravinia Educational Foundation workshops, "Reach, Teach, and Play," for a lucky group of K-5 Chicago Public School teachers. I always look forward to introducing enjoyable and useful world dances and music games to each new bunch every summer, and especially to reuniting with the same group of talented teaching artists.
All of the above events (June Camp, ASU Summer Institute, Folklore Village Midsommer Fest, Door County Folk Festival, Choral Camp, Ravinia workshops) happen every summer: Do join me at one or some. And don't forget the Pourparler, Nov. 13-16, back again at Folklore Village. Please contact me about any of these!
|SPRING COMES TO THE PRAIRIE|
At least, it looks like spring with all the blooms and buds. It still feels like March, though, here in Chicagoland, but all the little sticks and stems, bare and snow-covered for months, seem to know when to put out their green leaves again. We're grateful, having survived the winter of 2013-14. And the school year has only a month to go, plus snow days.
I had a great time in San Antonio in March, teaching and dancing at the National Folk Organization conference, followed by the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival--lots of nice people. Then I spent a day in Wabash, Indiana, teaching at the FAME festival, a community-wide arts-in-education event. And a dreamy weekend at Folklore Village, the folklife center near Madison, Wisconsin, doing English Country Dancing with our favorite dance ensemble, Bare Necessities, and a whole bunch of other nice people.
In between, we spent a week in Israel, staying with my husband's late mother-in-law's second husband's nephew's stepson and his wife, people we love and consider mishbochah, family. Israel is an amazing place: No matter what your background, there is history there for you. And more nice people.
Join me this summer at Boone in June again: The Silver Burdett/Pearson week of music workshops at Appalachian State University, June 16-20. Jules from the Ivory Coast will be back!
More fun in June at Folklore Village for its Midsummer Festival, June 27-29. Lots of Scandi music and dance, plus the family international dances Mars and I will lead.
Enjoy the spring, everyone!
|The leaves are turning and falling|
Another Halloween has passed, leaving us with a late, but beautiful autumn here in Chicagoland. This year, the trick-and-treaters arrived in droves, all under umbrellas. When we ran out of treats (hoping the kids didn't really know what "trick or treat" means), I remembered that nice young man from two years ago who offered us some of his candy when I apologized for having given away all of ours (see my blog below).
Such a busy year I'm having, so many wonderful people I have danced with since April in Provence (cue the song) (see blog below). Highlights include spending another great week with colleagues and teacher friends leading dances every day in the Silver Burdett/Pearson summer institute at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., (will never forget you, Jules from Ivory Coast), and also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the international folk dance group that I started in my backyard the summer of 1973, which still continues today on Monday nights in Evanston, led by a fine team.
Mars and I enjoyed the Door County, Wisconsin, Folk Festival, as we have for many years (always the week after July 4th--join us). In August, I again taught a workshop to Chicago Public Schools classroom teachers through the Ravinia Educational Foundation, then spent the last week teaching at the venerable and fun Mainewoods Folk Dance Camp in southern Maine.
In September, I led the first family dance party for the Evanston Dance Ensemble, a fabulous performing group of excellent young dancers--even some reluctant dads admitted to having fun. We are still reeling in mind, spirit, and body from the 17th annual Pourparler in mid-October in Vermont, organized locally and beautifully by Andy Davis and Peter Amidon of the New England Dancing Masters. Also in October, I have presented workshops for a lot of nice music educators at NAfME in Nashville and the Kodaly chapter in Atlanta, and still panting, am preparing for the four sessions I will be presenting in mid-November at the national American Orff-Schulwerk conference in Denver. It would be wonderful to see ya'll (this is what comes of spending time in Tennessee and Georgia) at any and all of these events.