BATON ROUGE INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS
Well the year is winding down and what a fast one it was for 2001! Seems like just yesterday we were bringing in the new century/millennium. Some do say that 2001 was the first year of the millennium but I will chose not to enter into that debate. At least the weather has been A-1 beautiful and the air has been full of the wonderful smell of sweet olives. Also the fish have been biting on the coast and in the ponds.
We had another great turnout for the Labor Day fish fry this year. Near 30 or so fish hungry soles turned up at Bruce and Anita's to celebrate the beginning of the BRIFD "fall semester" and end of the long fun summer. The potluck dishes were also top notch as usual and the grilled fish were especially delicious when based in Ann Lynn's tasty almandine sauce.
In addition to getting ourselves acclimated to Friday night dancing, it was also time for Karpaty dancers to start practicing for the annual performance at the Hungarian Harvest Dance Celebration on October 6. This year we had the added excitement of getting to see and dance for everyone's favorite Hungarian, Andor Czompo. We have been trying to get Andor down for the Harvest Dances for several years and this year thanks to Vonnie Brown's persuasive effort, we finally got Andor! So to make the whole event just right, we performed a suite of Andor's choreographies for him and the appreciative audience. And to add a little cream, we also performed three of Andor's favorite recreational Hungarian dances, Somogy Karikazo, Gencsi Verbunk and Kevi Csardas. Kevi, of course, is one of Andor's favorite couple dances since it comes from his hometown back in Hungary. He even got up and danced it with one of our favorite Louisiana Hungarians, Sue Martin's mother, Helen. It was truly a magical moment for all of us to dance Kevi with Andor. It was also made special because we were accompanied by several couples of Louisiana Hungarians in their traditional harvest dance costumes. Providing live Hungarian music for the Celebration was the folk band, Eletfa, led by Kalman Magyar's daughter, Ildiko. We also were glad to see many of our folk dance friends up from New Orleans who returned again this year.
The Sunday following the Hungarian Celebration, Jim and Idabelle Burke, Dugan Sabins and Susan Webre attended this year's Roberts Cove Germanfest. After last years disappointing Pontchatoula Oktoberfest, we had agreed that the Roberts Cove Oktoberfest was the only "real thing" left in Louisiana. And this year's festival did not disappoint us. There were two bands playing traditional Oktoberfest musical fare led by the internationally known, Alpenfest Band from Houston. We were impressed with the orderly way the festival was run. There were traditional foods, crafts, cultural sessions, local singers and dancers and a German Heritage Museum. I was even able to pick up a Roberts Cove pin for my hat at a very reasonable price and made in Austria no less!
The festival is so organized that they even have an email address and a website at http://members.aol.com/germanfest. Next year's Germanfest is already set for October 5-6, 2002 so mark your calendar.
BRIFD Oktoberfest celebrations continued with the traditional St. James Place Oktoberfest performance on October 17. We were disappointed last year in that after many years we were not able to give a performance at their Oktoberfest celebration so it was especially gratifying to have seven couples dancing this year! Our dance card included old favorites like St.Gilgen, Das Fenster, Marklander, and Zillertaler as well as a Schuhplattler for the men, Kreuz Koenig and Spinradel for the trios. We even added one of Vonnie's new dances, Hintereden Landler. We danced in their brand new activity center and were treated to a complete Oktoberfest dinner after the performance. We had so much fun we are already looking forward to next year.
We did get a report from Idabelle Burke that the Pontchatoula Oktoberfest brought back the Stratton Mountain Boys at the last minute this year and she reported that it was almost like old times. Well, maybe we will check it out again next year after all. Our Oktoberfest celebrations for 2001 officially ended with the traditional BRIFD Oktoberfest/Halloween Party on October 26. As always there were folks in dirndls and lederhosen and other assorted ware. George Lezu came through with his always sought after strawberry liqueurs to liven the party spirits and there was much food and other delectables. The party included the now traditional Zillertaler Wedding March as well as other Oktoberfest favorites and not so favorites. Can't wait to do it all again next year!
Vonnie Brown taught folk dances again this fall for the first part of Friday night BRIFD. She took time to review dances she had taught from previous sessions including this spring. There was such good material we all had fun committing to memory as many of her dances as we could! In addition to the fun Croatian Pokupski Svatovski Drmes, we also reviewed the Romanian Hora Ca La Caval and Das Tigele and Israeli Hora Chaderah as well as a repeat of the English dance Gathering Peascods. Of new dances, the American Latin number, Yolanda, was definitely the biggest hit!
With the Holidays and years end coming up soon, here is the Remaining BRIFD Schedule:
Friday night dancing will be held on November 16 but there will be no dancing on Friday, November 23 for Thanksgiving.
Also Vonnie's end of semester party will be Friday, November 30 so there will be no regular BRIFD dancing that night but BRIFD dancers are invited. Regular Friday night dancing will resume on Friday, December 7 and 14 but there will be no dancing on the Fridays of December 21, 28 or January 4, 2002 for the Holidays. Dancing will resume for the New Year on Friday, January 11, 2002 so plan on starting the New Year right with BRIFD!
Especially important! This year's Christmas Party will start at 6 PM Saturday, December 15 at Bruce and Anita Evans, 1674 Glenmore. All the usual traditions are back by popular demand. That means time to go forth and find that perfect gag gift for that special someone even though you don't know who it will be. We also need those special potluck dishes of veggies, finger food, entrées, desserts and drinks or whatever else you can think of that is good to eat or drink at Christmas time. We always appreciate this event as the wonderful way to end our folk dance year and prepare for the new one so be sure and include it on your holiday schedule!
And I end this last newsletter of the year on a high note by denoting the upcoming opening of the new Zorba's Greek Restaurant! Most of us were saddened by the sudden closing of Zorba's earlier this year but were heartened to hear that it might reopen in a location nearby. One of the Zorba brothers, Vasilios Economides will open the new Zorba's in the Laurel Lea Shopping Center at the corner of Staring Lane and Highland. Karpaty dancers know this location because it is just across the parking lot from 2 M's Dance Studio where we practiced for performances in years past. I saw an "Opening Soon" sign in front of the future restaurant location this week so the grand opening must be near, maybe before year's end. When the holidays are over and the New Year is settled in it might be appropriate to have a BRIFD "showing up" party for Vasilios to support the new restaurant. Let's make it a New Years Resolution.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone.