BATON ROUGE INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS
This newsletter finds all of us at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century (2000-2009). Did you realize that? It surely was one of the fastest 10 years of our lives! Let’s hope the next decade slows down a bit so we can enjoy the folk dancing and other joys of life at a slower pace. It has been somewhat normal fall compared to last year primarily because there were no hurricanes that disrupted our fall activities this year. In fact there was only one that I know of that even entered the Gulf. However, there was still some house rebuilding going on around town if you look for it and even some blue roofs also are still visible.
Our fall folk dancing activities got off to a rousing good start even if a somewhat late one since the Labor Day Monday was on the 7th of September this year. We followed right up with the annual fish fry which was held once again at the Kenilworth home of Ed and Jo Zganjar on Sunday, September 20. A good crowd showed up and the weather cooperated and being a Sunday we had no conflict from the home LSU football game. In addition to the regular fried speckled trout and redfish, we had some fillets of bream, catfish, sheepshead and drum fish this year. And there was also some blackened redfish rendered from the larger “juicer” redfish fillets. Those were a treat. And enough words can not be said of all the other veggie dishes, salads and desserts brought to complement the fish. We really “fished” out this year!
Our regular Friday night folk dancing has continued to move up a notch or two! In addition to the good crowds, Jim Burke and Connie Holmes have added more function to our digital computerized dance and sound system. Jim has patiently digitized more and more folk dances from our voluminous and dated cassette tape dance collection and added them to our computer software for quick retrieval and Connie has been working on computerizing our list of dance names and countries to make it more folk dance friendly. Meanwhile thanks to Charlene Heaton, we have added two new dances to our repertoire. One that has stirred up our Irish passions is called Above the Rainbow is an individual dance which by the time the jig music gets heated up really does have us feeling like we are dancing above the rainbow! Her second dance is very nice Israeli line dance, David Ha Melech. Also thanks to Jim for continuing to reteach some venerable old dance favorites. I suspect that some ideas for the reteaching has come from the responses to his recent folk dance questionnaire that he passed out to Friday night dancers. If you did not get one ask him for one. Some of Jim’s recent reteaches which are truly old favorites included Vranjanka and Kostursko Oro. Also in response to a continuing request, Jim a retaught the favorite Scottish Country Dance, Posties Jig to an interest group of male and female dancers who came early on one Friday. As was expected, it took a while for newcomers to get the hang of it but toward the end it was beginning to make sense! Now we just need to keep it up on future Friday nights!
Our fall folk dancing has seen some interesting things. One is the addition of new dancers to the group that always add spice and gives everyone some smiles when the newcomers show excitement and determination when we put a dance on that they recognize or sometimes don’t but they like the music. We would like to give special recognition in this regard to Lucille LaBauve and Cheryl Leger for sticking closely with us this year! It is so natural to dance with them outside the main circle or ask them to join in the middle on an easy dance. Also we did have one unique incident on December 4! It seems that the weather people were all talking about a sudden storm system that was colliding with some cold air and we may see snow and ice in the Baton Rouge area that night. Well rightly most dancers heeded the warning but four of us showed up, Dugan, Connie, Lauren McKinsey and much to our surprise and delight, Karl Volkmar who drove over from Lafayette! We might be tempted to say “amazed” but not for Karl. He never amazes us with his participation in Friday night folk dancing but sometimes does surprise us! Anyway right on time it began to snow outside the dance studio at 9:30 PM and we all got to drive home into the big white flakes and the winter wonderland!
A group of BRIFD dancers attended a performance of Riverdance on November 2. Since the touring Irish dance troupe does not stop in Baton Rouge very often some of us did not want to miss a chance to see them. We met at the Capital City Grill for some before hand camaraderie. Participating in the event were, Bruce and Anita Evans, Rey Del Castillo, Janetta Kriel, Ralph McDonald, Dugan Sabins, Jim and Idabelle Burke and Coco Collins. We had missed having Jo and Ed Zganjar join us for dinner because they had other activities before the performance. It was especially nice to see Coco join us. We all enjoyed the lively Irish “high” step dancing, music and singing for which Riverdance is famous.
And we had another great Christmas Party this year. For a change of pace it was held at Albasha’s Greek-Lebanese Restaurant on Bluebonnet. But the change in location did not confuse anyone as over 20 dancers and their family member showed up for a fun Christmas party to end the year and get the New Year and decade off to a good start. And there was some good ethnic food also in case I need to say that. Thanks to Sam Irving for helping play Santa this year and keeping the presents moving. We also welcomed Bryan Long, grandson of Jim and Idabelle and his friends who joined us. Bryan and Sam are our adopted LSU students. The present exchange was memorable as always and the good sport award goes to David Kirshner who ended up with a toy Santa which given David’s background was not a useable present for him but we understand that a satisfactory trade was made in the end! In fact many satisfactory and unsatisfactory trades as usual were made.
And this just off the press, continuing accolades to that artful master of Christmas Lights, Ed Zganjar who for the second time in the last few years has been given the best lighting award by the Kenilworth Civic Association. You just must drive by Jo and Ed’s house on 435 Kenilworth Parkway and see what Ed has done!
And so we close the newsletter with an announcement of the good news that the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival will be continuing again next year and the 52 annual festival will occur over March 12-14 at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Since our favorite folk dance teacher Vonnie Brown has been invited to participate again, a group of BRIFD dance are already thinking of attending. We will have further information on the festival which is always a fun time at the next folk dance. And we give special thoughts and best wishes to Vonnie Brown and Dale Brown, our favorite LSU Basketball Coach, on Dale’s recent heart bypass surgery. Vonnie reports that Dale is home resting well. We wish both Vonnie and Dale the best of Christmas and the New Year.
BRIFD Friday night folk dancing will resume on January 8, 2010. We are looking forward to good things in 2010 but we can not do it without you! Also as always remember to keep up with Baton Rouge folk dancing at our website: www.brifd.homestead.com . Webmaster, Bill Leblanc continues to keep the website up and running in good order and you will find a lot of interesting things there including a calendar, archived newsletters and photos! You just might be in one. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.