BATON ROUGE INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS
Another year in the new millennium is well underway. And I guess you can say that BRIFD has gotten off on a good foot- dancing foot that is! After coming back from the holidays on January 11, we have danced every Friday night save two for the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, and Good Friday. However, some people missed one Friday night when suddenly the fish started biting. Party night Fridays, however, were never missed! The last Friday in February served as our annual Mardi Gras/Valentine's Party night. Some of us were fortunate enough to celebrate their birthdays on Mardi Gras this year, which was February 12. That would be Abraham L., Charles D. and others lesser known! But alas we may have to wait for another 25 years before it happens again so sorry if you missed it.
Speaking of the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival, the Karpaty dancers began rehearsals sharply on January 6 and never looked back. The festival, which was the 43rd, was on March 1-3 this year and featured Serbian dances by Miroslav Marcetic, Mexican dances by Huemantzin Lopez and Romanian dances by Theodore Vasilescu. Once again Karpaty performed a choreography from a country that was being highlighted at the festival, Romanian (Dances from Muntenia). Theodore Vasilescu who was assisted by his wife at the festival was most complementary of our Romanian choreography that was originally developed by Alexandru David and kept alive and adapted by our own Vonnie Brown. The Vasilescus even posed for a picture with us in our Romanian costumes. This year's festival also featured the Oplenac Serbian Ensemble from Toronto, Canada. Also featured with Karpaty for the first time this year was BRIFD dancer Katie Dickerson who added new flavor to the trip and performed well for her first time!
Vonnie Brown's end of year LSU Dance Party was held May 3 and several BRIFD dancers participated. Anita Evans wore one of her original Slovakian costumes for the event as she did last semester and was considered "best dressed" by her BRIFD fellow dancers. Other BRIFD dancers attending included Jim and Idabelle Burke, George Lezu, Susan Webre, Rey Del Castillo, Bruce Evans, Janetta Kriel, Katie Dickerson and Dugan Sabins. There was the usual large attendance by LSU students taking Vonnie's folk and ballroom classes and the usual feast of party food and drinks. On the dance card this year were several folk dance favorites that BRIFD dancers have learned from Vonnie over the years. They included Cofava, An Dro Retourne', Somogyi Karikazo, Hora Ca La Caval, Vlasko and Ally Ally. Some folk dances were so popular and simple that they were listed on the program card for "everyone". These, which were also known to BRIFD dancers who gladly joined in, included Port Said and Stenka. BRIFD dancers also participated in the traditional Grand March, Louisiana Saturday Night, and several ballroom waltzes, swing dances, foxtrots and even a tango and cha cha or two. There was also a special playing of the Bohemian National Polka that got BRIFD dancers to their feet!
On a sad note, what may have been the last Karl Volkmar Spanish Town Mardi Gras Party was held on February 2. Karl has taken a job with ULL in Lafayette and will be selling his house in Spanish Town. It was a fun Mardi Gras run while it lasted but maybe something else will come forward as an excuse to party! BRIFD dancers are very innovative when it comes to parties!
Several BRIFD dancers will be getting a head start to summer vacations this year. Jim and Idabelle Burke will be traveling to Switzerland and Slovakia and leaving in June. Their trip to Switzerland will be with the Alpenfest Band and the Slovakia trip will be with Vonnie Brown to participate in a "Folklore and Heritage Tour of Slovakia" through the new tour agency 3art s.r.o. This trip portends to be and exciting one and includes the famous Vychodna and Detva Folklore Festivals. For those of us who have been to Slovakia in the past, the trip was very tempting because the Slovaks are extraordinary hosts and always give 150% to make a very enjoyable and enriching tour. Those of us who could not make it this year will depend on the Burkes and Vonnie to bring us all back some more lasting memories of Slovakia! Other June vacations will not be as exotic and will be more local and include family reunions on the beach and other family oriented activities. Later this summer, Bruce and Anita Evans are planning a trip to France.
BRIFD will dance through May this year and May 31 will be our end of spring Friday night party. There will be no Friday night dancing in June, July or August. So we are counting on everyone turning out for the May 31 party to send off the spring right and bring on summer in real fashion! George Lezu has promised to bring his very best ripened strawberry juice and we are counting on other traditional party goodies. For the special occasion, we will be playing all the favorite dances of the spring and taking all requests until we can dance no more so be there! For those who will be around for most of the summer there will be some Cajun dancing to keep our dancing feet in tune. There will be some time to attend the Baton Rouge Cajun French Music Association's dances on Friday nights and most exciting some trips to La Poussiere Cajun Dance Hall in Breaux Bridge. They have Cajun dancing on both Saturday night (9 PM) and Sundays (4-8 PM). The Breaux Bridge trips may include dinner at Robin's Cajun Restaurant in Henderson for an added touch.
BRIFD dancing will resume on Friday, September 6 following the Labor Day weekend. And as has been our tradition for over 10 years, the annual back to dancing fish fry will be on Saturday, September 7 at Anita and Bruce's home, 1674 Glenmore. The traditional fish will be served with Bruce and Dugan providing and cooking the fish but we need all those other goodies too! In the past there have been some extraordinary salads, deserts, casseroles and other assorted good things. The tradition will live on in September so be sure and make it a part of your September calendar.
BRIFD and Karpaty dancers will also be looking forward to the annual Arpadhon Hungarian Harvest Dance on Saturday, October 5 this year. So be sure and include that on your fall calendar also along with our traditional Oktoberfest and Halloween activities. So fall is really just around the corner but in the meantime let's not forget about all those fun things we have planned for the summer. Hope everyone does have a fun one and save all those memories and bring all those souvenirs to show when you get back. We will want to hear the stories and see the souvenirs on Friday nights this fall while we dance and remember summer.