It is approximately 180 miles from Kerhonkson New York to Voorhhes, something like a three and a half hour drive. We felt bad about assigning the pictures and writeup of this event, the Cherry Hill field trip to Lionsgate on Nov 4th, 2012, to the same individual who supplied our Hilulim 2012 coverage, but this is what happens when you are working with a small staff. We are told that our courageous reporter, who requests anonymity, left the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa at about 10Am, missed the turnoff from the Garden State parkway to the New Jersey Turnpike and had to find his way through Sandy ravaged Edison, NJ. In spite of this he did arrive at the Lionsgate Senior Care center about 2:00PM. Here he found Sarah (one of the dancers you will see below) who had arrived early as she forgot that the world had returned to standard time. Both, through persevereance and good luck, were able to find the other Cherry Hill dancers. All who arrived that day were under the leadership of Naomi who also leads the Tuesday night Cherry Hill session. It was now about 2:50 with the performance expected to begin at 3:00. Here's where our coverage begins.

As we were to find out, there were several reasons that the Cherry Hill field trip was at this location, which is a location that the group has previously performed. The main reason was to entertain the residents with a performance of Israeli dance. Included in this was the opportunity for the residents to join the dancing after the official performance was over. But, there was another reason! This was announced about two thirds of the way through the entire performance and we'll keep the surprise: you'll just have to read this script to see what else was in store.

So, without further ado, we present to you the following three events:

As mentioned, our photographer arrived late and the room that hosted the performance was already being filled. In this montage dd you can see the residents who arrived early for the performance and the group of Israeli dancers waiting for the perfromance to begin. Most of the dancers are regulars at Naomi's Tuesday night session and under normal conditions they would have had several weeks of practice of this routine, especially the little subtle changes that Naomi puts into several of the dances. In this case, scheduling and nature worked against them as the practice of the week before was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and Temple Beth Sholom, where the Tuesday night class meets, had been open intermittently in the previous few weeks due to the Jewish holidays. Nevertheless, the dancers are confident that they can perform to Naomi's specifications but she has advised them to sit out those dances that they are not familiar with.
For this event, the artists Alison and Andrew have accompanied the group. They have produced the program you see at the top of this montage. They extend their contribution to the coming dance exhibition by giving out the program to the residents before the performance begins. Several of these photos show the two artists as they distribute their work and other photos show the residents studying the handout.
At the appointed time, Naomi takes the stage. She has done this introduction many times through the years and just like all previous times everyone, residents and dancers, hang on every word. She explains to the audience that this is a group of Israeli dancers and being an Israeli dancer means that you love to dance. The group has assembled to provide entertainment to the audience. She discusses the first dance, and what has become the norm over the years to start with, Od LO Ahavti Dai and explains, and to some degree translates, its lyrics to her audience. The audience is not aware that she has imposed several changes to the normal flow of the dance that she hopes will draw the audience into the performance. With her intro complete, we'll see if and how the audience reacts to the dancers, the music and the changes.
These pictures show the dancers as they do Od Lo Ahavti Dai. This dance is an Israeli dance staple, generally played in easier and beginning Israeli dance classes. The components of Israeli dance, and by this we mean the steps, are for the most part present in this dance. It generally has three repititions of its steps and each time the dancers move around the circle before a movement into the center by all the dancers. As you can see on the bottom line of pictures, Naomi has altered the choreography and for rendition 2 and 3, the dancers face outside of the circle. At the right moment they move further out toward the audience. We don't see it here, but some of the dancers, including Iris who is very prominent in the left bottom photograph, high-five members of the audience.
How does the audience react to this? The pictures that were submitted did not concentrate on the audience reaction to this dance but there were some pictures from the afternoon which we can use. This montage shows elements of the dancers and the audience as they watch. You can see that the attention level is pretty good. And, as we understand, this level of attention was the norm for the entire performance.
This is, of course, not the first Cherry Hill field trip that we have covered. This web site's index page has a section devoted to these perfromances. Generally 10 to 12 dances, perfromed by 12 to 16 dancers, are part of the performance. The highlight for this web site is when Naomi includes the audience in arm movements telling them that the dancers' performances depend on the help of the audience. Several dances with exaggerated arm movements are therefore included in the repertoire and two of these are the dances S'ana and Turkish Kiss. This montage catches the preparation of the audience for Turkish kiss. The dancers, under Naomi's instructions, position themselves among the audience to demonstrate the arm movements. We should mention, as we've mentioned in previous scripts, that Israeli dance music comes from around the world. The music for this dance is indeed Turkish (originally designated as Neshikat Turkit) sung by Tarkan Tevetoglu, born in Germany but raised in Turkey. Tevetoglu, generally known as Tarkan throughout Europe and the mid east, in a media sensation with plenty of mostly female fans which makes the title of the song very appropriate.

In the Israeli dance world, steps are choreographed to existing music such as this. The steps to this dance are the creation of the choreographer, Meir Shem Tov, in 1997. It includes various hand movements followed by a big kiss. These are the movements that the dancers, led by Naomi, demonstrate in front of the audience.
The audience reacts to this prompting. The entire room mimics the movements of the dancers. Getting older individuals to move limbs to a specific pattern generally gets high marks from the administrators of these complexes as this abets motor functions and delays such problems. From what we can see from these pictures, motor problems are not an issue for this audience.
Now that everyone has been prompted, Naomi can turn on the music. Turkish Kiss is a line dance so we see the dancers create what seems like a 4 by 4 checkerboard on the floor. Line dances are designated as walls - 1 to 4 - depending how many 90 degree (in general) turns the dancers make during a piece of music. Turkish Kiss is one wall under this designation so the residents see the one dimension of this dance as the camera sees it as the camera is held steady to one side. If the camera was facing the front of Naomi's line, the dance would look somewhat different with the dancers moving into and out of range. Whatever the view, the audience seems to be enjoying this dance. How did they do on the assignment that Naomi gave them in moving their arms with the dancers?
ddd this montage attempts to answer the previous question. We have taken several shots of the audience participation during this dance. See the arm movements! Most seem to be doing what Naomi has taught them. Besides good for motor skills, it does show that the audience was enjoying, and even better, "into" the music.
And speaking of what may be good for residents, statistics indicate that men are very outnumbered as residents of these facilities. Human demographics are at play here. And, the interests of men and woman are very different at this and any age. From an administrator standpoint, how do you provide entertainmant of interest to both sexes in these types of locations? In these pictures we have been able to isolate four male residents who came to the dance presentation. Did they seem interested? The pictures dd seem to indicate that they were. At least they were looking in the right directions. And there may have been many reasons for their interest. Perhaps they were dancers when they were younger and remember how much fun this can be. And, of course, from a male perspective, watching attractive and rather athletic women dancing together is always quite appealing.

This web site has been informed that there is high demand for the Cherry Hill field trip dance recitals and this ability to interest both male and female members of the audience probably helps fuel the demand.
By this point the presentation is semi-officially over. However, two surprises remain. To explain one of the surprises, one needs to know the origins of the Cherry Hill field trips. As this web site has been informed, many years ago a get together featuring Israeli dance was staged one late summer day. Two of the participants brought their mother, resident in a similar location to Lion's Gate, just to accompany them on an afternoon outing. The mother was so impressed with the informal dancing that she saw, that she booked the group for an appearance at Brendenwood where she resided. Now you know the origins of the Cherry Hill field trips. That woman Hildi (pictured top left), mother of Deena and Debbie who are two regulars at the Tuesday night Israeli dance session, was in the audience this Sunday afternoon. Naomi knows a big secret which we see her springing on the audience: this was Hildi's 90th birthday. ddd we show a montage of pictures celebrating this event as family and balloons surround the unsuspecting Hildi. This web site would also like to join in extending a happy 90th birthday to Hildi.
And finally, the last surprise. The residents are about to experience their own Israeli dance lesson. Naomi has reserved two dances which she is about to teach to those willing to learn. The montage dd shows Naomi and the residents as they are taught the first dance, Nigun Atik. Notice how the experienced dancers have interleaved themselves within the circle.
And this montage shows the dancing as the music is playing. This dance is one of the easiest Israeli dances and is a good selection to introduce novices as we have here to this genre of dancing.
One more dance is to be taught. This is Tzadik Katamar which also is an easier Israeli dance although it does have many of the elements that makes this genre of dancing so interesting. This montage combines pictures of the dancing and the last picture shows one interested observer.
All good things come to an end. This montage shows the gathering of various groups as the dance recital ends. Surprises have been sprung. Residents have learned some new dances. Administrators are happy to have filled a Sunday Afternoon with great entertainment. And what about our reporter on this? He reports to have been happy to have resolved his second event of the day and was looking forward to his salsa lessons later that afternoon and the Sunday night dancing at Don's. Although the words "never again" were spoken, no doubt he'll be there for the next time.
There is always one more task that has to be done. The group photo! We show two of these here. We think one person is missing and that would be Darcy and this website apologizes for this oversite. As you have seen, everyone worked hard to bring this entertainment to the residents of Lion's Gate. And, given that the residents seemed to enjoy it, it was worth all the time and any trouble. Another norm of these events is dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. We have no photos of this so with this montage we end our coverage of the Cherry Hill field trip to Lion's Gate, 2012