The Cherry Hill Israeli Folk Dancers

Are pleased to present their Cherry Hill Field Trip To Rieder House

The Cherry Hill Israeli Folk Dancers Request The Pleasure Of Your Company On October 24th, 2010 at 3:00PM At Rieder House In The great Northeast As We Perform several Israeli Dances For Your Pleasure The Dances Performed (click link for youtube video)
Od Lo Ahavti Dai (I Haven’t Loved Enough Yet)
Yalla (Come on, Let’s Go!)
Hine Ani (Here I am)
Tza'ana (The capital of Yemen)
Yafyufa (Prettiest)
Banu l'ha'ir et ha'ir (We Came to Light Up the City)
Yavo Shalom aka Shalom Aleynu(Peace be with us)
Meohav Ad Hashamayim
Pikchi Eynaich (Open your eyes)
Neshikat Turkit (Turkish Kiss)
Hineh Ma Tov (How Good It Is)
Ilu Tziporim (If Only Birds…)
Kol ha'koach (All the Strength)

We'll call it (for want of a better name) Let's Rock and Roll at The Rieder House

Well folks, it was October and a beautiful day for a change, given that the previous two Cherry Hill Field Trips were on days that were successively abnormally cold and then abnormally hot, and it was time for another Cherry Hill field trip. The weather was just right! This time it was located in the great Northeast of Philadelphia, a stone's throw away from the locale of the Klein JCC Sunday night Israeli dance session, at the Rieder House. The map to the left has a circle showing the approximate location of this event. The lines radiating from the circle show you the travels of the various members of the troupe. This was the second time that the dancers had crossed the river to perform in Pennsylvania. Below you can see pictures of the destination.

Rieder house is built on a complex consisting of the Klein JCC, the Tabas House and the Rieder House. Rieder and Tabas are part of the Jewish Federation housing and the residents are senior citizens with a minimum of mobility problems.Since this occurred on a Sunday afternoon, visitors of the residents also were invited to watch the performance.

Those who have viewed previous performances on this web site (not to mention those who participate) know that the Cherry Hill Israeli Folk Dancers, led by Naomi, spend a considerable amount of time practicing for this performance. Practices occur for the few weeks prior to the performance at the Cherry Hill session held at Temple Beth Sholom on Tuesdays from 7 to 10PM. The participants vote on some of the selections of music and dance that will be performed and several of the dances are picked by Naomi. In addition, Naomi primes the group for several alterations in certain dances to allow the audience the feel of participation. And, from prior events such as this, this author knows that several dances, including Sana and Turkish Kiss, will have the audience provide additional hand and vocal movements.

The disk coordinator arrived early fresh from covering the Germantown Jewish Centre Art and Craft Fair, which you can link to by clicking here. When he was let in by the residents, he was able to capture the arrival of many of the group. It was expected that between 12 and 16 performers would appear and this was right on the mark as the final tally was 16. Below are some montages of this performance.

To your left you are seeing pictures of the early arrivees who begin to congregate in a type of canteen room in this building. Clockwise, we see Malca and Ety arriving through the front door, Diane walking down a hallway, Naomi - having arrived from a different entrance- with her back to the camera confering with one of the residents, Rob with coffee in hand, Debbie as she takes off her coat, Deena and Ronnie from the back. You may not be able to discern a problem with this location but part of discussion that Naomi is having is whether another location can be secured for the dance recital. You can see the look of disappointment in Rob's face also as we have caught him at his first look at the room and the floor. In the pictures below, you will see the problem.

As you can see the flooring is part wood finish and installed rug. The lip of the rug is the problem - dancers can easily trip on this as they are performing. It really is not fair to those participating, who after all are volunteering their time and talent, to put them at risk. It is decided to abandon this site and move to another down the hall. Although these pictures show this room when it became empty, at the time equipment for sound and music had already been set up so there was a need to tear down this equipment and move it.

We are in the other room and this is the room that the Cherry Hill group will dance in. Unfortunately, as you can see in the top pictures of this montage, there is no space to do this. Naomi orders the tables to be moved back and both tables and residents are moved to the back of the room. We catch Vicki and Ronnie in one of these pictures as they are moving chairs. Unfortunately, there was an accident when one of the residents slipped but in short order she was set right and prepared for the show. Our last two pictures at the bottom pan the room showing you where the tables and now more residents) were finally positioned and showing you some extra chairs that were placed at the side. You are no doubt wondering how many residents saw the show. One of the participants in this dance performance is known for counting things while dancing: beats, iterations, how many dances are there before Rona is played, how many were in the circle - you get the idea. We asked him how many residents were there who saw the show and he said he had counted 46 as the show started with others joining as the performance was underway.

For those of you that are interested in equipment (including our counter above), these pictures show the equipment as it is being reinstalled in this second room. Notice that Ety is helping Naomi with this and part of the reason for that, besides that Ety is always helpful, is that Naomi had been experiencing problems with her receiver that she uses in class and for this performance Ety was nice enough to bring a receiver that she uses at home. Everything worked well in the end and the Rieder house would soon be filled with Israeli dance music (which, by the way, comes from all over the world).

With the tables set back giving room to dance and with equipment now ready to go, Naomi looked around for a location to do what we call 'Naomi preps her group'. We've covered this before on these web pages. It's final instructions for all the dancers. The room she was in had an exit into a back lawn and that's where she herded everyone and we tagged along to take these shots which show, at first, some chit chat among the group awaiting everyone's arrival. This was at a point when several late attendees made their entrance. Moving clockwise around, you begin to see Naomi addressing the group.

If you were running this, what would you discuss prior to this performance. Probably you would talk about each Israeli dance to be performed and try to review it for those with questions. You certainly would tell the group that anyone who doesn't know a dance should move out of the circle to the sideline and perhaps take pictures and you, the reader, now know how all these pictures at a Cherry Hill Field Trip become available to this web site. If you have primed the group to do special things to incorporate the audience into the performance, as Naomi has done with several dances, you would remind the group of this. All this Naomi does but she takes this at least one step further by starting this conversation with her mantra that urges everyone, and this is something this writer would never ever consider, to smile, smile, smile and then smile again.

Now, we're almost ready except for one thing that is apparent to her. At the last minute Naomi has added a dance that some of the group, who do not dance regularly at Cherry Hill, may not know and below we see a kind of pre-performance rendition of this dance.

A new dance to the Cherry Hill repertoire is Pikchi Eynaich choreographed in 1994 by Shmulik Gov Ari. Gov Ari has some local connections to this area having served in some type of cultural exchange capacity in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area in the middle '90s. This dance has a middle eastern rhythm and the steps are likewise. For the region, the Cherry Hill group is the only one that plays this regularly if at all.

So, it's not surprising that some of those attending are not that familiar with the dance and we see on these shots some discussion about whose going to be dancing this and then the beginning of a quick performance of it as the dancers line up in a circle to the right. if you are interested you can watch a video of this dance on Youtube by clicking here.

While the practicing is still going on out in the back, we have moved back inside into the room where the performance is just a few minutes away. These shots to the left pan the room as the residents, and their visitors, wait patiently for things to start. Notice from previous photos the room has been filling rapidly. We've given a view around the room and the final picture at the bottom gives you an audience viewpoint of the impromptu stage.

We come to the part of the program that we enjoy the most. This web site has been covering Cherry Hill field trips since 2008 but we never fail to be impressed as to Naomi's talent for capturing the attention of her audience. Whether this is a natural talent or honed by her teaching experience or whatever, the discordant senior citizens of a moment before now gaze as one at Naomi's presentation. In these pictures, the group has come inside and except for Naomi, they are to the side. Naomi now does her magic in introducing the group, discussing a bit of Israeli dancing, explaining the first dance and the meaning of the lyrics. Possibly not here, but on several of the dances she will teach the audience a set of motions that they are to do while the dance is in operation. If you've never seen this, it really is a great show and very impressive to this author who doesn't have this type of presence. With her initial speech done, Naomi asks the group to join her and with fists pumped (or so we think) she is ready to play the first selection and start the presentation.

The first dance on the program is Od Lo Ahavti Dai. This is an old favorite of Israeli dance classes and Israeli dancers. The dance generally repeats itself 3 times with the last time the second part being repeated. The dance, like many Isreali dances, moves counter clockwise in the first part and then into and out of the circle for the second part. Since the beginning of 2010, Naomi has made a change to this choreography. Consistent with her attempt to include the audience into the dancing, she has the dancers make a Uturn after the second rendition and dance, in essence, inside out. You can see this in the shots to the left. Up top, we see this added movement as the dancers make an extra turn. The bottom pictures show the dancers as they face the audience. At the end of the dance, where they normally would be going in and out of the circle, they are going in and out to the audience. Not seen here, but somewhat evident, was the hand slaps that some of the dancers exchanged with some members of the audience as they approached. The effect is to increase both audience involvement and audience enjoyment as the audience both participates and watches what the dancers are doing.

Naomi has also made a request of the group to smile, smile, smile. The pictures to the left could indicate that the dancers are following her suggestion but we think it's something else. Israeli dancers like to dance and really enjoy the music. For many of them this dancing brings a smile to their face automatically. For this performance, it will not only be the audience that is being entertained, but the dancers themselves. For those who have never partaken of this genre of dance: think in terms of a faster beat with faster and more complicated steps than international folk dance where Israeli dance has its roots and formations. The beat of the music drives the dancers and the choreographers chip in by extending the complexity of the steps. This fun, a combination of good exercise, good melodies and good companionship, is evident on the faces of our dancers. The next montage below also shows this enjoyment and delves further into this question.

What is it about dancing that is so entrancing? Well, if we could answer that we would be beyond this web site. Yet, it's an interesting question. As soon as the dancing starts, dancers are in their own world of beat, timing and music and it doesn't matter which form of dance is being done. As far as Israeli dance is concerned, like all folk dancing, since everyone is doing the same steps supposedly, the group acts as one body, each individual trying to blend with their neighbors into synchronous sets of steps. In addition, here we have the blend of uniforms that Naomi has requested. Notice everyone has black tops and blue jeans - this is the uniform of the day. For the audience it is a synchronous vision of black and blue in step. The dancers look entranced and we can report that they are enjoying themselves as Israeli dancers love to dance and this afternoon should be no exception. What about the audience? Below, we look at that.

While it was inadvertant, in some of the photos above the same part of the audience was shot and here are two of these photos. Like every other Cherry Hill Field Trip, most of the audience is "into" the dancing immediately. There has never been a walkout although at selected times we catch someone sleeping. Why this interest? For some in the audience, this brings them back to their youth when they themselves were dancing. As with every thing in nature, the body weakens but the mind for many is still active so this author assumes that a majority of the audience is studying the steps and remembering when they themselves could perform as such.

From this web site's stand point, we like to watch Naomi prep the crowd for their participation. We've mentioned this previously. On two dances, especially, Sana (the capital of Yemen) which is a circle dance and Turkish Kiss (this is a turkish dance) which is a line dance, Naomi encourages the residents to mimic the dancer's arm movements. In some of the locations, this is difficult with the cognitive awareness that we find in the audience. Not at Rieder House! The entire audience, or so it seemed, followed the movements whether it be finger snaps for Sana or up and down touchdown indications for Turkish kiss. To the left we catch Naomi at these two times as she primes the audience before playing the dances in question. The next set of photos involves the group doing one of the dances with audience participation - Turkish Kiss. This dance's real name is Neshikat Turkit and sung by Tarkan Tevetoglu popularly known as Tarkan. We doubt if the residents of the Rieder House have ever heard him sing before, but you will see below that both the troupe and audience react well to the music

As indicated, this is a set of shots taken while the group is doing Turkish Kiss. Notice the lines and how the group has aligned itself. The bottom middle picture shows the audience (from the back) moving their arms as to mimic what they see the dancers doing. Remember, as indicated above, Naomi has primed them in terms of these movements and what is expected of them. Israeli dance can be broken down into three parts if you want, line dances, circle dances and partners. For today's presentation, the group (and Naomi) had selected 2 line dances (the other, Hineh Ma Tov is shown below), 1 partner although with a twist and the rest circles. Of late, there seems to be more partner dances being created than was the normal and line dances have become more rare. There is an ebb and flow to this dependent on demand which to some degree the choreographers have to fill. But the audience isn't interested in these dance dynamics - they're interested in being entertained and having a good time and even though these shots are from the back, we think the audience is getting what they wanted.

We've moved closer to the dancers and they are in the midst of doing the other line dance, Hineh Ma Tov. As we understand, and we certainly are not the experts, the original music had a circle dance attached to it. In 2000, a new music rendition featuring the singing of the Miami Boys Choir appeared with a new upbeat rhythm and a line dance was created for this version. This is the music that the Cherry Hill group is dancing to on the left. In addition, you may remember the Naomi admonished the group to smile, smile, smile during the prep session outside. Do you think her group listened to her. Pretty much so. To be fair part of this reaction is a natural consequence of the 'high' one gets in doing this type of dancing. This is part of the allure of Israeli dancing.

While this script was bring produced, through and past the Thanksgiving weekend - over a month after the performance - Naomi announced to her class that she had been in touch with another senior citizen residence whose administrators eagerly awaited a future performance of the group. Why is that? Why would a dance troupe be so sought for performances at these locations? This author certainly doesn't have the expertice to give a rerason based on neurological testing and results. But we do have pictures. At selected times the camera panned the room to cover the audience or the audience was a segment of a picture. The pictures to the left show the members of the audience near the end of the performance. Notice that there are several men seen as part of the audience at an event that most would fairly say is geared more to women. To be fair, one woman looks asleep perhaps tired from watching all the moving bodies. But what we saw for the most part was an interested, attentive, inquisitive set of people watching this performance that seemed to be of interest to both sexes. This is not uncommon at these events and it is not unusual after performances for members of the audience to pose technical questions. If you were the administrator of such a facility, wouldn't you want to book this type of performance for your residents? This is probably why the Cherry Hill Israeli dancers are invited, re-invited and sought after as far as these performances are concerned.

We had mentioned that one of the dances performed was a partner dance and these shots on the left focus in on this dance. Israeli partner sets, because of Israeli dances' various influences can act somewhat similar to western couple dancing with male lead, international folk dancing where the couples do similar steps without male lead or something somewhat unique, where the couple in essence does a line dance but in dealing with the line there is an interaction between the partners. The selection for this afternoon, Ilu Tziporim, meets the third criteria. Not all the shots involve him, but we did concentrate on Moshe at the far end of the troupe. His partner is Jennie at his exteme right. The first two shots, looking clockwise, show the dancers, including Moshe, moving side to side as this dance starts out looking like a line dance to the audience. But the bottom right pictures show Moshe (and his partner Jennie) having turned on an axis and now do the same line dance pattern but facing each other. This is back and forth toward the audience. The other pictures, catty-corner below left and top right, show the ending of this dance (what would be called the third part) where the partners really react to each other and the pivots are around each other not as a group as shown in the pictures involving Moshe. If you don't understand this, and you would not be alone, you can see a video of this dance on youtube as done by an Asian class (yes, Israeli dance is international) byclicking here

This script has been created to show you, the viewer, the Cherry Hill session's field trip to the Rieder House. The specifics of this are that this event occurred on October 24th, 2010. Given the movements of furniture described above, it is estimated that the performance started at 3:15PM. Someone has told this author that 13 dances were presented (or at least that's what is being shown above). The performance ended about 4:00PM. It seemed, from discussions with the dancers and the audience, that all parties were pleased with the performance. To the left is a group picture taken at the end of the performance. All the performers and any accompaniers deserve credit for taking time out of their busy schedule to perform. Quite a few pictures were taken during the presentation by Rhonda, Jennie and Marc (who is pictured taking a photo on the right) and we thank all of them for the use of these pictures. Below in no real order, are some other pictures not used above in our presentation.

And, this was not the end of dancing for the day for the Cherry Hill session. After dinner, several of these dancers continued dancing away at Don's Klein JCC Sunday session. We were there, too, and we combined pictures of this dancing on Sunday night with pictures inside the Klein JCC. You can see this by clicking here.