As mentioned in the Next Events section of this website for much of Jamuary, Feb 12th, 2012, saw another Cherry Hill field trip, this time to the Saltzman House in Cherry Hill. If you have been following these adventures in dance, these trips have been to both sides of the Delaware river and up and down New Jersey.

Most of the participants of these events, and the leader, dance regularly at the Cherry Hill Israeli dance session held on Tuesday nights at Temple Beth Sholom. It was only a half mile down the road, past Cherry Hill High School East, that we find the Saltzman House so one could say that this Cherry Hill Field Trip was being staged quite close to home.

The Raymond and Gertrude R Saltzman House consists of 104 one bedroom apartments on 6 levels. The presentation was to take place in the community room on the first floor. It is believed that anywhere between 32 and 40 residents attended the presentation and there was almost as many participants and their friends who made it to perform.

Below, we document the Cherry Hill Field Trip presentation at the Saltzman House. Hopefully you enjoy this script as much as the residents claimed to enjoy the dancing presentation that day.

The Saltzman House, part of the Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare services of New Jersey, is associated with other similar centers such as Lion's Gate and the Dubin House where previous Cherry Hill Field Trips have performed. This center has over 100 apartments and very active social services. The center itself is on a parcel of land that is shared with the Katz JCC. To the ddd you can see a picture of the signage indicating this at the driveway both facilities share. There are other pictures of the outside of the building. In one of these outside shots, Rebecca Salzman Baum is shown standing and waiting outside. Inside, besides the activities center that will be prominent in the pictures below that was the scene of the perfromance, there is a living room and combination game/computer room for the residents to use.

As is the norm, the dancers were requested to arrive at the facility by 2:30 with the performance scheduled for 3:00PM. This time seems to work for both the dancers and the audience. For the dancers, there are some that have Sunday morning activities including other israeli dance events. For the audience and the facility administrators, this middle afternoon time coincides with family visits and is probably timed right for meal preparations. In this montage, we catch the dancers, and several non dancers accompanying others, as they arrive. As will be mentioned, there are more dancers than just frequent the Cherry Hill Israeli dance session and provision will have to be made for their participation in this event. As to where the dancers came from: this performance attracted dancers from both sides of the Delaware river and from all over New Jersey.

While our dancers are arriving, so is the audience. It is assumed that the management publicizes the event the week beforehand. Before the event, no one really knows what to expect per the attendance and no one knows what type of room the dancers will perform in, and even more importantly, what type of flooring will be present. For Saltzman House, a count of 32 residents was made as the performance started and it is possible that several residents joined the festivities while things were under way. As to the facilities, an oblong room greeted the performers and the flooring was appropriate for dancing in sneakers. The room geometry created a small problem for Naomi, the leader of the Cherry Hill field trips. Generally, when dealing with an audience during these performances, she needs to concentrate on at most a 90 degree arc of exposure. For Saltzman House, she would need a 180 degree arc for her explanations of the group and the dances. But, in the meantime, as indicated to the ddd, the residents arrive and find seating.

Let's discuss the audience and its makeup a little further. As humans age, it's a natural fact that women live longer and after age 30, there are more woman than men at any age. Retirement centers, such as the Saltzman House, would naturally have a larger ratio of women to men residing there. Recognizing this, in the last few trips, this web site, has been trying to break down the sex ratio of the audience. No one would dispute that dancing is probably a more feminine pursuit and therefore such a demonstration as this would naturally attract more woman than men at any age. But the number of men attending this performance was somewhat impressive - an estimate would be less than 3 to 1 women at this performance which is quite high per the ratio of men as we have been noticing. Perhaps its just a fluke or the result of residents interacting with one another, but one section of the room had as many men as women as the picture to the ddd shows. Whatever the sex, everyone in this picture and other pictures that you will see in this script looked as if they were enjoying the performance.

For the arriving dancers, at least those who are there well before 3PM, there is some time to socialize with both the fellow dancers and the arriving audience. But for the leader, Naomi, this time before the performance is spent in assembling her computer and audio equipment. The days of bringing a cassette radio, cassettes or CDs is long over. Israeli dance music today (as would be all music) is played on and by sophisticated programs like DJ power which is the music program of choice for the Cherry Hill session. In addition, large and powerful speakers must be included with the computer systems so the music is audible. To the ddd we see several pictures of Naomi assempling her equipment.

While Naomi assembles her equipment, the dancers are socializing and the residents are finding seats, one very important aspect of these Cherry Hill field trips is about to make his influence felt. For the last several years, the artists Allison and Andrew have created site specific programs which feature the dances to be performed. Today, Allison apparently had another engagement so Andrew was left to carry on alone as we detail here. Technically, and this is far beyond the abilities of this web site, we have been told that these programs are created through advanced features of Microsoft Word using a duplex (computer speak for double sided) printer. To the ddd we see a few pictures of the artist Andrew as he distributed his programs and several pictures of the audience as they digest this information

To the ddd is a closeup of the program. The 4 pages are shown as separate pictures. The black lettering on blue color stock goes with this presentation at the Saltzman House as you will shortly see. At the bottom of this script we will duplicate the list of dances and add some information for those readers that are interested in such things as videos pertaining to these dances.

So, speaking of the colors of the day, the participants were asked to wear black tops and blue jeans (or pants). The pictures on the ddd, taken throughout the afternoon, show that most participants fulfilled that obligation. In addition, this web site has done its part by appropriating these colors of the day for this script's color scheme. While talking about fashion, the short sleeves many of the dancers are wearing are somewhat deceiving. In previous years, events in February were accompanied by very cold, if not brutal weather and it was not uncommon to pass high snow drifts on paths outside of these facilities. This year has been very different but, in an interesting occurance, this event took place on one of the coldest days of this unusually warm winter. However, those wearing short sleeves were very quickly warmed up by the activity they were about to undertake.

It's a few minutes before three in the afternoon. Naomi calls a huddle with her performers. There is a need to go over what she expects from her group for this afternoon. Although the Cherry Hill Israeli dance session has been practicing the coming performance, there are many in attendance who will perform without having had this practice. Naomi carefully goes over the dances to be performed reminding her group about changes to the normal pattern of several dances which have been rechoreographed to augment audience participation. At the end she stresses four things she demands of her dancers which we list below
* Smile, Smile, Smile
* Dance within the bounds of the neighboring dancers to provide uniformity of appearance
* If not knowing the dance, step out and take pictures
* And Smile, Smile, Smile (which is a repeat of the first instruction.)
With this taken care of, the last picture shows Naomi as she turns and is about to address the audience. And, we should add our thanks to her instructions because members of her group when not dancing provided many of the pictures that make up this script.

Well, the clock has struck three and, for today at the Saltzman House, a magic and bewitching performance is about to begin. Those who have studied past Cherry Hill field trips know that each dance is preceded by an explanation from Naomi, the leader. Prior to the first dance, Naomi introduces the group and discusses Israeli dancing in general. Some of the population of the audience have done dancing when younger so it is not unusual to see several audience members nod in agreement. As to the audience reaction in general: This is a time you can hear a pin drop as all eyes are focused on her. On this occasion, it is somewhat harder physically. More movement is necessary for her to address all of the audience. So, we see her in the pictures to the ddd somewhat swivel right and left to deliver her introductory remarks.

These pictures show the audience as Naomi gives her introdiction, both pertaining to the group and the first dance. Male and female heads are directed to her. Everyone listens intently. This is a talent that she has in commanding the attention of the audience when speaking to them. And you don't need a camera to detect this as it is very obvious to the performers, also. But, luckily, someone had the presence of mind to photograph the audience and you can see this interest and attention yourself as you look at the pictures to the ddd.

And, with that, the performance is to be under way. Israeli dancing can be broken down into circles, lines and partners. The first, Od Lo Ahavti Dai, is a circle and the dancers position themselves into a circle as they await the music to begin this dance. For some of the dancers, this may be a moment of butterflies in the stomach. For others, it may be old hat. For the audience, for better or worse, this is to be their afternoon of entertainment. Both dancers and audience hope that everyone enjoys this coming performance.

This first dance, Od Lo Ahavti Dai, is a favorite with Israeli dancers. It is somewhat easy and is a staple in beginner Israeli dance classes. Similarly, it is a staple in most International folk dance sessions as they incorporate early Israeli dances. The translation of the lyrics is quite surprising and Naomi has restructured this somewhat to make it more romantic. Most Israeli translations peg this as the ultimate man's answer as to why he won't propose to his girlfriend. Whatever, the dance goes through 3 repetitions with each repetition having two parts. At the end of the third repetition, the last part is repeated to the end of the music. Naomi has prepared her group to include the audience in this dance. The third repetition will be done facing the audience which is 180 degrees from what is normally done: facing the circle. Instead of the last part moving in and out of the circle, Naomi's dancers will move out and back from the audience with many of the group high-fiving menbers of the audience. The first half of these pictures catch the normal rendition of the steps and the last half shows the dancers with this extended rotation in the direction of the audience.

In total, as you have seen if you've looked at the program, twelve dances would be done. Everyone has their favorites and that includes this web site. We enjoy watching the audience participate in motions needed or required for a specific dance, but this doesn't occur until later in the program. Nevertheless, our intrepid photographers kept shooting and the pictures to the ddd capture the dancers as they perform the early circle dances of this afternoon's performance.

Ask any dancer and they will tell you that they move to beat and music. Tango, jazz, international folk dance and Israeli: it doesn't matter, there is a need for learn steps and timing. Perhaps more so than any other dance discipline, Israeli dance, being highly choreographed, is in need of the group being uniform in steps and timing. This was on display at this performance if you directed your glance at the performer's feet. While our photographers were not geared to this, we have taken the liberty of cropping some of the photography to indicate the exact nature of the dance steps performed in sync by our performers. When looking at the ddd, keep Naomi's earlier admonishion to her dancers in mind: if you don't know a dance, move to the side. Any out of kilter foot, even an incorrect change of weight, is very obvious in this type of dancing as you can see.

The first dance requiring audience participation is S'ana (also spelled Tz'ana) which represents the capital city of Yemen. When the Yemenite Jews were repatriated back to Israel in the early '50s, they brought with them the traditional hymns and music of that country and this song is such a representative. Included in the dance is a pattern of walking with palms upward, then downward, a clap and a snap. Naomi demonstrates this to the audience with the help of her dancers. The idea is to have the audience join the dancers in this part of the performance. To the ddd, we see Naomi in the process of priming the audience.

With the instructions to the arm movements complete, the dancers and the audience are ready to put instruction into performance. This montage shows the dancers as they perform S'ana. From a point of view of dancing, S'ana is very representative of Israeli dancing. The music itself is both lively and haunting as is all traditional melodies. Choreographed in 1995 by Moshiko Halevy, it is a favorite of the Cherry Hill Israeli dance session although it may not have been as well known to those dancers at this performance who are not Cherry Hill regulars.

Now, let's look at this from the audience point of view. The montage to the ddd shows the residents doing their part in terms of the hand movements. Not bad and pretty responsive! Dancing and arm movements such as this are quite beneficial for the elderly. Use of these muscles in arm movements - what is now called kinematics - have been shown to improve memory and are consequential to a more satisfying life style for the elderly. In fact, a term, cerebellar dysfunction, is used to indicate a loss of such movement in physiology (especially in the physiology of aging) which studies such functioning. Given what we saw in how these residents were perfoming, everyone seemed young at heart at least for this performance.

The montages above include demonstrations of Israeli circle dances. Two of the dances performed at the Saltzman House were line dances including a favorite of most Israeli dancers, Turkish Kiss. Line dances are generally performed in a checkerboard pattern and many of these dances position the dancer in 90 degree turns around the room. Turkish Kiss is more limited with the dancer situated positionally in one place although the dance moves in and out and to some degree sideways. This dance however is known for its pronounced arm movements and the pictures to the ddd show Naomi explaining the arm movements, which occur in the second part of the dance, to the audience. They will join the dancers in these arm movements when the time comes.

We now home in on the performance of Turkish Kiss. Notice how the dancers are lined up in rows and columns. This montage to the ddd shows the performers above and the audience participation below. The music repeats itself, in essence, twice. Each iteration involves two parts of dance steps. The last part is repeated a third time as the music ends. Technically, the performers are generally being shown in these photos during the first part of the dance while the audience is generally featured in part two where the arm movements are done. It is quite spirited on both sides of this performance as you can see. And, we should add, for those readers not familiar with Israeli dance, that Turkish Kiss is, indeed, Turkish music and this is not surprising as Israeli dance music spans the world as far as music selection.

One partner dance was performed that Sunday at Saltzman House. Israeli partner sets have become more ballroom oriented over the years but this dance, Ilu Tzipporim, has characteristics of an earlier era similar to those performed in International folk dance. For the uninitiated, this dance starts as if it is a line dance with the checkerboard pattern as explained above. The last part of the music iteration finally has the partners dancing around and interacting with each other. The montage to the ddd attempts to show all the parts of this dance in a type of sequence. We should add for those viewing this who are ballroom dance oriented, that it is not unusual for two women to act as partners since the numbers rarely add up to equal number of men and women with women being the majority. In addition, while most modern Israeli partner dances have the partners in what is called ballroom position, very familiar to any ballroom dancer, older partner dances such as this probably reflect the International folk dance standard of how couples hold each other. Finally, for those viewing this with an Argintinian tango background, you will not see two men acting as partners again for the fact that there is generally more women than men.

We are about 45 minutes into the performance and we are at the 12th and last dance. The dancers are still dancing enthusiastically and the audience is, likewise, full of enthusiasm. Naomi indicates that the coming selection is the last of the performances that afternoon but in doing so tells the audience that this coming dance is kind of like the theme song for these Cherry Hill field trips. It was choreographed in 2006 by Yoram Sasson and Eli Segal and the music, which is simply awe-inspiring, was composed by Shai Re'uveni and sung by Kobi Peretz who is a well known Israeli singer. It is the perfect dance to end these performances and Naomi was very wise is so picking this dance, Kol Ha'koach (which translates to 'With all my Strength'), years ago to be the last performance. The pictures to the ddd show this dance in operation. Notice that the enthusiasm still exists even after nearly an hour of high speed movement for most of the performers. While you may not be able to see the audience, we can relate that everyone remained awake and alert as they enjoyed the last dance of the afternoon.

Before we provide the group photo of the performance, this web site would like to thank those whose efforts brought you these pictures. This montage shows some of the photographers in action and they include Ilana, Rebecca, Vicki, Mike, Mark, Phyllis and Moshe. You can see a writeup analyzing this effort on another script of this web site. A job well done is extended to all whose pictorial efforts you have been viewing.

And, we also extend a job well done to all the performers of that afternoon. A special well done to Naomi for again leading this Cherry Hill field trip. From left to right are the participants of this Cherry Hill field trip: Mike, Iris, Fran, Marc, Debby, Amy, Rebecca, Vicki, Sarah, Jennie, Andrew, Naomi, Gary, Simone, Macha, Ety, Deena, Tammy and Ronnie. Not shown are both Ilana and Moshe who are taking these pictures. In addition, Hildi, Deena and Debbie's mother is not in this picture.
While this is the end of this script except for the grid of dances indicated below, the activities continued with a dinner at Shangra La which lasted several hours. It was a fun day and again congratulations to all concerned for this performance.

Below, we present some information pertaining to the dances in this presentation. Click the link to see a video of this dance.