For the past 7 years, the Toronto Is Real Israeli Dance Festival has occurred around the July 1st, Canada day celebrations. For those south of the Canadian border, it somewhat aligns with our July 4th celebration so a lot of Israeli folk dancers from the States head north for this weekend. This year's (2012) celebration was held between Friday, June 29th and Sunday, July 1st. The script below details the experience of five Philadelphia based Israeli dancers, three passengers and one car. Note: A previous preliminary script just showing pictures can be displayed by clicking here.

As you may be aware, this web site keeps track of Israeli dance events in the Philadelphia region but this coverage has been extended to the Philadelphia presence at various Israeli dance workshops around the US (and possibly the world). So, given that several Philadelphia dancers attended these festivities, we present a script detailing our area's participation in Toronto '2012. Because a few of the dancers were nice enough to share photos, we also give you an Israeli dancers' eyeview of a trip to Canada for this dancing. Below are the players in this.

From left to right, we have Lee Friedman who is a well known Israeli and International folk dancer. Next to her is Sharon Polsky who we have profiled on this web site. Continuing, we have Tanya Buchman who is ubiquitous as far as her presence at Israeli dance workshops are concerned. Next, we have Professor Richard Beigel, but only from the back (sorry, Richard). And finally we have Marc Rauer who claims that his skills in Israeli dancing have retrogressed to a beginner status. These and the other photos of this script were taken by Lee, Sharon and Mark.

This is the second year that we have created a script per the adventures of some of the Philadelphia area dancers in Toronto. From the Philadelphia area one has several options in traveling by car and in travelling by plane. Tanya and Richard drove to LaGuardia airport in New York and took a flight from there to Pearson International airport in Toronto. The other three, Lee, Sharon and Marc went be car. From the Philadelphia area, one has a choice whether to use the New Jersey Turnpike into the New York Thruway and then west on US90. If you are situated further west in the Philadelphia region, another option, taken by our intrepid travelers, is to take the Pennsylvania Northeast extention and then interstate 81 catching Interstate 90 around Syracuse. Whatever way one travels to Interstate 90, crossing the border means catching the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) from Niagara Falls though the outskirts of western Toronto and then the Gardiner Expressway through the city. It is said that the QEW/Gardiner is one of the most highly traveled routes in North America.If traveling by air, LaGuardia is not a bad airport to begin one's journey given that most fares are pretty low. Sampling several websites show costs (in mid July) to be around $300 round trip with Air Canada being the most dominent carrier. Of course, if in the Phila region, you always have the option of flights to and from Philadelphia International airport which we documented last year in the our 2011 coverage of this dance festival. Above is a map detailing the possibilities.

Since the photos come from the participants of the car trip, we will concentrate on the car trip until the arrival in Toronto. Above, we profile two Auric Goldfingers. To the left is the villian Auric Goldfinger, played by the actor Gert Frobe, as he prepares for a dawn raid on Fort Knox (you can read more about this by clicking here). To the right is Marc Rauer's new gold prius, also named Auric Goldfinger, as it prepares (with Lee and Sharon) for its dawn ride to Toronto. The movie, an adaptation of a novel, details the raid on Fort Knox, among other things, in 112 minutes. You could read the novel in perhaps five hours. The ride to Toronto lasted almost 11 hours attaining 49 mpg in fuel usage given the hybrid nature of the vehicle.

As mentioned, this car used the PA Northeast extention to Clark's Summit (near Scranton) and then interstate 81 into the vicinity of Syracuse. On this Friday there was plenty of construction on the highways and there was a particularly long delay for the duration of only one lane usage approaching Syracuse on 81. Once onto Interstate 90 heading west, things moved much quicker to the US-Canadian border. Above we have some pictures of this trip while on the United States side of Niagara Falls until stopped by customs and immigration.

To the left you can see the word stop in both English and French. This sign signifies that the car and its passengers have arrived at the border. In the US, the official language is English. Canada is bilingual using both English and French in official capacities as is evident above. For one of our passengers, as he relates, it is never a question of language but of being signalled out in crossing borders so he was apprehensive as the car approached these security barriers. But, we are happy to report that the car was just waved through with limited questioning and the participants entered the QBW to wind their way to Toronto. At the right are some pictures as the car approaches the city and in various aspects one can make out the CN tower from various distances.

Above we show the tower in more detail. For Americans, the mention of CN Tower might invoke images of Atlanta and the headquarters of the Cable News Network. But, in Canada and especially Toronto, this tower acts almost like an icon since its completion in 1976. It once represented one of the great transporation companies in the world, The Canadian National Railroad company, which spanned the continent with trackage from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. In addition to being a giant in commercial freight operations, the company also provided cross country passenger service for those looking for a picturesque passage through the rocky mountains. In its hey day, CN - which was government owned and operated - competed with the privately owned Canadian Pacific corporation (CP Rail) but this started to change in the late 1970's as railroads ran into financial trouble on both sides of the borders. Today, CN is a publicly traded company and in this transformation shed many of its assets, including this tower which is now owned and maintained by a quasi governmental organization.

In Toronto, our travelers by car were to be housed in the Madison Manor Pub while those who flew in were staying at the Holiday Inn. Both of these are within walking distance of the Miles Nadal Centre where the dancing was to take place. Since we are featuring the car participant's pictures, above you can see the Madison Manor Boutique hotel. This is a very unique location as it is in the middle of the best pub in Toronto - the Madison Pub which owns the hotel - and a fraternity house associated with the University of Toronto, the outskirts of which includes this location. You can see in the second picture the bridge between the two buildings that make up the pub. As has been described to this web site, there are eight bars within these two buildings that are bridged. The Madison pub opens these bars from the top down as the need arises. Because July 1st is Canada Day, be assured that both Saturday and Sunday night all eight bars were in operation and hopping.

Since the car arrived later than what was anticipated and the car's passenger's checked in around 8PM, they missed some of the festivities that were already underway. Dinner was at 6:30 and a new component of the dance festival, the mini Karmiel, got underway at 8:00. The arrival of the trio at 8:30 to the Nadal centre coincided with the middle of this presentation. Apparently, the group demonstrating the dances was a Filipino dance group which besides dancing the native dances of the Philippines, apparently had become interested in Israeli dance. Lee Friedman indicated to us that she thought they were quite good. After the mini Karmiel presentation, the dance floor was opened up and the pictures above show participation through the night.

To attract dancers to a dance camp, the dance camp must offer something these dancers want. And, not surprisingly, the dancers demand the best of choreographers. Toronto did its best to fulfill this need and on this weekend the choreographers present, from left ot right, were Rafi Ziv, Victor Gabay, Avi Levy and Nurit Melamed. We picture each of these choreographers in order with a posed shot and a picture of them while teaching and/or dancing at the Toronto festival that weekend.

The teaching started early. Above we see the first teach by Avi Levy that Friday night. If you have never been to one of these festivals, you should understand that everyone becomes silent and starts to concentrate as the teach goes on. To learn these dances is why all the dancers are present at the festival: It is to get instruction in the latest Israeli dances! Everyone hangs on every word not to mention every step. Even our travellers, one group after an eleven hour drive and the other after a six hour flight (including airport check in and check out), are up and about as they try to master this and other dances.

For some, Friday night dancing ended early and for others, Friday night dancing dragged into the wee hours. Whatever was chosen, we now are into the next morning. One of our participants took the opportunity to walk around the immediate area of the Madison Manor Boutique Hotel and snap some pictures. Some of these pictures we are told are of University Of Toronto facilities (remember, we mentioned that all the activities here - housing and dancing - are in the shadow of this university). You can also make out the 'Second Cup' which is something like Starbucks here in the States. This Second Cup is unique being housed in the Nadal centre right where the dancing is to occur. Another picture may seem odd, the picture of the bus, until one understands that the photograher also has an interest in trolleys. The 510 Trolley line that was prominently featured in our presentation of the Toronto dance festival last year has been replaced on a temporary basis by buses until track and signal work is completed to the rails. Finally, you see some of our participants partaking in one of the perks of staying at the Madison, the continental breakfast. They are accompanied by another stateside dancer, Barbara, who came to the Toronto festival from Detroit.

Around 10:30Am, it's off to the dance venue for 5 hours of dance and instruction stretching through the morning into this Saturday afternoon. On the way, who should we espy? None other than one of the choreographers, Rafi Ziv, as he makes his way along Bloor Street to the Nadal centre. Obviously if following one of the choreographers, one can't be too late and the rest of these pictures show the auditorium as it fills up.

As luck and scheduling would have it, Rafi Ziv was first off in terms of teaching. Teaching one of his circle dances, we see the dancers as they listen and then try these steps. Rafi's dances are known for their physicality, if you will, with leaps and involved footwork. We expect that this is hidden from you in these photographs but our photographer would have been working under adverse conditions with a limited camera. All the while the auditorium continues to fill as more and more dancers arrive. Those familiar with Israeli dance know that the genre can be roughly broken into music that supports line dancing, circle dancing and partners. The Toronto festival does not deal with line dances. This will be the first of many circle dances shown this day interspersed with quite a few partner dances. Generally, for each of the choreographers, a set of their choreographed dances will be played before they teach a new dance. And, if you think that five hours of teaching and dancing in one stretch is too much, you should understand that this is the norm for any Israeli dance festival.

After 5 hours of dancing, participants are both tired and hungry. Lee, Sharon and Marc, after a nap, decided to walk down Bloor St and sample the local fish and chips in an Irish pub and this would not be the only time they tried this menu item in a pub as you will see later. But, in walking back to the hotel, they snapped several pictures of the city and the university area as you see above. From what this web site has been told, Toronto - and especially the area around the university - is both socially and visually inviting. There is a great mix of people in this city and especially in the University area (somewhat like what you find around the West Phila. campus of the University Of Pennsylvania) and it appears that every block brings something new to see. Just dealing with the pictures above, you have an athletic facility, the first meteorological facility in Canada and an interesting optic pertaining to an elementary school adjacent to an Apple store.

As the parties return to the auditorium for more dancing on Saturday evening, they are confronted with quite an extra show. The festival has brought in several belly dancers who delight the crowd with their gyrations. You can see this above.

Eventually the belly dancers have gyrated out of the auditorium and it is now time for dancing. There is a tradition on Saturday nights at Israeli dance events for the dancing to continue through the night, sometimes ending up at 5 in the morning. At minimum, dancing will go on until 3AM. And what will the dancers be doing: old favorites intersperced with the dances that they have learned at the earlier session of the morning and afternoon. Partner dance sets will be intersperced with circle dancing so several of the dancers are already asking around and lining up partners for the various partner sets. One thing though that many of the North American dancers will find odd is that no music selection will be allowed to have three iterations (complete sets of steps). All the choreographers are Israeli and the tradition in Israel for this genre of dancing is to make each dance fast and quick. Music is cut after the second iteration and many times played faster than originally created. The pictures above show random shots of dancers through Saturday evening. They will all work up a sweat and an appetite and what you are not seeing is the food that is stocked in the auditorium's anteroom. Every one of dancers commented as to how good and plentiful the food was as organized by the festival. The first shot shows the control desk as dancers sign in and/or are enrolled for these events. And, one more thing, the dancer with the red shirt and blue shorts is Max Steiner who teaches Israeli dance in the Rochester NY area. We are told that he was a great help to the other dancers in following some of the dances that are not that widely known.

It was pretty late when all of our Philadelphia regional dancers left on Saturday night. Richard has subsequently indicated that he had danced into 4AM. Tanya may have done the same. The others left earlier but in way did anyone leave early. It was decided by those traveling with Auric Goldfinger the car that the group would leave Toronto around 1PM and head for the Canadian side of Niagara falls to watch the fireworks celebrating July 1st, Canada day. So the pictures above show some scenes from the Sunday morning session of the festival. The right most picture shows the board that kept track of the various dances taught throughout the festival. The Toronto festival has activities into the evening given that Canada is off that next day, Monday, to celebrate the holiday. However, our travelers are on American schedules, not to mention facing a ten to eleven hour return trip back to the Philadelphia area, which necessitated an earlier departure.

In traveling to Niagara falls, it was decided to take a sort of a detour and visit Port Credit. The Credit river goes through the Mississaugua region west of Toronto and Port Credit is similar to several communities on the Jersey shore. The pictures above show the Brogue Inn where lunch was held and you can see the waitress, Sabrina, in one of these shots. By the way, everyone in these pictures highly recommends this Inn if you happen to be travelling through this area referencing how excellent is the Inn's fish and chips and seafood bowl. Apparently the Inn is also host to avid soccer fans who were noisily watching the finals of the World Cup that afternoon. After lunch, a walk along Lake Ontario was in order as you can see.

And, it was then onto and into the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. On Canada day, that little town swells beyond description with vacationing Canadians who want to see the fireworks over the falls which occurs about 10PM on July 1st. No doubt, this fireworks is reciprocated on July 4th to celebrate US independence day. On this night the falls is lit up in white and red, the colors of the Canadian flag, as the fireworks occurs. Prior to walking around the city and the park that borders the Niagara river (as the pictures above show), our intrepid trio and the gallant Auric Goldfinger, the car, stopped off at a Super 8 motel on the outskirts of the city. Because of a mixup, there was a need to rent an additional room for the night and the only room available was said, by the hotel clerk, to be something special not to mention somewhat expensive. This was paid for and went to Marc Rauer. We'll have more on this room later, but once the parties were settled in, the three took off on foot to join the celebrations along the river.

It was on the way to the river that Sharon Polsky had an idea. let's play miniature golf. And, apparently, you have plenty of miniature golf facilities to pick from while in the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. One finally was chosen and the pictures above show the trio in the midst of their golf game. It is thought that Sharon won but no accurate count of shots was kept. Notice, however, how everyone is wearing red tops: this is to celebrate Canada Day which is a flurry of everything red for this day. This web site has carried on this tradition here by randomly selecting either a red print on a white background or the reverse to go with the contents of the script.

The pictures above show the river and falls and the fire works. You no doubt have heard of the problems of the fireworks display in one of the cities on the West Coast where a planned 30 minute fireworks display went up all at once. We are told that didn't happen here. The fireworks display went off as scheduled and in a controlled manner and seemed to be appreciated by all observers.

In this country, it is said that every hotel maintains a Presidential suite just in case our chief executive pops in when visiting a city. No doubt the canadians do the same, but one might call it the Royal suite just in case Queen Elizabeth II should arrive one day. As we return to the special room that Marc Rauer was to occupy that night, keep this in mind. Upon entering the room, which was quite large, after he checked in, it was apparent that the room was highly mirrored and in the corner of the bedroom was a heart shaped sauna. If not the Royal suite, it could certainly be claimed to be the bridal suite. Although the heart-shaped sauna was never used during Mark's stay, it was part of the conversation as the trio walked to the river. After the fireworks, all returned to Marc Rauer's room where the left photo was taken of Lee and Sharon relaxing on either side of the unused sauna. The right picture shows the sauna in daylight the next day.

Since Goldfinger, both the villian and the car, has been mentioned in this script about Israeli dancing (and yes, we are acutely aware of the unique juxtaposition of the terms 'Goldfinger' and 'Israeli dancing'), there is an adage in that book that dominates the flow of the action: 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time is enemy action.' For this script, our participants feel that they can change the last part of the saying to 'the third time is the most fortuitous of events'. To prove this, above, are pictures of our Israeli dance group with JoAnn and Richard Vento. Through happenstance, JoAnn began a conversation with Sharon Polsky at the fireworks show on the banks of the Niagara river. This conversation then spread to all of the group and continued in a local Tim Horton's when the fireworks ended. As it turns out, the couple has residence in the Columbus, Ohio area during the fall and winter of the year and travels to South Jersey for the summer. This trip to Niagara Falls was in transit from Ohio to New Jersey. All of our group was impressed with JoAnn, who is in the social sciences, and Richard, who has an engineering background. One point mentioned by everyone was Richard's discussion of various algebras which wooed this crowd generally not known for mathematical interests. A lucky coincidence occurred as all the parties again met up the next day at the duty free shop before passing over the border and the most fortuitous of events occurred as a third hookup occurred at one of the rest areas along Interstate 90 where the above pictures were taken. Emails were exchanged and perhaps one day this couple will join our group at an Israeli dance event.

As we end this script on the 2012 Toronto Is Real Isreali dance festival and the Philadelphia contingent's participation in this, we can report that everyone seemed to enjoy their trip and the dancing. However, in debriefing Marc Rauer, he indicated another plus that he didn't expect from this trip. You may be aware that one of the biggest movie busts during the '80s was the movie, Ishtar. The talent was there with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman costarring in this film with a supporting cast that included Charles Grodin and Jack Weston. But the movie just submerged, perhaps it's best to say snuffed out, whatever talent and acting there was. Marc Rauer had tried several times in the past to watch this movie from beginning to end but had never succeeded given how bad it really is. Well, lo and behold, as he was playing around with the remote of the TV in his royal suite on the morning of July 2nd, what should come on but the last 20 minutes of Ishtar. Although, he reports, that the ending is no better than the beginning, he was able to watch the movie until the ending credits thus resolving a promise he had made to himself many years ago to see the end of this movie. Way to go, Mark! And we might as well also add: Way to go, Sofie! for the administrator of the Toronto festival. It was apparently another successful Canada Day dance festival this year!

And so, dear reader, you now have a script describing the Toronto 2012 experience for several Philadelphia Israeli based dancers. As mentioned previously, we have set two schemes of color on this script consisting of red and white to commemorate the country of Canada. You can see a script detailing the 2011 Toronto experience by clicking here.