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Howard K. Wachtel -- Israeli Dancing Page






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Howard Wachtel's Israeli Dancing page


Why is this fun?

Folk dancing (either Israeli or international) is much easier than, for example, ballroom or social dancing. In folk dancing, there are circle, line and couple dances. You learn the dance ahead of time, and then when the music comes on, you just do the dance and enjoy it. You don't have to worry about leading your partner or figuring out what to do as you go along, the choreographer who created the dance has already done that for you. (I never liked going to standard rock-and-roll dances, the music is too loud, I can't hear what anyone is saying, and when on the dance floor I don't know what I want to do next.) You can practice your skills by doing the circle and line dances, before trying to do the couple dances (which are really the most fun, IMHO). Unlike social dancing, the dances and conventions at Israeli dance sessions are not much different from one group to another--if you learn a dance in one city, it will be basically the same in another city, or even in Israel, should you decide to travel there. In social dance, conventions and styles differ widely from one teacher or studio to another. In folk dancing, if there is a dance you really don't like, at least it will be over with in about 3 minutes, unlike in social dancing, where if you have a song or a partner that you don't like, you are stuck with it/him/her for perhaps as long as 10 minutes. If you start with a beginner's Israeli dance session and stick with it by going once a week for 3 to 6 months, you will really learn a lot of dances without much conscious effort and you will see how much fun it is!

Ken Avner has an excellent Israeli Dancing page, with some good advice on folk dancing etiquette.

Finding An Israeli Dance Session in Your Area

You can search for an Israeli dance session in your area at the israelidance.com web site. If you are in the Philadelphia area or in Delaware, below is the information on local Israeli dance sessions.

Israeli dancing in Delaware

SUNDAY: WILMINGTON, DE
2nd Sunday of each month
Instructor: Sharon Kleban
Location: Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE 19810; Phone 302-475-3126. Time: 2:45 - 5:00 PM. Focus is on beginner and easy intermediate dances.

WEDNESDAY: WILMINGTON, DE
4th Wednesday of each month. Instructor: Sharon Kleban
Location: Arden Gild Hall, 2126 The Highway, Arden, DE 19810; Phone 302-475-3126. Time: 7:30-9:30 PM. Focus is on beginner and easy intermediate dances.

Occasionally there are schedule changes due to holidays, vacations, and so forth.
For more detail on the schedule of dancing at the Arden Folk Gild, click here
Here is a newspaper article on the dance session at the Arden Gild Hall.

Israeli dancing in Philadelphia and vicinity

SUNDAY: PHILADELPHIA, PA
Instructor: Grant Shulman
Contact: Tamar Magdovitz; Phone 215-247-9614 or 215-844-1507.
Location: Germantown Jewish Center, 400 West Ellet St. (at Lincoln Drive), Philadelphia, PA 19119. Time: 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM.
(Schedule changes during the summer months, session moves to Wednesday evenings from 7-9 PM.)

SUNDAY: PHILADELPHIA (Northeast), PA
Instructor: Don Schillinger Phone: 215-760-6800.
Location: Klein JCC, Red Lion & Jamison Rd., Philadelphia, 215-698-7300.
Time: 7:00-11:00 pm. Focus is on intermediate and advanced dances.

MONDAY: ALLENTOWN, PA
Instructor: Carole Langsam. Time: 8:00-9:30 PM. Location: Allentown Jewish Community Center, 702 N. 22nd St., 610-435-3571. Focus is on beginner and easy intermediate dances.

MONDAY: ELKINS PARK, PA
Instructor: Don Schillinger Phone: 215-760-6800
Location:8231 Old York Rd. Elkins Park, PA 19027
Time: 7:30 - 10:00 pm.

TUESDAY: WYNCOTE, PA
Instructor: Sharon Polsky Phone: 215-338-3732
Location: Wyncote House, 25 Washington Lane, Wyncote, PA 19095
Time: 7:30-9:45 pm.

TUESDAY: CHERRY HILL, NJ
Location: Congregation Beth Sholom, 1901 Kresson Road, Cherry Hill, NJ. Focus is on beginner and easy intermediate dances. Phone: 856-751-6663
Instructor: Naomi Marmorstein 856-225-6434
Time: 7:00 pm -10:00 pm.

THURSDAY: MERION, PA
Instructor: Don Schillinger Phone: 215-760-6800
Location: Adath Israel 250 N. Highland Ave.,Merion (Philadelphia), PA 19066.
Time: 7:00-11:30pm. Focus is on intermediate and advanced dances. A large number of children attend.

For more information on Don Schillinger's sessions, go to the
Rak-Dan web site.

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