Category Archives: Dance

I’d Rather Be…

I’d Rather Be…

Who are these friendly people extending their hands toward one another? See their smiles?








The arthritis in my left hip has reached critical mass, and until well after my hip replacement surgery in July, there are certain things I can’t do.

When I saw The Daily Post’s photo challenge this past week, I knew exactly how I would finish this sentence. You see, yesterday was the 31st Phoenix International Folk Dance Festival. I brought my camera and took lots of pictures, but I’d rather be…dancing.

Those lovely people above who look so happy are dancing to an American folk tune called Paul Jones and executing a square dance figure known as a grand right and left. If you scroll through the photos at just the right speed, you’ll get a feel for the sequence.

Or you could watch the short video below.

The festival was delightful, but I missed out on the best fun, the dancing. I have lots more pictures, so I’ll post a whole photo essay on the festival soon.

Creative Juice #84

Creative Juice #84

A dozen articles to amaze and inspire you.

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Israeli Dances


I am still laid up with hip issues, so I can’t folk dance. Sigh. I especially miss Israeli dances. Please watch with me while I vicariously enjoy:

  • The basic hora (circle dance). The simplest of the Israeli dances, often done to Hava Nagila. You might dance this at a wedding. You can have a conversation with your neighbor while doing this.Traveling clockwise (to your left), the sequence is: side, behind, step, kick, step, kick, repeat ad infinitum.
  • Jedid Nefesh. I don’t think my dance group does this one. I came across it on YouTube, and it’s lovely.
  • Ma Navu.
  • Hora Medura.
  • Mayim.
  • Erev Shel Shoshanim. There is more than one choreography for this dance; this one is my favorite.
  • Tzadik Katamar. See the palm trees swaying in the wind?
  • Sonata. Several of us in the Phoenix International Folk Dancers are obsessed with this dance. Watch the man in the center with the blue t-shirt–he choreographed this.
  • Salamati. This is one of the most complicated and athletic of the Israeli dances that we do. (Well, that my group does. I’m still learning it.)
  • Tzena, Tzena, and Hava Nagila with a more elaborate choreography.

I hope you enjoyed our little trip around the world to see Israeli dances. Personally, I’m ready to watch these videos all over again.


Creative Juice #83

Creative Juice #83

For your idea-sparking pleasure:

Video of the Week #136: The Emotions of Immigration

Video of the Week #136: The Emotions of Immigration

I’d Rather Be Dancing: Zorba the Greek


I’m sorry to say I’m currently missing out on one of my favorite activities. Usually, I spend Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings dancing—international folk dances. But arthritis in my hip has prevented me from dancing since October.  I miss it so.

Right now my dance group, Phoenix International Folk Dancers, is practicing for our 31st annual Folk Dance Festival, March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day, from noon to 4:30 at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church at 1500 W Maryland Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. Come if you’re in the area–$10 donation at the door. If you have an ethnic costume, wear it. I, unfortunately, will not be dancing. Sigh. Though I hope I’ll be able to come and watch.

To try to make myself feel better, I watch dance videos on YouTube. I saw these wonderful versions of Zorba the Greek, and I thought I’d share.

First, here are some young students:

And this wonderful tutorial (though this is a different version):

And the National Dance Ensemble Romiosini:

And a flashmob in England:

Don’t these videos make you want to get up and dance?

Video of the Week #128: Tumbling Toy Soldiers

Video of the Week #128: Tumbling Toy Soldiers

Video of the Week #125: The Littlest Ballerinas

Video of the Week #125: The Littlest Ballerinas

For Thanksgiving, a longer video than usual, nearly half an hour–but hang in there; excerpts from the Nutcracker at the end!

Serb Fest

Serb Fest

A couple weeks ago, my daughter Katie accompanied me to the Serbian Festival in Phoenix to celebrate my birthday.

Serbia is located in southeastern Europe on the Balkan peninsula, east of Italy across the Adriatic Sea. In 1918, Serbia, along with Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Slovenia, merged to become Yugoslavia. They disbanded into independent nations in 1991 (I am greatly over-simplifying their struggles).

The festival took place at the beautiful (and colorful) St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, which was open to the public. We went on the second day of the two-day festival.



One of the missions of the church, besides worshipping God in the traditional manner of Serbian Christians, is to preserve and pass on the culture and heritage of Serbia. The church also sponsors folklore groups for children and teens to teach and keep alive the traditions, music, and dances of Serbia.

The foyer to their Cultural Center was open as well, featuring educational exhibits, including these authentic Serbian costumes.


When we arrived, Srbija, a three-piece band (keyboard, accordion, and drum set) was playing Serbian music. I recognized some of the songs and joined the line of dancers doing the lesnoto step.


No ethnic festival would be complete without food, and this one was no exception. Katie and I split a palacinke (Serbian crepe) filled with nutella and ground walnuts.

The band played some more Serbians songs, and a bunch of teenaged girls (and an older woman) got up to dance.


But for me, the main event was the church’s Serbian folk dance groups. First up were the little kids:



Next were the Juniors:



And finally the Seniors:




Don’t you love the shoes with the up-turned tips?


Below, the girls dance in a circle while the boys grab onto the girls’ belts.


And here, the boys and girls are arranged like spokes on a wheel…








In the photos below, the dancers are linked together by holding on to each other’s belts:



As the program went on, the dances grew more and more complex. The girls always smiled. They were so beautiful, and the boys, so handsome. Aren’t their costumes gorgeous? Many of them were made by hand by their mothers, including the embroidery.


Video of the Week #124: The Beauty of Hula