buttons image map The Perth International Folk Dance Group produces the "Grapevine" newsletter for present and past members several times per year.

Below is the content of the November - December 2000 edition.
In this issue you will find news on ….

If you're really keen you can also read earlier editions:

President’s Annual Report

The following report was presented at the Group’s AGM on 6 November.

The first year of the century has been quite a low-key one for the Group. Membership has been steady, with Monday attendance being good for most of the year.   Our financial situation has again improved steadily throughout the year.

The year started with David Lane going over east for a short holiday.  He hasn’t returned yet!  For many years David put the music on on a Monday night and he was a very regular member of the Performance Group.   Now we are looking for more men to perform!!

 The performance group has had a very quiet year, with Fairbridge as the only ‘regular’ event. There were three other performances late in the year, two at UWA as part of Multi-Cultural Week and a recent one at the Zig-Zag Festival in Kalamunda when the temperature was over 34 degrees!  Well done everyone!  Some of us joined ‘Les Enfants de Provence’ at Kulcha recently for a French performance.  We danced to live music; it was great  – we must do more of that!!  See photos on the back page.

 We continued with the recent trend of an annual beginners’ course with average attendance; about twelve. Thanks to John, Eve and Sara for their teaching and to Joy, Leone and others for their support.

The key workshop event for the year was Andre’s set of workshops in August.  He introduced 13 new dances which, as usual, were well choreographed with good music. Many thanks to Eve and Paleque for their support including billeting him during his stay.

With the new workshop dances and the Monday night lessons we have covered about ninety dances, a number that some members think is too many dances for a year.  The list is included with Grapevine!

This year saw Laurel de Vietri established as a new teacher with a focus on dances from central and southern France.   My sincere thanks go to all of our regular teachers, Palenque, Eve, Sara, John and Laurel.  My thanks too to John for recording the new dance music onto CD’s.   This time last year I gave the Group a challenge and invited some of our more experienced dancers to reintroduce some of their favourite dances that we have lost over the years. We had limited success in this in that I taught two dances at party nights.  Maybe we’ll renew that challenge for 2001!!

One other suggestion made this year was to hold some two or three hours week-end workshops focusing on what were once popular dances that have been lost over the years.  Somehow the year has passed without this.  Maybe next year?! 

We had few Committee meetings and fewer issues of Grapevine but that in itself is probably not a big problem.

So, what of next year, the year 2001, our 25th year?!.  Well I am hoping that we can string together some good events and visiting teachers to make it a special quarter of a century for the Group.  Let us know please if you’d like to be involved in the planning and organising. 

So at the end of 2000 I say ‘thanks’ to all who helped or were involved in making it another good year for the Group. 

All the best for Christmas and the New Year!
Martin Williams,  President, PIFDG

I’m off on a holiday to Mexico and Guatemala for 9 weeks,  see you for Australia Day .. with luck!!
Hasta la Vista                   Martin; El Pres!!

2001 a Dance Odyssey!!

Next year is PIFDG’s twenty-fifth year, and we are planning to have another celebration year in much the same way that we celebrated the 20th year back in 1996.  Nothing is planned as yet.  We were hoping that Belcho Stanev would be Perth in May to set the scene, but apparently he is planning to be in Australian in 2002.  So if you have any ideas for next year please let us know, or better still join the Committee and help us to plan something special.  Our silver jubilee!

Krazy at Kulcha

On September 24, 2000, eight members of PIFDG took part in 'Un P'tit Gout de France' at Kulcha in Fremantle. The afternoon, which was presented by Les Enfants de Provence, was very much enhanced by the presence of Tony, Martin, Pam, Palenque, Pat, Anne, Peter and Lee.  The premises were decorated like a Provençal Village and the market place of food and goods for sale went down well and added to the ambience.

The ‘Last Five Coins’ gave the whole performance a feeling of being in a French village with their superb playing of airs from Provence, Dauphine, Pays Basque, Berry, Aveyron and Auvergne on traditional instruments. 

Members of the audience joined the dancers in many of the dances and the smiles and cheers told of their enjoyment - or was that a result of the Pastis and Kir being served? 

The afternoon was finished off with a rather strange but 'sympa' celebratory meal at Le Cafe de Paris where the music and dancing started all over again! 

Thanks to all those who made this day such a great success.

Laurel, Raphael
and all of Les Enfants de Provence

Machol Europa       by Joy Hill

If you ever happen to be anywhere near England in August and you particularly enjoy Israeli dancing, you should consider going to Machol Europa which is held every August in England.   Machol Europa is one of the two REALLY BIG Israeli folk dance  seminars in the world outside Israel- the other being Hora Keff held annually in New York. 

The Machol Europa seminar is live-in and runs for six days with a follow-up in London on the two following evenings.   After hearing announcements at PIFDG for  several years of a brochure being available about Machol Europa I finally took the plunge and enrolled in 1996 and loved the experience so much that I returned there in 1997. 

Machol Europa really opened my eyes to the power and zing of more than two Hundred people dancing together in the same direction to magical Israeli music.  The venue was the De Montfort University in Bedford, about an hour or so north of London by coach (longer if you drive yourself!) Student accommodation is available on campus – mostly sharing rooms and bathrooms. When people grumbled about having to share the bathrooms I never let on that I had the same single room with its own bathroom both years! 

There are two large gymnasiums which are used for teaching. The larger gym is used by the advanced group as their numbers are bigger and was also used for evening dancing and entertainment. The more select intermediate group, of which I was part, used a slightly smaller gym. Theoretically both groups learn all the same dances from the same teachers but the intermediate classes are for those who "wish to learn at a slower pace and do not mind if they learn a few less dances".   But many of us in intermediate thought that we were being taught the dances just as quickly as in the advanced group and we seemed to be taught all the dances. 

Every day there would be six solid hours of teaching.   A very good feature was a half-hour warm-up session before classes every morning and cool-down for five minutes after each session. Every evening there would be revision of all the dances taught that day lead by the various teachers.   For this there were generally two or three concentric circles with the "show-offs" and the quick learners in the "inner circle".    Sometimes everyone would be asked to swap over so that the people in the outside circle could get a better view but that improvement often didn't last for long.

The six teachers were extremely talented and generally taught dances which they had choreographed themselves.   It is quite wonderful to be part of a group learning new dances being taught for the first time in Europe and which had perhaps only been choreographed weeks earlier. The teachers/choreographers are amongst Israel's best and several of them attend Machol Europa year after year such as Mosiko Halevy - respected as a beautiful dancer and choreographer but some thought he was a rather dry and pedantic teacher. Moshe Telem, by profession a farmer, is very energetic and gregarious and renowned for leading all-night marathons at Caesarea and at the annual dance festival at Karmiel in Israel.   My favourites were Shmulik Gov'ari and Shlomo Maman - both fantastic younger choreographers AND dancers AND teachers.   Shmulik has superb style and balance whilst Shlomo can bend and twist as if he were made of rubber.  Everyone really enjoys all their classes. 

Every night dancing continues till about 2 am with an all-night marathon session on the last night. The final session where the teachers and staff walk round farewelling participants brings tears to many eyes.     At the conclusion of Machol Europa, everyone is given a tape of the music plus complete notes of the steps of the dances. Videos of the dances can be purchased. The videos always feature footage of "atmosphere" because that is one of the things which makes Machol Europa so special - envisage people from more than twenty different countries taking it in turns to dance on the dining tables to the music of an accordion and the fun and frivolity lead by the irrepressible Moshe Telem, Shlomo and Shmulik.  Mealtimes are memorable for the delectable food (generally vegetarian), the camaraderie between dancers both Jewish and non-Jewish many of who return year after year, and the entertainment afterwards.  In the year of Riverdance, an Irish group gave a performance for us. I felt inspired and although I'd heard that you had to book eight months ahead to see Riverdance in London I managed to jag a returned ticket for a matinee. 

In the first year I was at Machol Europa, I was one of only two Australians there.   In the following year a party of about fourteen dancers (mostly Jewish) came from Melbourne.  It seems that those Melbournites don't understand that Perth is part of Australia because when I suggested after a few days that a commemorative photo of the Australian contingent would be nice, I was told by one of them "Oh, that photo was taken yesterday" - without Western Australia's sole representative! 

I believe that I am still the only West Australia who has been to Machol Europa.   It is my dream that some time soon one of the superb teacher/choreographers from Machol Europa will be able to come to Perth for weekend workshops.   By combining with the greatly increased numbers who are now attending Israeli dance classes, this may soon be possible - hopefully before I reach the wheel-chair stage!    

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Last Updated March 2001 - Produced by Web in the Hills
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