Monday, June 20, 2005

Carnegie Hall

I performed in Carnegie Hall; yes, I did.

Carnegie Hall is a major New York cultural icon. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/19/magazine/19CARNEGIE.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th There is nothing like it. My former classmate, the late, legendary Andy Kaufman used the venue for his entertainment extravaganza that culminated in a very 1950's cookies and milk for all.

actually, I performed there before he did! It used to be the venue for the "Israeli Folk Dance Festival" directed by the irreplaceable Fred Berk. I danced in three festivals for the NCSY Dance Group. In 1967, it was led by Leah Weiner, z"l. That was my first time on the stage in Carnegie Hall. After the evening performance we went to the Manhattan Betar Moadon and sang for hours. Then we checked into a cheap hotel and tried to keep the kumzitz going, until some of our friends were thrown out.

The following year, there wasn't an NCSY group; though we danced in the Salute to Israel Parade down Fifth Avenue. A picture of me and Debbie Klaff Dan (now of Beit El) was used the following year by the Jewish Agency to publicize the parade.

In 1969 and 1970 I led the NCSY group, but 1969 was the last year we danced in Carnegie Hall. Fred didn't consider a stage with curtains to be suitable for folk dancing. He taught us (I took his Leadership and Choreography course with Debbie 1967-8) that genuine folk dance had both an entrance and exit, which was much easier in the Felt Forum Madison Square Garden sports arena.

There used to be a small kosher restaurant, "I & M" near Carnegie Hall. It was a popular place with middle-aged musicians. I used to eat there a lot, to the point when the owners fixed me up with their waiter's nephew. That didn't come to much, and I didn't get there for a while. One of the last times I was there, the owner was so glad to see me he shouted: "Look who's here." The other customers did and couldn't understand what the big deal was.

5 comments:

Esther said...

That was a really cool story! Thanks for sharing that. My roommate was really into the fact Andy K was a classmate of yours. :)

Batya said...

He was a nice guy; I never would have guessed how he'd turn out.

Yes, my kids bought me his movie.

Esther said...

Very sad indeed.

melinama said...

Hi, Thanks for coming to visit my blog and for your nice comment...

Nice blog you have here! I think you might want to reconsider some of the color schemes, though - for instance, this particular post, orchid on orange, is almost unreadable on my laptop computer. Just a little feedback...

I'll be back. Thanks again.

Batya said...

Thanks
On Explorer it's a very pale peach, but on Firefox the colors are different.