Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Salute to Israel Parade, NY, 1970

We've been pulling out old albums of late, and found these irreplaceable photos.

They are from the Salute to Israel Parade. Marching are members of the NCSY Dance Group which had performed in Felt Forum, Madison Square Garden that year. I was group leader. It was the first time the Israeli Folk Dance Festival had performed there.

Previously it had been in Carnegie Hall, which has, or had, an ambience all its own. But festival director, Fred Berk had been itching for a more genuine folk dance festival feeling. He hated the stage and curtains in the illustrious concert hall. When I took his Leadership and Choreography course in 1967-68, he always stressed that true folk dance required dancing onto the performance area and dancing off of it. NO CURTAINS raised and lowered.

At the 1970 festival we all sat around the performance area, getting up to dance on and off when it was our group's turn. Then at the very end of the show, all of the groups and dancers danced together in separate circles.

A couple of months later, at the parade, my dancers and I donned our costumes and danced up Fifth Avenue. We had sewn the skirts the year before for the 1969 festival, but then we added white trim on the bottom plus the "belts" in 1970. And we wore our own white blouses. For the festivals, we danced barefoot, but of course that wouldn't work on the NYC streets.

In 1970, NCSY was given a spot near the beginning of the parade, and Betar was towards the end. So, after dancing the entire way to the end, I quickly, literally ran back down Fifth Avenue to join Betar and march again. Being just a spectator was not for me.

Who else was at that parade?

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