One Small Step for Dancerkind


Newsletter of the Friendly FolkDancers

Fall 2002


Inside this Issue

To A Friend

Future Tours - Dancing With Leprechauns

Future Tours - Off to Jolly New England

Future Tours - Olney Course

Mini-tour Report - FLGC & Chicago

Tour Report - Southern Ohio

Annual Meeting Summary

News of Dancing Friends




Text Box: To A Friend
 for Mary B.

The following poem by Nancy E. James was published in 2003 Poet’s Market.  It appeared in an “Insider Report” on “Poetry and a Christian World View.”  The article was written by Holly Davis and featured interviews with three other women poet/editors

Yes, Time is my adversary, too—

but for you
he is an armed guard
patrolling the far end of a one-way road
various with sunlight, weeds, rare stones—
way too short;

while for me
he is a hefty wrestler
pounding me on the ropes
of one after another squared-off ring—
match too incessant.

And you believe
that someday—loaf and ramble how you will—
you must reach that black-barred roadblock,
and Time, awaiting no password,
gun you down—

while I believe
that someday—shove, wrench, throw me how he will—
Time must hear the last bell rung on him,
and I, loosed from his hold,
roll free.

© 2002 Nancy Esther James

Prospective Tours


            Dancing Toward the Land of the Leprechauns


by Mark Judkins Helpsmeet


      FFD is looking towards future international tours, exploring options in both Japan and Ireland.  I agreed to do some checking on a tour to the Emerald Isle at the annual meeting, and the luck of the Irish immediately leapt into my lap!

      First, we danced together the evening of the annual meeting and invited Friends from the Chicago area to join us. Who should show up, but Christian Murphy (in the company of Susan Doxtator).  Of course, lots of folks with Irish names have very little actual or current connection to Ireland.  Yet, Christian had only to open his mouth and we had adequate evidence that he was the real thing.  Susan and Christian have, in fact, attended Quaker meeting in Ireland, so we had our first real lead and connection just a couple of hours after the group of us discussed the possibility of such a tour.

      The next morning, Sophie invited those of us staying at her house to take part in a special outdoor worship on Spider Island in the Chicago Botanical Gardens.  It was a powerful and deep worship.  It was also our introduction to the host of the worship, Patricia Monaghan.  Notice anything about that name?  Actually, Patricia does not speak with a brogue, but she knows more about Ireland and, specifically, Quakers in Ireland than we could have found out through a month’s research or perhaps any amount of research!  She typically visits Ireland a couple of times each year.  Again, the “coincidence” just fell into our laps!  At some point, it stops being coincidence and becomes part of the mystery of God working in our lives. 

      I’ve since met with Patricia and learned a rich slice of the history of Quakers in Ireland and Ireland itself.  There are great opportunities for the FFD in Ireland, and Patricia could virtually map out our likely steps for us.  For one thing, she is quite clear that we should start in the East and move clockwise around the Isle (following the mythical trajectory), with a possible visit to the center of the island, which is a special mystical spot.

      Patricia told me that Quakers have a special place in the hearts of the Irish and are likely the only “protestant” denomination held in high repute by almost all of Catholic Ireland.  Among other things, Quakers were evidently the first to come to the aid of the Irish with soup kitchens during the famines, and they did it without strings attached.    In general, she was clear that there was richness for us to experience there, and a welcome that we would be sure to receive.

      I’m moving forward with the exploration of a future tour to the land of the leprechauns, and would welcome input and interest as I continue the research.  As with most tours, I would remind folks that many factors go into selecting tour participants, including previous experience touring with FFD, gender balance on tours, international representation and other

factors.  Get involved now, and help us dance toward our future tours.  ¯




Text Box: OFF to Jolly NEW England . . .
by Mark Judkins Helpsmeet

	At the annual FFD meeting, a tour was proposed to visit New England Friends.  A wide-ranging trip of the states in that region is planned, though specifics of the trajectory are yet to be determined.  At this time, an offer of hosting has been received from a meeting near Hartford, CT, with hopes of programs for non-Quaker locales in that area.
	The tour is intended to include students from Olney Friends School, where Mark Helpsmeet will be teaching a folk dance course the first three weeks in December.  Depending on how many students end up participating, we may be able to have a wide range of ages involved.  We will also be looking for opportunities to visit locations where Olney may be able to recruit new students for the school.
	The last FFD visit to New England was in 1988, and we hope to see the same beautiful landscape, meeting houses, and people we encountered on that trip, and more!
	Mark Helpsmeet will be coordinating this tour and will gladly welcome those who wish to take part in making the tour a reality.  You may contact Mark at or by calling (715) 874-6646 (eve) or (715) 839-6855 (day) should you have additional questions.















FFD 2002: The Next Generation

by Mark Judkins Helpsmeet


      In spring of 2002, the FFD Southern Ohio tour stopped by Olney Friends School in Barnesville for an afternoon program.  We found a community well-steeped in folk dancing culture—fertile ground for passing on the ministry of FFD.

      At the August annual meeting, we approved support and funds to help release Mark Helpsmeet to lead a month-long course at Olney, should the offer of such a course be accepted by the school.  It was.  In fact, Ken Jacobsen, head of the school at Olney, wrote, “We are eager to go forward with you and FFD on a three-week interterm course here in December. . . We are excited to deepen the program, for staff to learn some of these dances as well, and to build ties with FFD.”

      The plan is for Mark to teach the course December 2-21, 2002.  Students (most or many of them) would then take part in the March, 2003 FFD tour to the New England area over their spring break.  Olney is willing to provide a van for the tour, in addition to room, board and travel for Mark.  All in all, it is apparently a “marriage made in heaven.”

      Though he had heard of Olney years before, Mark became more closely interested in the school at the FGC gathering at Kalamazoo, where he met Sarah and Naman Hampton, both alumni of Olney Friends School.  Both had a passion for folk dance which Mark learned was from their experience at Olney.  Mark and Sandra Helpsmeet visited Barnesville in the spring of 2001 with multiple agendas in mind, among them the desire to know more about Ohio (Conservative) Yearly Meeting and its monthly meeting in Barnesville, named Stillwater Friends Meeting.  Still waters run deep, as they say, and the connections were made which solidified plans for the 2002 spring tour.

      The specific course content proposed includes:

  1. An approximately one-month course on folk dances and related culture from around the world.  The course would conclude with (or at least include) student participation in a regular 9-10 day tour with FFD.
  2. Participants in the course would gain proficiency in a variety of easy, medium and hard folk dances from around the world.
  3. Participants in the course would learn some of the cultural background of the peoples and the dances, including comparison of styles of dances by culture and related historical information.
  1. Participants would learn to teach dances to others.  This will be a primary objective of the course.
  2. Participants will learn up to 12 dances specifically chosen as performance material.
  3. Participants will take part in planning an FFD tour, including both practical and spiritual elements.  Ministry and, specifically, traveling in the ministry will be subjects for discussion and practice.

      The final hurdle will be to generate sufficient interest from the student body to enroll in the course.  Given the tremendous interest already existing in the school, as witnessed in the spring, this should be smooth sailing.

            Mark welcomes offers of help from those who might be available to supplement his expertise in dance, culture, costumes or other aspects of the FFD ministry.  You may contact him at  ¯


Dancing at the FGC Gathering

      Nightly folk dancing was again available at the FGC Gathering held this past July in Virginia.  The room was beautiful and the turnout was very good as well.  The first night was an international potluck of dances, followed by evenings of swing dancing, sacred circle and meditative dances, Romanian dances, vintage ballroom dances, and, finally, an international  assortment  highlighting Israeli dances.

 Lots of people showed up to dance, and the number of folks who shared in the teaching enriched the experience.  There seems to be considerable enthusiasm from leaders for next year as well, and Mark has again agreed to organize the schedule.  New teachers and helpers are always welcome—just indicate your interest on the tour interest form on page seven.  ¯




Tour Reports


Dancing for Young, Old, and In-Between in Southern Ohio

by Barbara Coan Houghton


The 2002 Southern Ohio tour that began on Thursday, March 21, included Ruth Hyde, Rochester, NY; Nancy E. James, Seven Fields, PA (who hosted Ruth Wednesday night); Christine Ambwere (the first participant from Kenya following the FFD Kenya tour in 1996), Demi Miller, St. Paul, MN; Mark Helpsmeet and Sandra Helpsmeet, Eau Claire, WI; Barbara Houghton and David Houghton, McFarland, WI, and Ligeia Smith, Windsor Locks, CT.  The group was well supported throughout the tour by the plans made by coordinator-in-absentia Rosemary Coffey.

Gathering in Cincinnati

      All nine dancing members assembled Thursday evening in Cincinnati Community Meeting House with time only for pizza, brief socialization with each other and with hosts from Cincinnati Community Friends, and a brief Meeting for Worship for Business followed by dispersal to our several hosts’ homes.

      On Friday, the first full tour day, we assembled at Cincinnati Friends Meeting house for dance practice, last-minute costume preparations, and work on alterations to last year’s newly acquired sound system.  A highlight of this day was participation in Community Friends’ “game night” nicely augmented by ice cream.  Returning to the same host homes was a comforting conclusion to the day.

      We spent most of Saturday dancing.  During the day we reinforced our command of the dances, and in the evening after potluck dinner, we presented the tour’s first program for a very enthusiastic audience.  A third night in the same host homes brought us a good night’s sleep. 

A Variety of Audiences in Athens

      On Sunday we traveled to Athens Friends Meeting, arriving in time for Meeting for Worship and a potluck lunch.  In the afternoon we danced in our largest venue of the tour, the new Athens Recreational Center.  There were about 80 people in the  audience   including   Quakers   and   many  area dancers since the program was advertised as a fund raiser for the Factory Street Dance Studio.  On this occasion we had the opportunity to have dinner with our respective hosts, a good chance to get better acquainted with individuals in Athens Meeting.  After Meeting for Worship for Business held after dinner, we discussed how best to use the time between demonstration dances when it is prolonged by complex costume changes, and whether it is even necessary to program every minute of those intervals.  No conclusion was reached on this.

      On Monday we danced for three audiences.  Two elementary school programs were divided into preschool-third grade and fourth grade-sixth grade.  Both groups were eager and involved in the programs.  The evening group gathered in a Rural Action office in the tiny town of Trimble.  The small audience made up for its lack of numbers by its warm participation.

Spanning Life’s Spectrum in Barnesville

      An open morning on Tuesday allowed us to start our day with Meeting for Worship for Business before leaving for Olney School in Barnesville.  The afternoon program presented for about 50 students and staff was lively.  Members of the student dance group taught us a dance.  We were then treated to dinner in the dining room with the students.  This gave us a glimpse of boarding school life as well as a chance to visit with a few students.  It was a unique opportunity and a change from the usual potlucks that Meetings provide.  For one night, some of us went to hosts’ homes while several chose to spend the night in the school guest house.  All of us stayed in the guest house on Wednesday night.

      On Wednesday we moved to the other end of life’s spectrum with our morning program for Walton Home residents.  Walton Retirement Home is a Quaker retirement community under the care of Ohio Yearly Meeting.  Both residents and staff came and enjoyed the exhibition portion of the program.  During the participation portion, audience members were encouraged to join in a variety of ways.  As tour members moved around the room, audience members’ arms and feet waved and tapped, wheelchairs rolled, and smiles bloomed.

Roaming Rocks and Ravines

      We took advantage of the fact that our evening program was scheduled for the same location.  Without the need to pack up costumes, properties, sound system and personal gear, we had open time.  We used it to visit Raven Rocks, a community established by some Olney Friends School staff and alumni.  The group hopes to preserve a nearby natural area that has been an important part of Olney life through the years.  There we hiked into the ravine as we listened to stories about its role in the life of the school.  We also visited an earth-sheltered and solar-equipped home and another large multifamily dwelling under construction.

      Before dinner we worshipped with Stillwater Friends in their large brick meeting house, a reminder of the area’s Quaker history.

      After a potluck dinner across the street from Walton Home, audience and Friendly FolkDancers gathered back in Walton Home for the last program of the southern Ohio tour.    

      Thursday morning, following a concluding worship and business meeting, we dispersed, a bit sad to part but cheered by our feeling that it had been another successful tour.  ¯


February 2002 Chicago Minitour

reported by David Houghton and Sophie de la Mar


            Eleven FFD members from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois (five women and four men) participated in the February 16 program at the winter gathering of Friends for Lesbian and Gay Concerns (FLGC) held at Illinois Beach State Park at Zion, IL.  There were Bonnie Beverstock, Sophie de la Mar, Brayton Gray, Mark and Sandra Helpsmeet, David Houghton, Demi Miller, Grace Valentine, and Meredith Zondag.  All but David Houghton and Grace Valentine participated the next day in the February 17 program at Northside Friends Meeting in Chicago.

      The FLGC program was the Saturday night entertainment for their gathering and attracted about 50 participants with the help of some active recruitment by FFD members at and after dinner.  Eight dances were done in the demonstration; the Quaker Quest game was omitted, and the dancing-for-all period lasted for one hour with very active participation from those attending.  There was a special attempt to make the demonstration dances gender neutral; i.e., some men and women switched dancing roles and even costuming. 

      The next day, Sunday, the Friendly FolkDancers joined Northside Friends Meeting for singing, Meeting for Worship, potluck, and a performance/ participation dance.  One Northsider, Tom Dix, joined in the performance of two dances after a quick lesson from Mark Helpsmeet.  About 15 Northsiders stayed to enjoy the dancing, including Nicholas Depies, who was celebrating his first birthday, along with his aunt and grandmother, who were visiting from the east coast for his birthday. ¯



Extracts from Minutes of 2002 FFD Annual Meeting


The 2002 Annual Meeting of the Friendly FolkDancers was held at Northside Friends Meeting House, Chicago, IL, on Saturday, August 3.  Present were Bonnie Beverstock, Ellen Brooks, Rosemary Coffey (clerk), Sophie de la Mar, Zig Dermer, Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, Sandra Helpsmeet, Barbara Houghton, David Houghton, Carrie Melin, Demi Miller, Rebecca Straus, and Grace Valentine (recording clerk).

            In considering the Minutes from Annual Meeting 2001, we checked on the tasks agreed to by attenders at that meeting.  Most had been accomplished, and others were in process. Friends planned to see them to completion in the coming year.

            Treasurer's Report: Bonnie Beverstock, Treasurer, reported a balance in the General Fund of $2,683.28, compared to last year’s balance of $2,609.69.  The total balance for the Designated Funds (videos, international exchanges, international scholarships, international tour seed money, tape library, sound system, T-shirt scholarships) came to $3,880.76, compared to last year’s balance of $4,874.76.  The total amount in hand this year was, therefore, $6,565.04, compared to last year’s total of $7,484.45.  Although cash flow related to the year’s tours is included in the total, it was decided for future reports to add a line for each tour under Income and Expenditures, so that we may have the information as part of the record.

            The discussion of possible future events elicited the following suggestions, along with volunteers to pursue them further:

            1.   trip to Oxford Prison (WI) around the holiday season 2002 (Grace)

2.       one-month teaching session at Olney School, including a student tour of nearby schools (Mark)

3.       tour of South Texas in January 2003 (Ellen)

4.       tours of Japan (Carrie) or Ireland (Elizabeth Cave?)

5.       tour of New England (Mark, maybe)

6.       mini-tour at Scattergood School (David/Mark)

7.       dancing at the 2003 FGC Gathering in Johnstown, PA (Mark)

            Review of last year’s recommendations elicited the following information:

1.   A number of larger-size women’s skirts have been added to the costumes.

2.       Sandra and Demi will continue working on filling in background information for the Quaker Quest game questions.

3.   Mark will follow up with Sharon Bell re finding an authentic Native American dance.

4.   Bonnie submitted a couple of versions of a new FFD logo and was encouraged to refine one of them for the next time we need to order FFD T-shirts.

5.       FFD now has an additional folding zipper clothes bag.

            In the course of the committee reports, Sandra indicated that the men's tunics are being redesigned.  Mark affirmed that all active participants in FFD would soon be on a ListServe.  Nancy E. James would be editing and producing the next Newsletter.  And it is planned to have a password on the FFD web page, so that certain information (e.g., the forthcoming revision of the Tour Coordinator’s Handbook) will be accessible only to members.

Reports from recent tours included the following:

1.   Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, and Transgendered Concerns (FLGBQTC) Midwest Gathering in Chicago: Nine FFD dancers were on this mini-tour, with Sophie and David coordinating. The program was very well received, and some of the dancers also performed at Northside Meeting the next day. No expenses were incurred, while $92 was received from T-shirts sold, plus $8 in donations.

      Friends were reminded that a treasurer is nonetheless needed for mini-tours in order to collect dancer fees and other contributions, keep track of donations, and remit monies to FFD. If the requested amount in fees ($5 per dancer per day) is covered by donations from the host organization and/or the audience, dancers need not make individual contributions.

2.   Southern Ohio Tour in March: Attempts had been made to include two young women from Kenya, but only one was able to get a visa in time.  A new experience for the dancers was staying overnight in only three places, while performing eight times in all.

            We decided that the question of underwriting the participation of people from other countries, as we did for the Kenyan dancer, should be dealt with case by case, based on discussion among members of the steering committee and the tour coordinator.

      3.   FGC 2002 Workshop: Mark and Sandra facilitated this daily workshop, with over thirty people attending. Much of the

            dancing was based on a dance syllabus that Mark put together, including information on the history and techniques for

            each of the dances, translations of texts, and a CD featuring twenty-nine dances.

4.   FGC 2002 evening dance programs: These were very popular, despite being held most of the time in a very hot gym.

5.       FWCC Lower Great Lakes Regional Gathering, Burbank, OH: Rosemary and Zig reported that they led folk dances for about an hour with the twenty or so adult and youth participants in this conference.


            Update on FWCC Affiliation: Rosemary and David will turn in the requested documentation again, now that there is a new Clerk of the Section and a new Executive Secretary, who may feel more positively about such a connection. They plan to have it in by the time of the next Executive Committee meeting in November 2002.


Budget for 2002-2003 fiscal year:


Budget Category

2001-2002 Budget

2002-2003 Budget







Steering Committee



Olney visit/student tour






International Exchange



International Scholarship



International Tour Seed Money



Tapes (Music)



Sound System



T-shirt/Scholarship Fund








            Steering Committee and Officer Appointments:

      Clerk, David Houghton, 2 years:

      Assistant Clerk, Sophie de la Mar, 1 year:

      Treasurer, Bonnie Beverstock, 1 year:

      Secretary, Grace Valentine, 1 year:

Members at large, Demi Miller,,

      and Barbara Houghton,, 2 years

      Newsletter Editor, Nancy E. James, indefinitely:


          Next Annual FFD Meeting: Next year's meeting will be held on August 2, 2003, in Eau Claire, WI, hosted by Mark and Sandra Helpsmeet.
                                                                                                            Respectfully submitted,
Grace Valentine

                                                                                                            (Extracted by Rosemary Coffey)




News of Dancing Friends

by Mark Judkins Helpsmeet


This is a brief snapshot of what Friendly FolkDancers are doing, besides joining in our tours.  I’m not omniscient (and not meticulous), so I’m afraid there are bits of news I should have included but missed.  My apologies.


      We haven’t seen Rob Pennock on tour since 1988, but he is fondly remembered by many of us from the 2nd and 3rd FFD tours.  I tracked him down via the web in Michigan, where he is an associate professor in the Lyman Briggs School & Philosophy Dept. of Michigan State University in East Lansing.  He wrote me last November mentioning some of his changes, including his marriage to Kristin (they met at a contra dance, naturally), and the baby they were expecting this past February.  I’m hoping this mention will spur him to update us on his happy parenthood.

      Parenting seems to be going around.  It appeared that Tony and Anne Millkamp were just about done raising their three boys, when they fell in love with and adopted two children from the Pskov region of Russia, about 200 miles south of St Petersburg.  They went there to finalize the adoption in February of 2002 and to bring home Oksana, their 11-year old daughter, and Misha, their 10-year old boy.  Their son Paul is a junior in high school this fall and both Tony and Ann work at Phoenix, Arizona, Indian Medical Center.

      And speaking of new children, Jane Blount and Christopher Penney welcomed all 7 lbs. 11 oz. of Alexander Blount Penney into this world on December 24, 2001.  Chris nicknamed him Alby while he was still swimming in the womb.  Rumor has it that he's the cutest baby around, and now that he's 7 months old he's ready to rock and roll and almost crawl.           

      Those of us who took part in the 1996 tour to Kenya will remember Rose Wakhungu.  She stole our hearts with a speech/recitation she did at one program about strong African women.  Zig and Rosemary have kept in touch with her since and been part of encouraging her scholastic progress.  She is now working as a secretary in Nairobi, saving up to study as an accountant, with the long-term goal of starting her own business.

      We had our first Kenyan on an FFD tour in the USA this past spring, and Christine Ambwere continues in the USA with studies at Morgan State University in Baltimore.  She reports that she is doing well and sends blessings to all. 

      Sharon Bell has been very involved in parenting for several years now, including homeschooling her son, Tim, for part of the last school year, due to a tough experience in public school.  Sharon wrote, “We have spent the time since then helping his spirit remember how to dance.”  The rest of the family is doing well, including husband John, daughter Blanca and Blanca’s new kitten, Flower.  Though Sharon missed her first annual meeting in years, she is hopeful about joining a tour this year.

      Ligeia Smith is now in the midst of a year of service in Berlin, Germany, “working to set a sign of atonement for the Nazi era.  This includes placing volunteers all around the world, documenting things from the war and lecturing and educating.”  She eagerly welcomes your email at

      Barbara Houghton celebrated her 70th birthday in August in grand style.  First was a party at home with nearly 40 friends and neighbors (and two big cakes).  Two weeks later was a surprise celebration at a Houghton family reunion in New York State, with over 60 persons present, which included more cakes and an unexpected appearance of her two brothers and their spouses.  At that Houghton family reunion, David added his Friendly FolkDancer touch and got many of all ages to join in a number of simple dances.

      Ligeia is not the only one with overseas plans.  May through December of 2003, Sophie and Brayton’s mailing address will be:  7 Rue Paul Fossat, Uzes, France, 30700.  They will continue to be reachable via email: and  Sophie wrote, “We are now empty nesters.  Our last child, Lucas Gray, has graduated from college and moved to California to assume his first full time job as a marine engineer.”  Brayton was not at the FFD annual meeting, hosted at Sophie and Brayton’s Chicago home, because he was in the Middle East around Hebron and Haifa, as part of an international delegation.  He witnessed, first-hand, some painful and moving things, and would, I am sure, be willing to share with you about his experience.

      In addition to dancing, nursing and chocolate work, Bonnie Beverstock is working with people from other faith communities to establish a Wisconsin branch of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.

      Speaking of choices, on May 18, 2002, Kenneth Kirkpatrick and May Nowaloski chose to marry each other.  And being so very into it, they did it twice, once with a Catholic service, and once with a Quaker service.

      I am truly sad to report the death of Judy (Clayden) Penaluna on January 18, 2002, of ovarian cancer.  Her husband, George, and their son, Matthew, can use our prayers and continuing support.  Judy organized the first overseas FFD tour, to England (and Wales), in 1991, performing with us in a couple of the programs.  At our last program she handed each tour member some postcards, to help us keep in touch.  I’m richer for having known her and having kept up some contact with a truly grace-full person.

      I also heard from Wendy (Fisher) Fitton in England –she was part of the 1992 Pennsylvania/New York tour.  She was requesting some FFD promotional materials for a Ceilidh she was calling this past February. The Ceilidh was a benefit for the Westmoreland Peace Concern (a group of Quakers in Northern England).

      Bonnie Parsons, of Ontario, Canada, is continuing her vital work, especially with young folks, on the streets in the neighborhood of Toronto.  She wrote, “I am finding great great new friends in these young people, but I must admit, I do miss the old friends, especially of the dance variety!!”

      Rosemary Coffey and Zig Dermer had to miss the Southern Ohio tour this past March, even though Rosemary set it up, in order to attend a family wedding in Ensenada, Mexico.  They did, however, teach some FFD favorites to the Lower Great Lakes Regional Gathering in Burbank, Ohio, early in October 2001.  ¯