Small Step for Dancerkind
|Newsletter of the Friendly FolkDancers
||Vol. 3, No. 1 Fall 1995
This newsletter is brought to you courtesy of The
Friendly FolkDancers. Feedback, news, letters to the editor, articles,
offers to produce a future newsletter, or even contributions can be directed
to our clerk. You are welcome and even encouraged to excerpt or copy whole
from this newsletter. Share it around.
Editors: Preston Henke & Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, 2550
Gregerson Drive, Eau Claire, WI 54703 , (715) 874-6646
Clerk: Alethea Sandra Helpsmeet
FFD Accepts Invitation of Friends Committee on National
The Friendly FolkDancers have been invited
to present a program at the annual meeting of the Friends Committee on
National Legislation (FCNL), Saturday November 11, 1995 in College Park,
Maryland! This occasion offers a unique opportunity for FFD to reach out
to a broad Quaker community. More than 150 representatives from all over
the country attend this meeting.
The theme of the FCNL annual meeting
is "The Friends, the Congress, and the Media: World-Mending in New Times."
Our witness to folk dancing as an unifying element for all the peoples
of the world fits exactly with this theme. The plan is, in fact, to present
some of the demonstration medleys that highlight dancing as a common element
to countries that have a history of conflict with each other.
Rosemary Coffey and David Houghton
are the coordinators. They are dealing with the challenge to put together
a group that can come together from great distances for just a single program
and with little time for rehearsal. A questionnaire was sent to FFD members
this past summer to help locate participants. Another challenge is to design
a program that shares an evening with a special speaker for the annual
meeting, Scott Simon, who is the host of the Saturday Weekend Edition on
National Public Radio. FFD has a long history of operating in all types
The FFD and FGC, Past, Present, and Future
Mark Judkins Helpsmeet
Back when I first attended FGC in the
early 1980's, there was no dedicated room for International Folk Dance,
but some such dances were done in between sets of square and contra dances.
Since then first I, and then the Friendly FolkDancers have taken responsibility
for leading dancing nightly in a room of our own. In 1994, due to limited
facilities, the week nights were divided up between the various forms of
dancing, and one or more were dedicated to each. Since relatively fewer
FFD dance leaders had been present in recent years to share the responsibility
of leading nightly, this arrangement reduced the responsibility which fell
on any single individual's shoulders.
At this year's FGC gathering in Kalamazoo,
Michigan, we attempted a different method of organizing the dancing in
the International Folk Dance room, and I think it was quite a success.
We did a mixture of types of dances and dance leaders that shared the work
and enriched the diversity wonderfully. A few nights were a pretty typical
range of international dances as presented by the FFD on tour. One night
was dedicated to Swing Dancing, another to Meditative Circle Dances and
Dances of Universal Peace. Louise Brill led a night of dances targeted
towards the Balkan regions as well. Sandra worked with a couple new (to
us) teachers on the meditative dances, Bob Janes and Elizabeth Cave. Eric
Wolf and Hannah Branson did the swing evening. All in all, there was lots
of energy and lots of taste treats from around the world!
Next year's FGC gathering will be in
Canada, a bit south of Toronto. We have the momentum in our favor and hope
to organize an equally rich program of international dance for our Canadian
Friends. That, of course, depends on you, me, and all the other Friendly
FolkDancers. Look for your opportunity to contribute your gift of dance
elsewhere in this newsletter.
From Our Dancing Friends
Mark Judkins Helpsmeet
With the recruitment mailing, we included
an opportunity to share your news. Though there is much more out there
that I'm sure we didn't hear about, here are some extracts from those responses.
Jane Blount has completed her program in Massage Therapy,
living in San Diego, California. The Takens-Milne family
reports that Henrica has completed her Masters in Linguistics, saying she
is now a ma, as well as a MA (either Master of Arts or Mistress of Anarchy).
Eric is teaching since the lack of construction has reduced the call for
architects. Rachael, their 19 year old is at the U, and Sasha has a year
of high school left. Henrica is now freed up enough so she's ready and
eager to join the FFD tour to Kenya. Kathy Lipp has marriage
plans coming up either spring or summer of 1996, to Rob Farr - you can
congratulate her if you join the FFD for our minitour to the FCNL annual
meeting on 11/11/95, Washington, DC. Demi Miller is going
through the marriage clearness process, and he and his new dance/life partner,
Elissa, shared their team talents and blessings with the whole of the FFD
at our annual meeting. Jean Mayes has done lots of traveling
in service to the FWCC. She reports greater health coming her way as she
lives on a modified Gerson Therapy diet to deal with her cancer. She reports
that one of the positive side effects of the diet (fresh wheat grass juice,
fresh fruit & vegetable juice, homemade Essene bread, fresh fruit)
is that gravity has less of a hold on her, which leaves her dancing lightly
on her feet! Gail, Denis, & Lindsey Newbold were part
of a mostly youth group of Peacemakers who went to Tucson/Nogales/Mexico,
learning about the border with Borderlinks in Tucson. Flora Van Wormer
moved out to Washington State, is interning on an organic farm, grows lots
of herbs and veggies, and plays in the Watcom County Symphony Orchestra.
Rosemary and Zig have been taking ballroom dance classes
- leading to rumors that Zig may expand his duties with the FFD beyond
road manager. Rosemary no longer has a cast on her leg, by the way, which
has dramatically improved the dance lessons. Sharon, John, and Tim
Bell welcomed Blanca Estela Bell Herb to their home on June 10,
1995. Sharon says the process in Guatemala was much smoother this time,
and that Tim is very enthusiastic about his new sister. Marian Wisby
is back in Evanston, Illinois, and has a new job as a geriatric nurse practitioner.
Mark Judkins and Sandra Hansen had their wedding on August
27, 1994, and changed their names in the process. They are now Mark Judkins
Helpsmeet and Alethia Sandra Helpsmeet. Helpsmeet is the old English antecedent,
used by George Fox, of our modern English helpmate. Kezia Scales
should now be back in the USA, having spent the past year in England. Mary
Mihalyi and Phil Friend have welcomed Isaac Charles Friend into
the world of dancers on March 9, 1995. Mary is mostly caring for Charles
and taking a class to prepare for a master's program in speech-language
pathology. Anne Millkamp obtained her BSN degree in nursing
over the past two years, and her family has made a commitment to stay in
Tempe, Arizona for another four years. Carrie Melin is teaching
English in a Jr. High in rural Hiroshima Prefecture and "absolutely enjoying
it", so much so that she signed up for another year. Kenneth Kirkpatrick
is attending Chicago School of Massage Therapy through April of '96. He
hopes to perform in the Madison, Wisconsin production of the Nutcracker
again this December.
Mark Judkins Helpsmeet
The long-awaited tour to Kenya, East Africa,
was almost a reality for the coming December or January, when a wrinkle
appeared to postpone the arrival of this well anticipated event. The wrinkle
took the form of a change of status of the person who had been acting as
our intermediary and local contact for the tour. Specifically, she was
suspended from her post pending investigation of programs she had overseen.
Notwithstanding the delay, organizing for the tour continues, albeit at
a somewhat later date. Rosemary has a new contact person with whom she
is exploring the possibility of an FFD visit to Kenya somewhere into the
second half of 1996. Rosemary and Mark are still coordinating this tour.
Mark has responses from a number of folks interested in the tour, but the
group is neither determined nor closed at this point.
While the planning continues on the
Kenya side, we still have a good deal of preparation to do from this side.
More so than most tours, this one will ask a high level of commitment from
its participants. In addition to our contacts in Kenya, we've been in touch
with Thomas Taylor, General Secretary of the FWCC world office. In addition
to the helpful pointers he has given us, he has some cautions. For instance,
he notes that they "are aware of considerable feeling among third-world
Friends that 'Christians (Quakers) don't dance'". Lack of transportation
is one issue, as is the lack or undependability of electricity. He also
calls to our attention the need for cultural sensitivity, including such
things as "the need to have a previously discussed policy about how to
deal with the heart-rending requests for personal financial aid...". I
am thankful for the care that Thomas and his wife, Nancy, have extended
to us. They are dear to me not only for the care they've shown in their
letters to us, but for the fond memory of them in the course of our England
tour. Sandra and I stayed with them in the Meetinghouse where Nancy is
Just a few more, very important, notes.
We need funds. The steering committee has committed to providing at least
$2000 in scholarship funds for the tour, a level we met and exceeded for
the England and Scotland tours, but aiming much higher. Since round-trip
air fare can reach nearly $2000 per person, the need could clearly be great.
When coupled with the lack of fund raising possible on the Kenya side (the
England & Scotland tours got major contributions from British Funds,
in addition to the contributions in the course of our programs), it is
clear we need to really stretch. This clearly implies major fund-raising,
BY ALL OF US! No individual alone can do this, so please
consider the ways you can help raise funds for this tour. For starters,
think about the individuals and groups who have been touched by the FFD
over the past ten years.
1. FFD members - Almost 40 people have
traveled with our tours over the past 10 years. These FFD members could
contribute, but they could also seek contributions from the more than 18
Monthly Meetings and 9 Yearly Meetings of which they are a part.
2. Meetings we have visited - I'm fuzzy
on the numbers, but I know we've danced with well over 100 Monthly Meetings,
part at least 14 Yearly Meetings, touching multiple thousands of individuals!
Our "interested in future tours" list includes almost 150 names, by itself!
Please pick up your pen (or keyboard)
and ask for help from the above groups. A request to your Monthly or Yearly
Meeting by you carries more weight than a solicitation by an "outside"
organization. If you can help with fund raising to the other Meetings,
please step forward. Or maybe just pick up your checkbook and write out
a check to The Friendly FolkDancers.
California Tour ‘96 in Planning Stages ~
Southern California Tour - I'm getting
excited about planning this tour! We do, however, need a few more folks
to spread the joy and spirit of the FFD for this warm weather get away
tour. We'll meet in San Diego on Thursday January 25, travel north through
and beyond LA, attend some smaller meetings along the coast and in the
desert and return to San Diego by February 4th. Presently Ellen Brooks,
Demi Miller, Elisa Siefert and Jane Blount (coordinator) comprise the tour.
If you would like to be a part of the tour please give me, Jane, a call
as soon as possible at (619) 543-1089.
Annual Meeting ‘95 Minutes
-article not available-
Addendum to Annual Meeting ‘95 Minutes
David reported that with coordination
help from Mark there was a successful program with eight dancers including
two new dancers: Patti Lewis and Karen Shepard.
Scattergood Tour ‘96 in Planning Stages ~
Alethea Sandra Helpsmeet
-article not available-
Lake Erie Tour, April 12-22,
A group of Friendly FolkDancers traveled
in April to eight Friends Meetings surrounding Lake Erie, four of them
in the United States and four in Canada. The route went from Ann Arbor,
Michigan into Ontario, where we danced at Coldstream (near London), Kitchener,
Newmarket, and Hamilton Meetings, and then back into the US for performances
at Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, and Broadmead (Bluffton), Ohio Meetings.
There were several non-dancing highlights
of this trip! One was sharing a gourmet vegetarian meal at a restaurant
called Seva in downtown Ann Arbor. Another was visiting the Sharon Temple,
north of Newmarket, a building erected in the late 1800s by the Children
of Peace, followers of a charismatic Quaker preacher who intended to glorify
God by replicating Solomon’s temple; the FFD felt some kinship with this
dissident sect which used music, in the form of a choir and a band, in
its celebrations, in contrast with Quaker practice of that day as well
as this. Touring Niagara Falls was a source of pleasure and excitement
to all, while discovering that no one at Cleveland Meeting had a key to
the box into which donations to FFD had been placed provided a somewhat
different sort of excitement. (The Treasurer, who lived out of town, ultimately
unlocked the box so that the proceeds could be forwarded to FFD.) We also
managed to eat (and even to appreciated) vegetable lasagna four times in
In terms of the programs themselves,
the group continued to find the linking of dances from peoples and regions
which are, or have been, at war a powerful symbol of FFD’s desire to build
bridges of understanding and caring as part of the healing necessary for
peace. Closing each performance with the Peace Dance confirmed the intention
that the tour be perceived as a prayer for the well-being of all people,
going beyond taking sides to embrace all parties to a conflict.
This group of Friendly FolkDancers
was composed of Rosemary Coffey, Zig Dermer, Mark Judkins Helpsmeet, Alethea
Sandra Helpsmeet, Preston Henke, Joseph Kieltyka, and Denise Madland.
Wanted: Experienced Friendly FolkDancer to Travel to
We have received word from Eric Takkens-Milne
(one of our English FFD members) that Woodbrook College would like to have
a resident Friend to introduce the ministry of dance. Apparently the invitation
was extended directly from Chris Lawson, the principal of Woodbrook. Woodbrook
is Quaker college in suburban Birmingham, England.
The college is offering free room (and
perhaps board, but we’re unclear about that), so the major expense would
be travel to and from England. FFD has started a scholarship fund (donations
accepted) to help defray the cost, should we find someone who has the time
and enthusiasm to take advantage of this opportunity. It is expected that
this person would stay for one semester. Eric suggested that this person
could also help get a FFD British Isles Group started.
Please contact the steering commitee
for more information.
Woodbrook College, 1046 Bristol Rd,
Birmingham, England B29 6LJ.
How Can I Support The Friendly FolkDancers?
Mark Jundkins Helpsmeet
There are many ways you can support The
Friendly FolkDancers. Here are just a few of the gifts you might be able
to share: Join us as a dancer on a tour (did you know that most
11-day tours end up costing less than $200 per dancer? Did you know that
you don’t have to know all the dances ahead of time?). Encourage
someone you know to join us. Sit on a clearness committee for someone
considering participating in an tour. Act as part of a support commitee
for someone who has decided to go on tour. Help make it possible
for others to go on tour by making a monetary donation; donations can be
directed to any of these funds: general, scholarship, Kenya, or Woodbrook.
Consider joining the growing number of individuals and meetings
that include us on their annual giving lists. Organize a tour or
a mini-tour. Help us find a new logo. Nurture and lead us
with your spiriutal energy and prayers. Teach us some new dances
of a particular ethnic origin. Help us decide on the perfect location for
our next tour. Help us with costum design / acquisition / repairs.
Hold us in the Light.
All gifts are welcome.