One 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 Legislation Meeting
David Houghton
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 of settings!!

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.

 News 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.

 Kenya Prospects
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 warden (caretaker).

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 ~
Jane Blount
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
Jane Blount
-article not available-


Addendum to Annual Meeting ‘95 Minutes

Jane Blount
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, 1995
Rosemary Coffey
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 five days.

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 England.

Nancy Schofield
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.