Folk Dance Day

Waverley Homestead, * September 2012


A good forty people attended this fun afternoon at the start of Spring.

Rae Marnham and her six woman group Zhivana, dressed in traditional garb, started proceedings by performing seven elegant Rumanian folk dances. These were greatly appreciated. Then with Rae leading they taught two dances - Hashual from Israel and Chilichili from Bolivia - and the floor was crowded with folks willing to give it a go.

Rae and Meredith Bowman taught these and numerous other dances for many years when they worked as dance educators from the early seventies.

Following afternoon tea, Dave Clarke and wife Cathy took over, to teach three Australian bush dances. The first, titled Push the Business On, was a simple but elegant piece that most folk quickly latched on to. The second, with a song titled They Danced Until Dawn, involved a strip-the-willow pattern and was considerably more taxing. When they tried to combine the first and the second, dances it can only be described as chaotic but also incredibly funny to watch, as people went in all directions at once and those who chose to sit and watch shrieked with laughter.

Order was restored with teaching of a Circassian Circle dance. There were so many willing participants that two concentric circles were needed.

Cathy sang and taught a song she had learnt many years ago from Adnyamathanha Aboriginal people in the Flinders Ranges, concerning bush tucker and people with rumbling tums. In response to a request for an Aussie folk song from an American lady visitor, friend of STARS committee member Liz Boydell, we continued a rousing afternoon with a rousing rendition of Home Among the Gum Trees and finished with a kids' version of When The Saints Go Marching In.

The afternoon was a great success and will very likely be followed by a similar event next year, though we will need a space bigger than the Waverley Homestead room.

Rae is third from the right.

Teaching the Israeli dance

Partial chaos

Total chaos

Order is restored

Kathy and Dave sing with Rae accompanying on flute. Russell Jevons of pizza fame dances in the background with his wife.

Dave dancing the Grapevine figure with Nancy Weisbrodt, who it turns out was his English teacher in high school, many years ago.