I had the wonderful opportunity to learn with two masters of Yiddish dance at Yiddish New York – Zev Feldman and Jill Gellerman. The workshop with Feldman focused on the Chusidl melodies of klezmer music (with expert live accompaniment by Christian Crowder and Zilien Biret) covering the styles of rhythmic dance gesture and circling that accompany these tunes. Here is Feldman in action in Russia:
Gellerman had over twenty musicians jamming at Yiddish New York behind her and lead a large group in line dances and other wedding style dances that were a total delight. Here’s a sample of her teaching style from a class in Poland:
The New York based dancers Sarah Myerson and Yehudah Hyman were part of the day, as was the dance master I study with in Philadelphia – Steve Weintraub. It was a total joy for me to be shvitzing on the dance floor with such a learned group of dancers.
A Personal Reflection:
Earlier this month I had the great pleasure to lead Klezmer Aerobics for a private party for the organization Syria Supper Club. You can learn more about the organization here. Let me just say that it is an inspiring grassroots effort to promote kindness and hospitality across cultural and religious divides. The event was hosted by B’nai Keshet in Montclair, and seated at large round tables were many Syrian refugee families as well as volunteers for Syria Supper Club. Over two hundred people danced an abbreviated form of Klezmer Aerobics featuring live music by Debra Caplan and Craig Levine and simultaneous Arabic translation of the dance instruction. It was really wonderful to see such a diverse group of people smiling and having fun communicating with movement. I did not take any videos or photos of the event, but here is some cell phone footage from one of the volunteers!
Shvitzin’ in Silverlake!
West Coast shvitzing has begun. Some serious dance-induced body perspiration happened under the ceiling lights of Studio A Dance on Hyperian Avenue (two blocks from the groovy Hyperian theater.) A wonderful dance studio with an open-air feel made for a blissful night of klezmer jams, both mournful and joyous.
Klezmer Aerobics is featured in an article titled Crazy for Klezmer in this summer’s edition of On Wisconsin magazine. The magazine, which is the official alumni magazine for the University of Wisconsin, reaches a half a million Badgers.
Pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade students filled the gymnasium of the Golda Och Academy in West Orange, New Jersey on a cold winter morning for a high-energy 45 minute Shvitz! The children especially enjoyed the show within the show entitled “The Chicken Dreams of Flight” but honestly – they were pulling off amazing dance moves all morning! Thank you Gena Jarmel and Paula Spack for making this happen! Here’s a photo of the dancers…
Check out the Golda Och Academy – it is a wonderful school!
Thank you to the Sid Jacobson JCC for a fantastic SHVITZ!
Klezmer Aerobics held a private show in Pompton Plains, New Jersey for the 130 acre 1,500 + unit retirement Mecca of Cedar Crest. The Jewish Council brought over sixty residents together — INCLUDING THIS AMAZING WOMAN WHO IS 100 YEARS OLD — and we all enjoyed a Klezmer Aerobics mid-day shvitz!
“Hello Mudda! Hello Fadda!” This Klezmer Aerobics session took place at midnight, when the campers were tucked away in their bunk beds, and a few of the staff could come out for a late night shvitz. The spot? Camp Tel Yehudah in Barryville, New York. The dance moves? Gevaldik!
Klezmer Aerobics has been featured in the select guide to cultural events (Spare Times) in the Weekend Arts section of the New York Times. From the Times:
If you’ve ever danced at a Jewish wedding and thought you had a great workout, you might be interested in this free interactive family performance. Geared to children 5 and older, it features Daniel Brenner, a rabbi, storyteller and aerobics instructor, who will be engaging audiences with a tale about a dancer, the Old Badchen, and his apprentice, Levi. Presented by Art Kibbutz, a Jewish artists group with summer studios on Governors Island, it will be accompanied by lively klezmer music and plenty of movement.
Art Kibbutz – a volunteer-driven Jewish artists’ community, residency, and a hub that offers 70+ artists of all mediums, ages, backgrounds, nationalities, and affiliations opportunities to explore universal issues through a Jewish artistic lens hosted Klezmer Aerobics at its summer studios on Governors Island, NYC. The event was featured on the website of Governors Island, NYC GO – The Official Guide, City Guide NY, and was selected as a top event pick by DeVivre, The Ish, and Art Nerd NY.