Lenusz, a Polish affectional diminutive for Leonard

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Lenusz, a Polish affectional diminutive for Leonard

Post  lenusz on Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:14 pm

My mother taught me the Polka, Oberek, and Waltz when I was 4. Shortly after that, she enrolled me in a Polish performing group. This was in Detroit, where I was born and grew up. In the 7th grade, after transferring to a public school from a Polish Catholic school, I met some other Slavic kids (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Croatian). We agreed to exchange, I would take them to the Polish events and teach them Polish Polka, Oberek, and Waltz, and each of them, in turn, would take us to their events and teach us their dances. These dances were the basic dances, no made-up dances. It worked really well, Detroit at that time had a lot of ethnic dance bands and a lot of small dance halls. So on Thursday thru Sunday, the major problem was having too many choices, if we go to this one, then we miss these, and that was a fabulous problem to have. Well, I eventually had to leave Detroit and go to Ann Arbor, U of M, to get my college degree. I came home on weekends frequently, I needed my dancing fix, school was ridiculously hard, and Ann Arbor was only 35 miles from Dearborn. After I graduated, I got my orders to report for active duty in the Air Force, and ended up in Waco, Texas. No dancing to speak of, except for a small Czech town called West, just bordering Waco. Well, after 3 years, I got out of the Air Force and got a job in Central California. I used to go to either San Francisco or Los Angeles for the weekends, but it was literally a desert for dancing, compared to Detroit. But it was during this time, that I first heard that there was such a thing like folkdancing. I must have been about 25 by then. Anyway, I got another job, this one in the San Francisco-San Jose area, and found several places to dance "Balkan". I even joined a couple of performing groups, but by the time I had left Detroit, I was tired of performing groups, and after about a year or so in the bay area, I just quit them. Dancing frequency was pretty good, we had a ratty old hall (Sokol Hall....of course), John Filcich was teaching a lot of basic Croatian and Serbian, and of course, he had the Kolo Festival going. There was also John Skow, John Britz, and Vilma Machette. So it was good and that lasted for about 10 years until Lockheed started having problems, so I got another job, this one in Seattle, I thought I'd stay a year and then get back to California when things picked up, that was 40 years ago, and I'm still here. We had one group, Circle, that lasted 35 years before the members either died or were physically unable or unwilling to dance anymore. Our present group at Greenlake is about 45 years old, used to be the UDub group until it got evicted because no students to speak of were attending. My focus has been on Balkan dances. I like Serbian and Macedonian best, especially Macedonian-American. I try to go to as many festivals as possible, I'm not really wild about teachers/teaching, mostly, because we know so many dances that if you never repeated, it would take you 2 years to do them all if you had one 4 hour party a week.


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