The Northwest Folk Dancer
of the Parking Lot
Outdoor Dancing Wins the Day
by Jim Gold
How can we folk dance with fellow humans during the corona virus pandemic? That is the question.
Here’s an answer: Dancing in parking lots!
These days, when indoors is out, and outdoors is in, dancing in parking lots is the answer.
Folk dancing outdoors, in parking lots, is the short-term way of refreshing mind, body, and spirit, during corona virus shut-down/lock-out. It’s an invigorating way to dance long-term, too, non-pandemic times.
My new adventure in outdoor dancing started with corona pandemic. My initial reaction was: Close down the entire economy over a mere virus? Insane, crazy,. Totally insane. Our politicians would never do it.
But then they did!
I felt stunned. Then, after I realized a shut-down was actually happening, came total rage and panic. My world shut down. My tour, folk dance business, and social life totally lost.
Some dancers immediately went to Zoom. But the Zoom experience only reminded me of all the things I had lost, like holding hands in the circle, , smiling at each other, dancing with friends, laughing, hugging each other, joyous folk dance yelps, cries, and more.
To save myself from this noxious unbalance and disharmony, I decided to retreat, give up folk dancing for a while, and use this hermetic time to work on personal projects.
Months rolled by. Finally, in September I had finished all my projects. A gust of cool, inner September wind cleansed my brain, which said, to my happy amazement, “Time to go back to work!”
But I had no work.
“Great,” I said. “But how can I go back to work when I have no work?” This question inspired me to call all the venues where I had taught folk dancing so I could restart my classes. All venues were closed. No indoor events allowed.
What to do?
A local group, the Tenafly Dancers, started by Ginny Brandmaier, and led by Annette and Josef Machac, decided to dance outdoors in a Tenafly park. My wife and I attended the event. What a pleasure! Fun and joy reborn. To meet, greet, and dance once more with actual human beings, to elbow folk dance friends with the “new handshake.” I cried with happiness.
Yes, I said. This is the way to go.
Our local Fairleigh Dickinson University has a beautiful parking lot next to the scenic Hackensack River. Wide and spacious and unused (classes at FDU were now all on line.), I decided this was the place to dance.
After a couple of trial runs with a few friends, we scheduled our first Parking Lot dance for Sunday, September 6th.
About thirty folk dancers showed up with sparks of enthusiasm shining in their eyes. Such happy faces! Although we couldn’t see each other’s faces since everyone wore masks, I knew there were many smiles and happy faces beneath those masks. We all had a great time, and at the end folks hugged each other through their elbows. A grand success!
We planned new classes for Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.
It is a great joy to dance in parking lots.
However, problems can occur.
Our first took place when the university police arrived during one of our dance sessions. They watched while we danced Hasapico Athens, and a kolo from Novi Sad, Serbia. But finally, in the middle of the classic Miserlou, they stopped us and said we needed permission from the university to use their parking lot. So I applied for permission. But the provost denied it, saying due to the virus, they forbid all activities in their parking lot.
As a result, we spent the day looking for other lots in Teaneck and neighboring towns. Finally, from our many options, we settled on Teaneck’s Lowell Elementary School’s lot, which is more private, spacious, and beautiful in its own way. I called the administration several times and got mixed answers. I’m hoping we can stay there. But if we can’t, I’ve got lots of other parking lot options lined up. Our vagabond group of folk dancers are ready to move to the next location, if necessary.
Parking lot dancing is a winner. I recommend it for now and all times to help balance mind, body, and bring joy to the pandemic-battered soul. What a pleasure to breath fresh air, be kissed by the sun, greet folk dance friends and neighbors, and to live and thrive once again.
For those of you who can make it here to northern New Jersey in time, see the invitation to our Outdoor Bergen County Folk Dance schedule below.
Lots of luck! May the only virus infecting you be the folk dance virus.
See you dancing,
We’re meeting this Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 for folk dancing.
Come on down for a great afternoon of folk dance fresh air and fun.
Heal your soul while you heel your sole.
Our Outdoor Folk Dance Schedule is attached and below.
See you dancing!
Fresh Air Folk Dance Association (FAFDA) Presents
Outdoor Folk Dancing
with Jim Gold
Wednesday, November 18, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 29, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ,
NEW LOCATION: Lowell Elementary School, Teaneck, NJ
★ Outdoor folk dancing
★ Breathe fresh air. Meet and dance with real people
★ Flexibility in dance and mind
★ Masks and social distancing
★ Bring your own lawn chairs, water, good shoes or sneakers
Driving directions to Lowell Elementary School. Teaneck, NJ.
Drive East or West on Route 4 to River Road exit in Teaneck. Upon exiting go south on River Rd. Make left on Ramapo Road. Drive straight for two blocks to Lowell School . Turn left. Drive about 50 feet, then turn right into parking lot.
Outdoor Bergen Country Folk Dance Schedule
1. Wednesday: Folk Dancing with Jim Gold
3:00-4:30 p.m. Dates: November 18, 25, December 2, 9, 16
Lowell Elementary School parking lot in Teaneck, NJ. See above directions.
2. Thursday: Folk Dancing with Annette and Josef Machac
9:30-11:00 a.m. Dates: Nov 19. Oresko Park, Tenafly, NJ
3. Sunday Folk Dancing with Jim Gold
3:00-4:30 p.m. Dates: November 29, December 13: Lowell Elementary School parking lot.
4. Sunday Folk Dancing in Paramus. Annette and Josef Machac
3:00-4:30 p.m. Dates: Nov 22. Unitarian Church, Paramus, NJ
Suggested donation of $5 for each folk dance event. Weather permitting.
Participation at your own risk. Jim Gold is member of National Folk Organization..
Jim Gold: email@example.com (201) 836-0362 www.jimgold.com
Annette Berger-Machac: firstname.lastname@example.org