The Dutch dancers had the opportunity to perform twice this spring. One very hot Sunday in April, we danced at the Van Wickle House to celebrate the Dutch Queen’s birthday. It was the first time that the Meadows Foundation organized this event. Overall, it was a little too hot for most of us to really appreciate all the work that had gone in organizing this event. Remember that most of us wear costumes that originate in the Netherlands, woolen skirts with aprons, five or six layers on the top, and a hat. The costumes are not something you would normally wear in 90-degree weather. The dancing went well considering all these facts. We just hope that Mother Nature holds back a little next year.
We were anticipating dancing at our annual trip to Hofstra University’s Tulip Festival, but they had decided to change their activities to a jazz festival. We regret that; there are not that many original Dutch schools or universities around here where we could otherwise do some dancing at events. We always had great fun at Hofstra (once we made it through the traffic on the Belt Parkway), including eating the zeppoles and buying Dutch goodies at the Kaas and Co. stand. Mostly, we will miss a great dinner together, which we always had after we were done with the dancing.
We did have another opportunity to dance, though. The Historical Museum in Kingston, NY, invited us to dance at their festival on Jun 13th. We had a grand time. We danced twice: the first time we showed some dances and then invited the kids standing around to join us. They enjoyed that, if the smiles on their faces were any indication. After a little break and a lunch, we were asked to dance some more. This time they even had an English country music group that played our songs, so we had the opportunity to dance with live music. This meant we had to drop some dances from our program, but it is such a great opportunity to dance with live music that we did not want to miss this. It is a challenge as well, as we had never worked with them before, and you should have seen the faces of the dancers when they played Riepe riepe garste. The first part of the dance was in our regular tempo, rather slow but nice so you can clap our hands with the song. Surprise, surprise when they played the second part; it was at least double our normal tempo. That made the dance much more fun for everybody: more exercise for the dancers, and more interesting to look at for the audience. We stumbled a little over own feet the first seconds, as we did not anticipate this, of course. I hope that for some of our future performances we can find some players that have the sheet music of our dances.
Thank you, Dutch Dancers, for all your dancing feet and willingness to do so in hot or cold weather!