SFWS Harvest Family Dance- Enriching the Spirit of Community

This year's all school Harvest celebration - a "Harvest Family Dance & Dinner" held on Saturday, November 9th at the GS, drew a full house with ages ranging from 2 to 80+. Young children, teenagers, parents, teachers, and grandparents came together. Harvest themes of pumpkins and squash, hay bales with wheelbarrows, and maple leaves, along with live traditional music, transformed Dakin Hall into Dakin "Barn" for the evening.

The festivities began with an 8th grade fundraiser - a delicious harvest dinner of soup, salad, apple crisp, and cider in the foyer of Dakin Hall. In a relaxed and colorful atmosphere, families ate together by candlelight and enjoyed each other's company.

The Harvest Dance then opened with caller Erik Hoffman gathering the community into a large circle dance. Leaping into the center with this fiddle, Erik called, “Alleman left... alleman right... into the center... do-si-do your partner.... and promenade.” All ages joined hands and peels of laughter could be heard for the rest of the evening, as Erik guided the community through a range of dances including: The Virginia Reel (without the reel); Rural Felicity (a variant of The Flying Scotsman); and some Kentucky Running Set figures such as Circles and Stars, Duck for the Oyster, Birdie in the Cage, La Escoba (the New Mexican version of The Broom Dance), Sasha, The Orcadian Strip the Willow (a Scottish dance), and several waltzes.

Music was performed by Erik Thor and Hands Four, with Ingrid Noyes on banjo and accordion, Michael Harmon on guitar, and Erik Hoffman on fiddle. Throughout the evening, the band welcomed our school community musicians to join them on stage. Parents John Hoffsis and Joshua Sondheimer played guitar and students Jeremy Engels (Gr 9), Isabella Daniels (Gr 5), Ariel Ratsep (Gr5), Aidan Sondheimer (Gr 4), and Delilah Daniels (Gr 2) played violin.

One of the prime inspirations for the event was the Krikorian Folk Dancing Fund, which was established last June by the GS class of 2013. The class set up this fund in honor of their class teacher Deborah Krikorian who is an avid folk dancer and one who has strived to keep folk dancing alive at SFWS. Many of her students, now in high school, came to the dance and even our dear Ms. Krikorian kicked up her heels on the dance floor!

Folk dancing with live music brings warmth, joy, and a connecting spirit to a community. Monika Leitz, an 8th grade parent and the GS Eurythmy teacher, and I organized this event out of a love for folk music and with the wish to build a stronger community through music and dance. We hope to schedule more folk music events at SFWS.

If you are interested in joining this effort, please contact us. We currently have a Winter Family Dance of contra and circle dances scheduled for Saturday, February 8th at the GS Dakin Hall.

A special thanks to everyone who helped put on this event! With a warm round of applause to the 8th grade class and their parents; Natalie Wong, a HS senior, who drew all of the harvest images for promoting the event; Seraph White for making the flyer and webpage; Cory Powers and Rein Ratsep for setting the stage and lights; Steven King and Justin Ganz for their support; and our 9th grade students Chloe Taylor, Melanie Beavan-Szabo, Spencer Nemetz, Olivia Dreilinger, Sidra Hitching, Garrett Price, Jeremy Engels, and Maya King for their enthusiastic support at the dance.

- Mary Anne McGill, 4th grade parent & HS librarian