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Dancemasters

Many of the yizkor books that have been placed online at www.jewishgen.org have references to dancemasters.  Below are a number of those excerpts.  A reference to a dancemaster can also be found in Ruth Rubin's Voices of a People The Story of Yiddish Folksong in the dance songs chapter.

http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Dzialoszyce/dzi126.html
Yizkor Book of the Jewish Community
in Dzialoszyce and Surroundings
(Dzialoszyce, Poland
   There were days, sometimes the days between the first and last days of a holiday, when an idea would originate with one of the active youths to organize an evening of entertainment. And then we would approach the leader of the orchestra, Abraham Lokaj, and we would organize an evening of plays, comedy, and dance. We would plan a spontaneous program that would be carried out with the active participation of the drama circles. Abraham Lokaj organized the family orchestra, and the youth spent a pleasant evening with singing and dancing until the morning hours. In the intermissions between singing and dancing, we would raffle off items that were collected from the citizens of the town.
   There was a time when the youth became passionate about the current faddish dances, and this mania took hold of almost the entire youth of the town. They brought in a dance teacher by the name of Kohl, from Kielce, and he was the one who began giving dance lessons to many of the boys and girls.
   This fact encouraged the arrangement of all types of balls, mostly dancing balls. And these balls attracted a very large concentration of diversified youth belonging to the many different youth movements. The first ones who learned how to dance were Gitma Richter, Josek Tauman, Blumcia Zylber, Ester Zylber, and others.
   During a later period, the “dance master” Avramcze appeared, and through his lessons, many boys and girls learned how to dance the modern dances. Perec Dutkiewicz also continued the teaching of dancing. A gentile player by the name of Filipowski accompanied these lessons by playing on the violin, and he was the one who set the rhythms that were necessary for the dance steps. The names of the dances that they learned were: the Charleston, the Shimmy, the Step Dance, the Quadrille, the English Waltz, the Ladies Waltz, and others.

http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/rzeszow/rze214.html
Rzeszow Community Memorial Book
(Poland)
50°03' / 22°00'
Kehilat Raysha sefer zikaron
Edited by: M. Yari-Wold
Published in Tel Aviv, by Former residents of Rzeszow in Israel and the USA, 1967 (H,Y,E)
Weddings
   A wedding was an event in the life of a family that was prepared for over many months. The tailors and sewers prepared clothing and white bed linens (“oysshteier” Yiddish). One week before the weddings, the women whose jobs were such began to prepare baked goods, pastries (“Lekach” and “Flodn” [54]), cookies and dainties in a variety of shapes, baked and fried with professionalism. The extended families
{221} of the bride and groom gathered from the towns of the area. This family gathering participated in the prayers on the Sabbath preceding the wedding, when the groom was called up for an aliya to the Torah. An opening party (“Forshpiel”) took place at the end of the Sabbath. Friends were invited to take part in the joy of the bride and groom. They received their invitation cards with the heading “The voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the voice of joy and the voice of happiness”. The ceremony was conducted with great splendor. Many tears of joy and sadness were shed as they cut the hair of the bride [55]. The jester succeeded to entertain the guests with verses and rhymes. The “Sheva Brachot” celebration took place for seven days in honor of the young couple. The rabbi conducted the chuppa [56] marriage ceremony for the important people of the city. For the simple folk, the judges or other rabbis, who were qualified for this purpose, conducted the ceremony. Well-known bands played popular and Hassidic tunes “dvinot valachlech”. Mottel Krebs was the fiddler, and Leib Bass played his instrument, with the accompaniment of flute and clarinet players. At the more modern weddings, Fishbein's (a dance teacher) group played tunes of Polonaise, Quadrille, Waltz, and Polka, and the youth danced. As was the custom in those days, wedding organizers served the guests. These were not simple waiters, but bearded Jews who were called “Sarvarim” (from the Franco-Latin word “service”). The most famous of them were the Schwartzbart family (who immigrated to America already in my youth) and the Szynweiter family.

http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/bobruisk/byb139.html 
Memorial Book of the Community of Bobruisk
and its Surroundings
(Belarus)
53 °09' / 29°14'
Translation from: Bobruisk; sefer zikaron le-kehilat Bobruisk u-veneteha
Edited by: Y. Slutski, Former Residents of Bobruisk in Israel and the USA
Published in Tel-Aviv, 1967
 Besides the general theater there also used to come visiting the Jewish theaters, which were strongly ongoing in the Jewish world. We have news of a visit of Avraham Goldfaden's troupe in Bobruisk (April 1881). The troupe appeared six times and performed the famous plays from the beginning of the Yiddish theater: Koldunie (The Sorceress), Breyndele Kozak, Dvoshe the Spletnitse, etc. In 1887 there came to the city Tantsman's troupe and they played for a full house Doctor Almosada.
   It is clear that all this news was fortuitous, because the Yiddish theater was, as is known, illegal in those years and forbidden to advertise.
   In 1892 we hear already about a local amateur troupe in which participated educated young people of the city and High School seniors. The troupe organized an evening for charity purposes. In that year is was already so far away, that they brought from afar two dance teachers, and "Jewish daughters learned to lift their legs and hop as one must." They taught song and dance for a small price, an hour a day, with them stood together "some two or three bokherim." The subjects of study were not interrupted even in the nine days; and Yosef Dobkin, the reporter from the Tribune, discovered the secret, that "also on Tishe-vov they danced. And not only Jewish daughters, but really bokherim and maidens together


http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Borszczow/bor002.html
The Book of Bortschoff
(Borszczow, Ukraine)
48°48' / 26°03'
Translation of Sefer Borszczow
Edited by: N. Blumenthal
Published in Tel Aviv, 1960
How They Spent Leisure Time
By Shlomo Reibel
Translated by Miriam Beckerman
Edited by Myrna Neuringer Levy
   In the years before World War I young people started to perform. Around the year 1910, the first play was put on and it was Moshe Richter's comedy, “Moshe the Tailor.” This was performed with great success. The boys and girls acted no worse than the professional actors who used to come to Borchov. For many years, there was talk about how so-and- so performed. People would sing the melodies that were heard on the stage.
   The admission monies from such plays were given to a “worthy cause.” In order to increase the income they would arrange a dance evening with surprises where boys and girls used to dance well into the dawn.
   Orthodox Jews, very observant Jews, were not particularly inspired by this new activity. Nevertheless, the forward - looking ladies used to go to these performances and dance evenings, as “guards” for their growing daughters.
   Up to that time girls would dance only among themselves. For instance [they would dance] a quadrille where one woman led the dance and gave the calls. “One lady forward,” etc. They would dance only at weddings.
Because of the new behavior they hired a dance teacher and every mother considered it her duty that her daughter learn the new dances because shortly there would be a new [dance] evening and the daughter might, God forbid, remain at home. The small shtetls around Borchov did not lag behind: Coralivka, Skala, Aszieron.

http://www.jewishgen.org/Yizkor/klezmer/kle268.html
PARYSOW (P). Sefer Porisov (Parysow; A Memorial to the Jewish Community of Parysow, Poland*). Ed.: Y. Granastein. Tel Aviv, Former Residents of Parysow in Israel, 1971. (Hebrew, Yiddish) "A Wedding in Town," by Melekh Poskinski, pp. 152-53. (Yiddish)
In Parysow there were different wedding customs that were observed. One included hiring a gentile called the "red shaygetz," who led the mixed dances.


http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/z/zyb-11.htm
The Zambrów Yizkor Book
The English Translation
Courtesy of the United Zembrover Society
Copyright 1963 by the United Zembrover Society,  Inc. of New York, NY, USA.
From My Childhood World
By Yom-Tov Levinsky

A.  Words, Songs and Folk Expressions
Tantz- Klass – In the Zambrow dance class, the dance master would admonish the boys and the girls, who were not dancing well, and said to them in the tune and cadence of a waltz:

‘Herrn und Damen, a klog tzu eikh!
Goyishe keplakh vaksn auf eikh!’

Ladies & Gentlemen, woe unto you!
You are developing gentile intelligence!

The girls would then retort, using the same melody:

‘Hot nisht faribl, mir gehen nisht gikh,
Vyl mir hodn tserisseneh shikh!’

Please don’t blame us for not moving spritely,
Because we have torn shoes!

http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Ternovka/ter059.html
Our Town Ternovka;
Chapters of Remembrance and a Monument
(Ternivka, Ukraine)
Translation of
Ayaratenu Ternovka; pirkei zikaron ve-matseva
Editor: G. Bar-Zvi
Published in Tel Aviv 1972


57. Joyful Occasions and Entertainment in the Shtetl
One year a “dance instructor” appeared in the shtetl and offered dancing lessons in one of the halls. Apparently the news of the success of the “dance instructor” reached another “dance instructor” and one fine day another “dance instructor” appeared and he too offered dancing lessons. At first there was competition between them, but afterward they made peace and cooperated, and the competition ended.