The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
Ed Kremers Sr.
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From 1943 to 1944, Ed was the second president of the Folk Dance Federation of California. Although he started social dancing in the early 1920s at age 12, Ed began folk and square dancing in Lucile Czarnowski's class in 1941. It was Ed who started the Federation's two-page mimeographed publication under the name "Federation Folk Dancer" that was soon renamed Lets Dance! magazine, as Michael Herman had a publication in New York called the "Folk Dancer."
In those years, there were very few folk dance teachers and practically no square dance callers. Ed was one of the first in both fields, and through his example, many were inspired to follow suit.
After World War II, in 1946, Ed opened up a folk dance record shop, Ed Kremer's Festival Folk Shop, to cater to the needs of the rapidly growing numbers of folk dancers in northern California. It was Ed who stepped in to fund the publishing committee when the Federation didn't have enough in the coffers to finance the first volumes of dance descriptions, Dances from Near and Far. Ed also approached record companies to explain the advantages to them of pressing records.
Ed, alone, attended all 50 of the first Stockton Folk Dance Camps, teaching, calling squares, and vending.
To keep his vast store of knowledge current, Ed ordered, as recently as September, 1997, all the Society videos. He continued to teach seniors and kids and to volunteer with the Salvation Army, and I'm sure he was almost as surprised as the rest of us when he had to curtail his activities.
Whenever a need arose for a folk dance teacher, caller, or master of ceremonies, there was Ed ready, willing, and able to step in and fill the gap . . . right up until the day he passed away on July 23, 1998. Perhaps Ed's greatest legacy to the dance movement may have been through his son, Ed Kremers Jr., who wrote, "I agree, my Dad was a special person. I am a full time traveling caller; must be in the blood." Though a cliché, it's still true: "We shall not look upon his like again." The world of folk dance commerce will never be the same.
From what I have heard from others and experienced myself during dealings with Ed since 1988, he was an exemplary folk dance vendor while in sole practice. He worked hard to satisfy his customers, sold the best material he had, and dealt honorably. In a 1994 restructuring of the business, Ed sent to the Society Archives many boxes of fascinating books, sound recordings, and documents.
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