SFDH Logo (tiny)

The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Cincinnati Folk Dancing

By Faith Schottenfeld Zavon, March 13, 1972

[ Home | About | Encyclopedia |
| Publications | Members ]


Faith Schottenfeld Zavon

Faith Schottenfeld Zavon of Cincinnati, Ohio, was born on September 13, 1923 and passed on September 18, 2021 at the age of 98. She was a prolific writer. Faith was born in Brooklyn and graduated with a BA in science from Brooklyn College. She married and raised four children, working over the years as a food chemist, a bacteriologist, a court reporter, and a legal secretary. She also taught a course in logic at the University of Cincinnati. Faith was a friend of the Society of Folk Dance Historians founder, Ron Houston.

Here is one of her folk dance essays.

Last night I went folk dancing at Blanche's Group. She is not well and needs help. Both Bill C. and I took care of the program. Talk about intense drama and noble behavior, it was all there – but not showing. Only those who are old timers in that group have an understanding of this. To the new-comers it was just a very pleasant, vigorous, ordinary evening of dancing.

I was sitting out a few dances towards the end of the evening, because I am fighting to get over a cold before I enter the hospital. And what did I see before me – Leo – almost eighty – still active as a folk dancer, a participant in plays – a traveler – knowing that for him death is more immanent than ever before because of his age. Still a smiling, happy, very social man. We all love him and never notice the deformity of his jaw. He is just Leo to us and even to the young crowd at Dave F.'s group. Julie went to Dave's group one evening and told me when she came home that no one my age or older was there. Two days after that I met Leo at Scottish Country Dancing. He told me he had seen Julie at Dave's group. I was surprised to hear that in view of Julie's comment. When I told her about my conversation with Leo and asked her why she had said that no older people were there she replied, "Oh, I just think of Leo as one of us."

Blanche – suffering from phlebitis, which she had about two years ago. She is all broken out in black and blue marks, because the doctor hadn't checked her blood as frequently as he should have. She waddles when she walks. She finds it hard to sit. Yet she is fiercely carrying on. She is still the leader of the folk dance group – very much concerned about its future – she will not give in to misfortune. She says, "I must go on, because there is only one alternative and I don't like it." She did dance a little and looked good. But, oh, the pain to see her as she is now and to remember the times past when she never sat down, but enjoyed herself to the fullest at every dance.

There was Betty V. – trim and attractive and wracked with arthritis – not any more dancing for her, because of that – yet she did one dance – but she was careful to stand between two people (in the line) that knew her condition and would not tug at her fingers. Jim, her husband was killed in a plane crash two years ago – an overwhelming loss to all who knew him. Yet Betty takes time to choose the clothes to make herself attractive – her hair is cared for beautifully – she works full time teaching remedial reading – and she presents a pleasant visage to the world.

And there is Bill C., the man who is living "on borrowed time." Thirty years old, but lithe and trim as an eighteen year old boy/youth. Amber hair and mustache – he was in that crash with Jim and Bill's fiancée was there who also died. That Bill lived was not the only miracle – he WALKED to the nearest farm house for help. How he knew the direction in which to go, only God can tell. He is a hemophiliac, but didn't start to bleed until he was in the Operating Room. No serious injuries, but various breaks and strains on non-vital parts. Now he is married and about to become a father any day. When I look at him I know there must be a God somewhere. One would have to be a fool to hear him relate what happened to him and still not believe in God. He is carrying on – changed his career from being a gym teacher and studying ballet to being a kindergarten teacher. Four months after the crash he was at University of Cincinnati summer school taking nineteen credits in order to get his masters degree for kindergarten teaching.

Who knows what drama the newcomers are or were involved in. Almost everyone could be the subject of a gripping story, but we don't know such things about everyone.

This page © 2018 by Ron Houston.
Please do not copy any part of this page without including this copyright notice.
Please do not copy small portions out of context.
Please do not copy large portions without permission from Ron Houston.