The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Professor Albert "Al" Pill, teacher of Mexican and international dance.
Al Pill, born June 12, 1924, collected Early Spanish-California (Californio) and regional Mexican dances from 1953.
Al became a member of the Padual Hills performing group in the early 1950s, wher he first learned about Mexican dance and culture. He served on the Research and Standardization Committee of the Folk Dance Federation of California (South).
Al was a regular instructor at the Idyllwild Folk Dance Workshop, the Santa Barbara Folk Dance Conference, and the Stockton Folk Dance Camp, and was a popular teacher at institutes all over the West coast in the 1950s, 1960s, and into the 1970s.
Al traveled to Mexico during the mid-1950s to research many of the dances from the villages. He later taught them to dancers in California.
In addition to Mexican dance, Al specialized in Israeli dance during its infancy in Los Angeles, and danced in exhibition groups of the then Israeli Student Organization. He taught both Israeli and Jewish dance at the Sinai Temple Sunday School in Los Angeles.
Upon receiving his degree as a teacher, he taught at Redondo Beach City schools during the 1950s, and in his spare time, started a folk dance group in the area that later became the South Bay Folk Dancers.
He received his masters degree in the early 1960s from UCLA, then moved to Oaxaca, Mexico in 1962 where he taught school for several years. While teaching in Oaxaca, he met and maried Elena on September 6, 1965, in Oaxaca.
Al retired from teaching at California State University at Fullerton around 1988, but he continued to teach special workshops in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.
Al and Elena were married for 32 yers and they had two children, David and Rosa, as well as a grandchild. Al had a heart attack and died from complications seven days after byass surgery on his 74th birthday, June 12, 1998.
Al contributed greatly to our understanding of Mexican dance and culture.
Among Al's articles and publications is
Dances Al taught include Adarim, Al Tiruni, Baile Norteño, Bat Yiftach, Chilena Guerrerense, Chotis de la Frontera, Circassian Circle, Cumberland Square, Danza Azteca, El Barretero, El Borrego, El Indio de Colima, El Mosquito, El Panadero, El Shotis de Durango, El Shotis Viejo, El Sombrero Blanco, Flor de Naranjo, Flor de Piña, Frailachs, Jarabe Alegre, Jarabe Ejuteco, Jarabe Ranchero, Jennie Crack Corn, Kuma Echa, La Bruja, La Contradanza de Arteaga, La Cucaracha, La Indita Tapatia, La Jesusita, La Joaquinta, La Marieta, La Mazurca Mexicana, La Moreliana, La Paloma, La Redova, La Rielera, La Sinforosa, La Suriana, Las Alazanas, Las Cuadrillas del Norte, Las Virginias, Los Aires Nacionales, Madrid, Ma Navu, Mexican Polka, Mi Pecosita, Mixteca Yucateca, Naranja Dulce, Polka de Ataño, Polka de Monterrey, Pllka Norteña, Son Huasteco, Tehuantepec, Vehaya K'Etz Shatul, Yesusun Midbar, and Zambay Macho.
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