The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Loui Tucker, teacher of Israeli and international dance.
Loui Tucker arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971 and, drawing on a high school and college background in modern dance, quickly found her way into local international folk dance circles. At one point, for an exhausting four months, she took dance classes four nights a week and found at least one dance party a week to attend while working full-time. "I was obsessed and addicted. I wanted to learn every dance in the repertoire yesterday!"
Within a few years, she discovered a particular fondness and affinity for the dances of Israel, and began to specialize. Over the years, she has also dabbled in square dance, belly dance, contras, and ballroom dance.
While still teaching at a junior high school in the 1970s, she formed an after-school international folk dance club which grew to over two dozen students and included a short community performance each spring. In 1980 she decided to start her first adult dance class.
Loui continues to be both a generalist and a specialist. Her popular international folk dance class on Thursday nights in Saratoga, California, attracts 50 dancers each week and the group celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010. She also teaches an Israeli dance class on Mondays in Sunnyvale, which recently celebrated its 28th anniversary and regularly brings together more than 100 dancers. Her expertise in Israeli dance has made it possible for her to teach at Stockton Dance Camp, Camp Hess Kramer, the Camellia Festival, the Festival of the Oaks, as well as other workshops and events.
Having her feet on both Israeli and international dance floors gives her an unusual perspective on both types of dance, and she frequently finds herself defending each of them against attacks by the other. After learning a Bulgarian dance and a Serbian dance at a festival, an Israeli dancer will say, 'Oh, those international folk dances are all too easy and so repetitive, one simple pattern done over and over and over!' Based on the half-dozen Israeli dances in their local repertoire, an international folk dancer will say, 'I’m not that interested in learning Israeli dances because they just are not complex enough for my taste, and they all look and sound pretty much the same.'
"It amazes me that dancers will make snap judgments about a dance form with insufficient input. You wouldn’t say 'Italian food is all pasta, oregano, and tomato sauce' based on a few trips to a local restaurant, but dancers will judge a dance style based on a handful of dances or one night of dancing at a party."
In the 1990s Loui wrote many dance-related articles for The Grapevine, a newsletter devoted to Israeli folk dance. One of those articles was "Are You a Dance-aholic?" Once it was posted on the internet, it quickly took on a life of its own. It was translated into at least four languages, adapted and added to for several other types of dance, and edited for production on a t-shirt!
Her collection of written dance notations once filled eight linear feet of binders on a shelf in the garage. They have since been scanned and reside on a few CDs. She also has a large collection of LPs, 45s, cassettes, CDs, DVDs, and videos dating from the 1980s.
Loui currently writes for Let's Dance magazine, published by the Folk Dance Federation of California (North), and her articles are frequently reprinted in other dance-related publications. Most recently she wrote a series of articles about how to start, grow, and maintain a dance group. Another project involved soliciting input on a bumper-sticker slogan, and then having the bumper-stickers designed, produced, and distributed to international folk dancers for free.
Loui served as President of the Northern California Folk Dance Federation (2009-2011). She is also an active member of the National Folk Organization and maintains its website. In 2009 she joined the Committee that runs Stockton Folk Dance Camp.
"I feel so blessed that what essentially started out as my hobby is now my exercise program, my social community, and an income source! My goal is to continue to promote and energize this activity that has so enriched my life."
Loui is the author of many articles, many on this site, including:
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