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Russian-Jewish Music and Dance

On Dec. 18th, I had a great opportunity. 


I went to a concert of a Jewish, Moldavian, Rumanian and Russian music at Plummer Park in West Hollywood with my poet friend Julia Stein and her scientist friend Erika.  Yiddishkayt Los Angeles produced this event. 


The sweet but melancholic melody of clarinet and accordion mesmerized me and soon festive mood filled the hall.  Four or five women began dancing in the back.  I clapped my hands and stamped my feet.  Greek, Russian, or Jewish Wedding Dance always lures my body to rock, but I never had a chance to learn.  Julia and Erika joined the group of dancers.  I sat envious watching them.


“Join in, Keiko,” Julia said.  With that, my happy feet couldn’t resist.  I hopped in and stared at her feet holding her hand and a little girl’s on the other side.  Left kick, right kick, left step back, step step step.  I loved it.  I didn’t want to stop.  We ended up on the stage with other women, men, the little girl, and a boy.  The girl was so cute.  The dancing people stopped to rest, but she skipped and bounced around the floor of the hall tilting her head on her right shoulder and then left.  Nowadays, older folks worry about their tradition fading away, but the girl and boy were clearly carrying on the tradition.  They were having fun.  Fun is infectious.  Fun things require no effort. 


During the event, we bought blintzes and coffee.  Mmm, blintzes were good.  Coffee was $1.00.  A server handed us only a half cup.  Erika asked him to fill it up.  He said he wouldn’t be able to make more coffee in time if he filled up all the cups.  To help her feel a bit better, I told her that $1.00 a cup would be a steal in Japan.  Besides, the cup was extra large for Japanese standard.  Erika said in a small voice, “Well, I’m not in Japan.”  Well, I couldn’t fool her.  She is a scientist. 


On the way back, we argued whether we should take a route to the parking lot through Santa Monica Blvd. or through the park.  The scientist said the Blvd., but the poet said the park.  I looked right and left, and saw a pretty park in the darkness.  The enchanting sound of clarinet still echoed in my ear.  “The poet wins,” I shouted.