Paul and Helen Erfer



Helen and Paul Erfer


B. Paul Erfer, pianist and outgoing dance teacher, learned much of his dancing from Michael Herman in New York City and founded the seminal Hollywood Folk Dancers when he moved to California. His wife was Helen Erfer, who taught La Joaquinta in southern California.

Paul produced with Imperial Records a series of Nationality Albums specifically for folk dancers. In many instances, these were the first recordings made in the U.S. of many folk dance melodies, allowing recreational international folk dance groups that relied on recordings to expand their repertoires. Paul arranged the music, and the musicians would wear at least one piece of the national costume to put themselves in the proper ethnic mood.

Paul directed the performing group the International Dance Circle and called the square dances. He also taught at the 6th Annual California Statewide Folk Dance Festival in 1951.

The couple owned and operated the Folk Arts Bazaar, a folk costume and record shop at 416 Los Feliz Road in Glendale, California. Paul touted the shop as having "A Complete Selection of Records with Instructions. Books . . . Accessories . . . and Costumes Made to Order." The shop was open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. but was open Fridays until 8:00 p.m.

Paul did the liner notes for "German Folk Dances," a set of five Imperial 78 rpm records by Rhine Winkler and His Orchestra.

Paul Erfer was Director of Extension and Publicity for the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, and also a member of the Hollywood Folk Dance Center.

Dances Paul and Helen taught include El Mosquito, Goin' Down to Cairo, Kreuz Koenig, La Costilla, La Joaquinta, Marklander, Řeznicka, and Snurrebocken.