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Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.


By Dick Oakes




Left to right: Natalie Stern, Mario Gruen, Karen palmer, Elia Sheiner, Sandy Gerson (Kanangeiser),
Lorin Sklamberg, Dori Aloni (Meshi), Paul Sheldon, Debbie Sheiner. Not in the photo, Bonnie Vorspan,
Paul Selski, David Katz (directing the photoshoot).

Admati was a performance group put together by Dori Aloni and David Katz.

David wrote:

"In a nutshell, I'd had a dance group called Nirkoda, roughly between 1975 and 1979. Members of the group, which was an amateur Israeli troupe, decided they wanted to be more "professional." The split was a bit painful, but I did not want to go in that direction and I left, along with three others.

About a month following the split, Dori Aloni asked the group if they would do a benefit for Planned Parenthood, which she was involved with. The group's response was no – they only performed for a fee.

In anger, she called a bunch of dance teachers and friends, and within hours the seed for Admati was formed.

Admati Our mission was to make ourselves available to the Jewish and secular communities. We were able to use the costumes from a group (Nili Kosmol's Sabra Dancers) several of us had belonged to years earlier, and we accepted the invitation. Our first rehearsal was a revelation – we shared the same styling, and didn't need to belabor that challenge. We learned two of Nili's choreographies and created several of our own. We performed and were able to easily get more gigs.

What made Admati unique, was that were a co-operative, fashioned after the idea of Kibbutz. Dances were choreographed by different people, polished by others, and everyone had a stake and a voice. Our rehearsals were half dancing and half encounter group (no joke). Having said that, Dori and Sandy [Gerson] were the key choreographers.

It is possible that I may upload a couple of the dances onto You Tube. Bonnie Vorspan's husband made videos of them. One of Dori's choreographies still brings tears to my eyes.

The group lived for about 4 or 5 years, with members coming and going. Nirkoda never achieved the goal they had set for themselves.

We were pretty much replaced by a group called Keshet Chayim which still exists and was "professional" from its outset. Their choreography, like Nirkoda and Sabra Dancers, was the standard Israeli-ish fare.

By contrast, Admati created suites of dances which had wonderful cohesion and themes. For example, Paul [Selski] was instrumental in creating the "Pioneer" suite, which consisted of dances brought to Israel from Europe and strung together Cherkessiya, Alunelul, Misirlu, Troika, and Kuma Echa. The music was recorded by Dori's father, Paul, and Lorin Sklamberg. Lorin went on a few years later to form The Klezmatics."