Ballet teacher memories revisited

Sometime in the year 2009 I posted a blog focused on my early childhood days growing up on Edgerton Street in Rochester, NY.  The topic was, at age 4, and my first glorious ballet teacher, Katherine Raphael. The lessons were held in her dining room just 5 houses up the street at Milburn st, the opposite corner from my house. I remembered the first try on point, my pink, used but beautiful toe shoes and how it felt to rise up on my toes padded in lambs wool and reach to the skies en point. My self description; a bit pudgy, frizzy hair, full cheeks and a love for dance that has lasted a lifetime. 
In response to that blog, a dear friend connected me to Ann Raphael Berndt, the older of the two Raphael daughters and a year younger than myself and her sister Judy a couple of years younger than Ann. Ann and I have been sporadically connected via email and I PROMISED that someday soon we would meet in person to share our love and reverence for Mrs. Raphael. That promise was fulfilled last week on our visit to Boston. Paul and I joined Ann and her husband David and were pampered and peppered with family memories and stories and brought up to date both in memories of Edgerton St to the present. 
We departed with promises of staying in touch but Ann blessed me with copies of photos from dance classes, a recital program from 1952 and a copy of Katherine’s biography. 
I am sharing 2 of the photos for giggles and memories. 

an attempt to copy an early portrait of Mrs. Raphael; Beautiful

 

Top photo, I am on the left, bottom photo I am on the right


How devoted she was to ballet and sought in so many ways to improve her own wonderful dance skills. She did meet Anna Pavlova in person. How incredible.  I have been processing those days ever since the visit with Ann. What incredible lives we have all lived, The Berndts and their beautiful 3 sons, daughter’s in laws from around the globe, and 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons. 
Dance has never ceased to be a large part of my life, continuing lessons throughout my 20’s and 30’s, appearing in many musical productions, even doing some rep theatre in Buffalo while attending Suny at Buffalo and as a young mom in Rochester. Currently my dance includes lots of Zumba, Latin Dance, Line dancing and Paul and I are lucky to be able to dance every jitterbug, rock and roll, waltz and more at the beautiful dinner/dance parties when on our RV site in Jojoba, in California.
from Seafoam campground heading to Sydney, NS

Seafoam along River John happy to be in Canada

Paul and I are in Sydney, Nova Scotia awaiting our ferry ride to Newfoundland on Wednesday (16 hours) to the Rock. I can’t wait for the new adventures while savoring the old. 

what a sunset, massive cloud bank

Message In a Minute; Strip tease

Off again with our wheeled house on our backs and heading East seeking more adventure. After a day in Syracuse with Paul’s wonderful Uncle Joshua, we headed to Jersey City, NJ and the Liberty Harbor RV Park situated across the Hudson from Freedom tower in lower Manhattan and with in sight of the Statue of Liberty. It is the adjacent ferries to desired places that make this (expensive) campground a jewel. 

As I write, our 14 year old grandson Corey is on his flight to Newark airport for nine days of travel together. We are visiting family in West Orange. After our arrival on Friday we were too late to join our family for a get together and Kabbalat Shabbat service so we stayed in Jersey City. Leaving the Jeep in the campground we walked for 25 minutes to the town square decidedly the of the place to be; lots of people, lots of restaurants and excitement galore. We strolled for a bit and picked a restaurant that turned out to be wonderful. It is called Skinners Loft and offered tables on their roof top. We climbed the many stairs, (blessing our luck that we could do so easily) and took a table at the brink of the roof. The food was delicious with excellent vegan choices. 



As usual, we can’t just sit still but enjoy engaging others in conversation. At the next table were two lovely young ladies mid to upper 20’s I believe. They looked like sisters and were sitting together with their backs at the edge. They both turned to look over the brink and I wished I could click my camera at that moment for a lovely portrait. I asked if they were sisters and they replied just good friends. We talked and talked about their families, dreams and wishes and shared so much. One girl wants to start a business buying older Air Stream trailers and redoing them inexpensively but in good taste to sell. She asked our advice.  We directed her to a campground web site in Solvang, CA that features refurbished and tastefully done airstreams for rent for a night or longer and learned that her family is in construction and have skilled workers that would be able to help with the projects. They both were delighted with our life style and we laughed and joked and actually did offer some requested advice. 

What a delight the evening was. But we had to stop at a nearby pharmacy and then head back to the rig. Exit we did into a rainstorm with a vengeance. We stayed under cover for a bit having no umbrellas or raincoats as we had left the rig in blue skies and hot temps. We dashed in the direction of the camp ground and stopped to try Uber, but everyone else had beaten us to it. So walk it was to be. But as we are drip dry, wet it would be. After 30 minutes we arrived at the rig (wrong turn). We entered the rig and did a spectacular strip tease in the entrance. (if we were 50 years younger it may have been enhancing) but dry off we did, threw our clothing into the dryer and laughed our heads off. But we were upstaged.

We have heard from good friends on the way to Nova Scotia for a travel adventure and our soaking story paled in light of theirs. A particular airline left the luggage on the tarmac as passengers boarded. Their first night in the hotel was spent with all of the soaked items hung to dry. Their comment was at least no one was forcefully carried off the plane. 

Message in a Minute; swingin’ and rockin through Life

After our truly memorable winter adventures RVing westward and then reversing our direction to cross the rest of the continent to fly even further east for a memorable tour of three of the Stan countries Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the historic Ancient Silk Road. Upon our return to the USA, we began high-tailing it eastward to Rochester for the 16th annual Rochester International Jazz Festival. Meeting all expectations the Jazz Festival was incredible. Paul in his blog posts has shared our day to day venues and encounters during the 2017 festival. I do not need to repeat. the link to his blog is on this page. 

Great Jazz group  featuring Bobby Millitello

The day after the Jazz festival we traditionally wonder “what do we do now?”  It is usually a day of R and R and sorely needed. Attending the jazz fest takes LOTS of energy and study of the schedule to make choices and to build the preliminary evening’s itinerary.  We follow up by hitting the sidewalks at 3:30pm or so trekking from venue to venue to cram in as much as humanly possible (and what our age will tolerate–which is pretty intense, for which we are grateful.)  

Ukrainian folk group with artful cello 


But, this year we decided to buy Sunday matinee tickets for the musical, Million Dollar Quartet, playing at Geva theatre in Rochester.  This musical treasure depicts the history of the Sun Recording Studio in memphis; a museum that we cherish having visited. 


So, the breakneck pace continued today, even after the jazz fest as we tried to catch up on so many days out of our usual daily routine. You know, laundry, cleaning and tidying up, mail, phone calls, bilIs, contacting family and friends. In the course of the 10 days, I believe I actually built up bone mass even though I did not follow my daily hour or so of intense exercise. I even lost weight “walking at neck breaking paces,” bouncin’ and swinging” in my seats or rockin’ on my feet to the beat. Who can stay still to such rhythms.  

Geva’s Signboard

The Set Pre performance


I remain So grateful to have all of this energy and able to top off 9 days of Jazz with a the vigorous production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, over two hours listening to great music, dance, song, narration and story telling, relating the story of the Sun recording studio in Memphis in the mid 50’s unfolds. How fond I was of the musicians nurtured and and loved by Sam Phillips the guru behind Sun Studios and the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. I remember living through the growth of these artists and rock and roll. An so many ill directed prophets said in those days, rock and roll will never last. Well, What a Lota Shaking is Still “Goin On.”