Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community



AUSTRALIAN PROFILES - NO. 2

Frances Fester

Israeli Dance Teacher

My name is Frances Fester.

I first discovered dancing in Sydney 10 years ago when I walked into The Hakoah Club on a Tuesday night and found this hidden world of circles of people all dancing the same steps to Israeli music that filled a part of me which must have always been empty. All I could think of was this warm feeling rushing through my body and the strongest desire to learn everything as soon as I possibly could.

I was then 32 years old, a mother of three small children and I decided that I would continue to devote myself to my family, but that Tuesday night would be mine and no-one was to take it away from me. From that moment on I never sat. There was no beginners class so if you wanted to learn to dance you stood behind a reliable pair of legs and followed as best you could. I wasn't selective in as far as which dances I liked and which I didn't - I just had to know them all.

Within 6 months I knew and remembered pretty much all the circle dances. I was dancing two nights a week and Israeli Dancing was well and truly a passion. Not only did I find something that I loved to do so much - but through this I found so many new friends all of whom loved what I loved, as I loved it - (maybe not as much but close).

After dancing for three years and loving it more and more all the time - it became obvious that I was someone the people could follow and that the crowd had somehow started relying on me to lead the dances.

In 1989 I started doing a Beginners Class and by 1990 I was running the whole evening. In Sydney Israeli Dancing is organized by a non- profit group called "Hamoadon" and they employ me as a teacher. The night starts at 7.30 pm and this is the beginners session. Every year in February we start a brand new beginners class catering to people who have never danced before. From 9 - 10.30 pm we have general circle dancing where there is no instruction and people know all the dances. We cover a mixture of old and new dances. Once a month I usually teach a new dance in this time slot. From 10.30- 11.30 we have couple dancing and usually have at least 15 couples.

Our group in Sydney is a big mix of people. We have quite a big Israeli group, some youth movement kids, older , and quite a lot of men. We are a good combination and the feeling there is one of 'LIFE' and people coming to have a good night.

There is also a Thursday morning class that is held from 10.30-12.30 at The Hakoah Club and this has become a great session where people are very close to each other and the intimacy of a smaller group can be felt.

We hold dance camps on a regular basis and usually escape to the Blue Mountains for the weekend to dance till you drop.

We are up to date with all the new dances because I regularly receive everything new straight from Israel.

Frances Fester, 1997

for up to date details about Frances Fester and Israeli Dancing in Sydney, see Frances's web site at www.israelidancingsydney.com.au 


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