THIS IS HISTORICAL INFORMATION ONLY
The Gandy Dancers
50th Birthday Bash
By Dick Oakes
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Going, going gone . . .
Well, the last get together of the once proud Gandy Dancers of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, which everyone envied and raved about in the late 1950s and '60s, has finally disbanded with its last potluck held Saturday, August 29, 1998, at the YWCA in San Pedro, California.
Dorothy Daw, with determined bravery every few years or so, would draw upon her courage and Gandy members, and with stout heart would mail out notices of a forthcoming reunion.
Although I was never lucky enough to be a Gandy, I always admired every exhibition they performed at the festivals that I attended. They were undeniably the best around. I was lucky, however, to be invited to many of the reunion parties, mainly, my guess is, because I had known quite a few of them over the years. Whatever their reason was for inviting me, I really don't know, but I did feel privileged to be there with those I had always so admired.
The afternoon and early evening went all too fast. There was, of course, folk dancing to a lot of the old, old dances. To round out the event, there were hundreds of photographs through which to browse, a video to watch of Andor Czompo's Hungarian dances, some of which they performed. Then Dorothy showed some slides she received from Ed (Grochowski) Gray of early day Gandys, some forgotten with time, but some still remembered. Anthony Ivancich and friend surprised everyone with a country western clogging routine which everyone seemed to enjoy. They wore western outfits and high heels (cowboy boots, that is).
And then Al Vincent, not to be outdone, had a group of us down on our knees. The position seemed familiar. Then we were all handed pu-ifi sticks and tried to keep in unison doing a Hawaiian dance (Nani Wale na Hala, an old exhihbition dance) that Al seemed to be composing as he went along.
Everyone attending brought a overabundance of food. There was turkey, chicken, ham, beans, tabouli, etc. For desert ther was everything from blueberry cheesecake (from Donna Tripp's kitchen) to tabuli, to name a few of the goodies. The most memorable cake was brought by Dean Linscott: a two-layer chocolate sheet cake whose top layer slid off the bottom layer because the icing melted! I wonder if the reason could be because the hall was not air conditioned, and it was a hot, hot, hot day. I believe it was 105 inside but a cool 95 outside.
But why care? Just being there for the whole experience was what really mattered.
As people departed at various times throughout the evening, the good-byes seemed to me to be all too casual, as though we'd be seeing each other again next week, whereas in truth, a good portion of us may never see each other again. We have no reaon to do so. We will all go back to our little nooks and crannies and get on with what we feel is important an no longer look back at what we once had. A few of us still folk dance, but the majority do not.
This reunion is now a thing of the past, like our folk dance memories, and all were left with the gift Anthony provided in the way of a reunion key chain to help jog those wonderful memories.
I had a wonderful time. Love you all.
Juni (Ed Yacher)
Juni sent this to me in September of 1998. It was published in January of 1999 in Folk Dance Scene.