Federation South logo

Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc.

Statewide: 42 Years and Counting

By Larry Getchel



Statewide Program 1954 And now, as the Annual Statewide Festival number nine is upon us, our host, the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, has strayed just a little from convention and named their Festival "Dances of the Universe." Long Beach becomes also the first Statewide to be held deep in the Southern California heartland. Of the three previous, the first was at Ojai and the other two in Santa Barbara. It was quite a long trip for those of us living in the North but no distance was too far for a Statewide and besides, Long Beach sounded real festive.

The folks in Long Beach opened with a Pre-festival Party, Thursday, May 27, that most of us from the North missed but many were on hand for the Friday Opening Party staged at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium, built right down to the water's edge.

For those who could shake the sleep from their eyes and be available at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, a Beach Party was ready to greet them at the foot of Linden Avenue.

Saturday afternoon there was a choice, either the Teacher's Institute or a boat trip around Long Beach Harbor at 1:00 p.m. Elma McFarland, of whom we were destined to hear a great deal of later, was chairperson of the Saturday Institute. The teachers were also people to remember, featuring such as Vyts Beliajus, Madelynne Greene, Virgil McDougle, Sam Mednick, Grace Perryman, and Millie von Konsky.

The Saturday night program was also held in the Auditorium with seven sets of exhibitions. Callers for square dancing were Bob Cryder, Ed Kremers, Dan McDonald, George Murton, Ace Smith, and Osmyn Stout.

Sunday morning the Evaluation Breakfast took place at Hotel Lafayette with president of the South, Osmyn Stout, as Chairman. Leonard Murphy of the North was serving his second term as president.

During Sunday afternoon, a Square, Round, and Contra dance Institute was held in the Auditorium. We were still working closely with the squre dancers but the time was fast approaching when the two movements would have separate organizations.

Sunday evening the dancing was split between square dancing and folk dancing. While the Municipal Auditorium was used for both groups, the floor was separated into two sections with a partition between, referred to as Convention Hall and Exhibit Hall. To the best of my knowledge, this was the last time the Federation at Statewide sponsored both the folk dancers and square dancers as separate functions. While at most folk dance festivals we continue to dance squares, ours is a more folksy variety as compared to the square dancers' highly complicated figures.

A full program of dances was offered Monday afternoon, May 31. Most of the out-of-towners were back on the freeway, fighting traffic on the way home, with fond memories of a great Statewide during their three day's stay in Long Beach.