July/August 2010

All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books,
all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders
have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.


Greetings from Waltz Time! This newsletter offers a calendar of upcoming waltz dances and workshops, dance community news and informative articles. We encourage your articles to our newsletter. What would you like to know? Please send your story or suggestions for topics to staff@waltztimedances.org.

Waltz Time is an all-volunteer committee that produces the twice-monthly Sunday afternoon waltz dances and the Annual Strauss Ball at Glen Echo Park's Spanish Ballroom. The April and May 2010 waltzes are listed below; view the entire year's calendar at our web site.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter. At the end of this page, there are additional links that you can use to forward this newsletter to a friend or to unsubscribe.


Diabelli's Waltz and Beethoven's 33 Variations

Even if you're a fan of classical music, chances are you haven't heard a live performance of Beethoven's Thirty-three Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli, Op. 120, simply because their difficulty and length discourage performance. If you're unfamiliar with the story, Beethoven, in the last years of his life, was obsessed with music publisher Anton Diabelli's waltz -- or rather obsessed with creating variations on the piece, considered by many musicians and musicologists to be an uninspired (and uninspiring) work. Legend has it that Beethoven initially dismissed the theme as a "schusterfleck" -- a cobbler's patch -- unworthy of his time or attention.

Nevertheless, between 1819 and 1823, Beethoven took on the challenge of writing variations for the piano. The question of "why" -- why 33 variations -- has consumed musicians and musicologists, who consider the Diabelli Variations, or 33 Variations, as they're generally known, a monumental achievement in originality and sheer inventiveness. Why would such a banal theme consume the great composer, especially in the years when he was composing his magnificent Ninth Symphony and Missa Solemnis?

Theories abound. Google "33 Variations" or "Diabelli Variations" and pages of links pop up. The links include references to playwright-director Mois's Kaufman's play with music -- the script calls for a pianist to perform several of the variations as they reflect the action onstage -- which used Beethoven's cycle as the basis for the drama. "33 Variations," which premiered at DC's Arena Stage in 2007, revolves around Katherine Brandt, a musicologist suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) and her determination to solve the mystery of the variations before she dies. To get a sense of the tune, have a look at Diabelli's original waltz theme to the right - or go to our website and listen to the original theme played by Neal O'Doan.

Scholars and musicians may never be able to solve that mystery, but there are many of us who understand how easy it is to be obsessed with a waltz ...

The Big Big Benefit: A Weekend of Events for Laurie Gilkenson at Glen Echo Park

Friday & Saturday, July 9 & 10, Spanish Ballroom

Presented by Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Jam Cellar, Flying Feet Enterprises, Tom Cunningham Orchestra, and Blue Sky 5.

As you may have heard, Laurie Gilkenson, a beloved member of our DC dance community and a hall manager for our waltzes at Glen Echo Park, suffered a brain aneurysm on May 6 and has been through a lot since then. The family is now facing mounting bills and could really use our help and support.

In addition to Laurie's work as a Hall Manager at Glen Echo Park, some of you may also know Laurie as the warm, spunky and hilarious mother of Nina Gilkenson who is well known in the DC and international Swing and Lindy community. Nina and other Lindy dancers present dances at Glen Echo Park as The Jam Cellar, and it is through the Partnership's donation and the efforts of The Jam Cellar that the concept for this benefit weekend began.

Needless to say, Laurie has volunteered countless hours for the dance community, but you may not know that she also performed on Broadway when she was a kid, was a ballerina until she shattered her foot, and spent years teaching drama to high school students. But you probably *do* know that she makes friends wherever she goes.

We are excited to have so many people coming together, volunteering their time and expertise, to help Laurie this weekend. Here's the weekend schedule:

  • The Friday night Swing dance on July 9 features two bands, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra and Blue Sky 5 +2. There will be a swing dance lesson from 8 - 9 pm and a dance from 9 pm - 12:30 am. Cost of the dance is $15/person, and ALL of the proceeds from this night will go to Laurie's beneift.

  • On Saturday afternoon, there will be day-long Lindy Hop workshops with Internationally renowned instructors, Nina Gilkenson, Kate Hedin and Bobby White. Whether you're a beginner dancer or an established veteran, learn something new from the best that the world of Lindy Hop has to offer.

    • 1:00-2:00 pm – Solo Jazz with Nina Gilkenson
    • 2:15-3:15 pm – Fancy Lindy Hop Footwork with Kate Hedin & Bobby White
    • 3:30-4:30 pm – Lindy Hop with Nina Gilkenson

    Each workshop costs $10, open to all levels of dancers, in the Spanish Ballroom. ALL proceeds will be donated to Laurie Gilkenson.

  • The Saturday night Swing dance on July 10 is presented by Flying Feet Enterprises and features the Boilermaker Jazz Band. Cost is $15, and all net proceeds will be donated to Laurie.

If you would like to contribute but can't make it to the event you can make a donation online.
Thank you!

Free Summer Concert Series

Thursdays, July 15 and August 26, 7:30 pm
Bumper Car Pavilion, Glen Echo Park

We hope you didn't miss the first summer concert at Glen Echo Park on June 24 - the Navy Commodores were absolutely fabulous! But if you *did* miss it, do not despair - there are two more concerts. The next one will be on Thursday, July 15 with the Feel So Good Band - an unusual local band comprised entirely of physicians in the Metro Area. The July concert is free to the public, but there will be an opportunity to give a donation to the Haiti Relief.

On August 26, the Partnership brings the U.S. Army Blues to the Park. A 17-piece band, you won't want to miss this energy! Check out their tunes and local schedule online - quite a repertoire!

Upcoming Waltz Events

Sunday Afternoon Waltzes begin with an introductory waltz lesson from 3 - 3:30 pm,
followed by dancing to live music until 6 pm. Cost is $8, including the lesson.

JULY 2010

July 18: ROSE BY THE DOOR with Andrea Hoag, Marty Taylor, Liz Donaldson, Ralph Gordon


August 1: GREEN LIGHT KARMA with David Knight, Andrew Marcus, Dave Wiesler

August 15: ADDISON BLEUFONTE with Andrea Hoag, Jonah Blaustein, Marc Glickman, David Lopez

All events are held at the Spanish Ballroom, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo, MD and
sponsored in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.,
the National Park Service and Montgomery County, Maryland.