Teachers & Musicians

Our Teaching Staff: Paul Ross, Orly Krasner, & Judi Rivkin

Paul Ross has been dancing English country dance since 1971, when he joined the University of Chicago Country Dancers under the direction of Pat Talbot, an inspired teacher & leader who taught English & Scottish country dancing, morris, gamalpolska, & hambo.

In 1981, Paul moved to New York City. His teachers were the master callers of those years: Genny Shimer, Christine Helwig, Fried Herman, Sue Salmons, Bertha Hatvary, & others. He also had the privilege of dancing to music played by Phil Merrill & Marshall Baron, two legendary English country dance musicians.

In 1993, Paul became an apprentice teacher in Westchester, studying under Christine Helwig & Fried Herman. Fried, in particular, was the major influence on Paul's dancing & shaped his understanding & vision of ECD. To help preserve that vision & the dances that Fried created, Paul founded The Lenox Assembly in Lenox, MA., in 2009, a dance weekend dedicated to the art of dancing well.

Above: Paul Ross in period attire.

Orly Krasner teaches regularly at Country Dance*New York & Country Dancers of Westchester. She discovered English Country Dancing in the 1990s while writing her doctoral dissertation on a totally unrelated musical topic. Intrigued by the idea of music made visible, she soon began to choreograph, & then apprenticed as a dance teacher under Fried de Metz Herman, Paul Ross, Beverly Francis, & Gene Murrow.

In 2011, Gene Murrow invited her to join him in Japan as guests of the National Federation of Teachers of Folk Dance; their workshops began just in time for them to experience the earthquake! Orly has also called at the Lichfield (UK) Folk Festival (most recently in 2017) & appears as a guest teacher for dances, festivals, & special events throughout the USA & Canada.

Celebrations, a book containing twenty of Orly's dances, is now available; the matching CD, recorded by Reunion (Daniel Beerbohm, Barbara Greenberg, & Jonathan Jensen), contains fifteen of the tunes in danceable lengths. In “real” life, Orly holds a Ph.D. in Musicology, & when she isn’t dancing, she teaches music history & theory at the City College of New York.
Above: Orly Krasner, fledging from CDW apprentice to full teacher status.

Judi Rivkin has been dancing all her life. Her main influences in dance leadership have been Genny Shimer, Sue Salmons, Brad Foster, Fried de Metz Herman, Bruce Hamilton, Helene Cornelius, Christine Helwig, & her parents, who met while folk dancing in New York City! Her dad (a former Pinewoods camper & lifeguard) was at one time a ballroom dance teacher at Arthur Murray's own Fifth Avenue studio; later on, for many years, he led square & round dancing.

Judi currently resides in Ewing, NJ (between Princeton & Trenton), & is an active participant in dance communities up & down the coast. Her latest endeavor is a well-received annual series of intermediate/advanced English Country Dance workshops, entitled "Stepping Up," taught in Princeton with Sue Dupré. 

Read more about Judi on her website.

Above: Judi Rivkin in her garden.

Our Musicians: Serendipity, our house band, consists of Mark Eisenberg (recorders), Sue Polansky (clarinets), Peter Roberts (piano), and Donn Williams (mandolin, guitar, bodhran). Occasionally Sara Banleigh or Liza Wu will sit in for Peter on piano, and Julia Hartman (violins) may sit in for Sue.