Tel Aviv, Israel – Get Your Westie On

I visited Israel September 11-18. I’ve been looking for a way to teach and visit there since my Denver friends visited Israel for weddings, relatives, and schooling. Israel seemed foreign and exotic, has religious significance, and I enjoy middle eastern cuisine.

Between Jerusalem markets, sampling fresh halvah, slathering Dead Sea all over myself, hiking the Snake Path to Masada, eating lots of hummus, I taught many classes. This opportunity materialized thanks to Facebook’s Westie Discussion of the Day. I met an Israeli westie named Nur who asked “…. I was wondering while you were touring europe, have you considered visiting Israel:)?” Well, “Israel’s been on my mind for a while.” And “would I be able to teach there if I visited? That would help me such a trip more affordable to me.”

Israel was on! I would be teaching 6 1.5 hour west coast swing workshops for Dance Tel Aviv, run by Rena Scharf Kayat and her husband. I ended up adding an Authentic Jazz class and private lessons to my teaching schedule also. Tel Aviv has a growing and vibrant west coast swing scene. Dancers mainly come from lindy hop and west coast swing. It was definitely fun working with such a mixed crowd of different skills, levels, and dance backgrounds.

What I learned:

1. Israelis are extremely generous.

2. If you like Middle Eastern food, come to the source. It’s worth it.

3. Dead Sea mud has amazing benefits, but don’t slather the wet stuff. The drying process will take too long. Find the clay-like mud.

4. When planking the Dead Sea, do not submerge your face.

5. Those Israeli boys are bold. I haven’t never been asked to dance by leads so often. Way to step up.

6. Israel also has great international cuisine.

7. Give yourself plenty of time at the airport when leaving. Also, if your backpack has many coins from 4-5 different currencies, it will look very very suspicious to airport scanners.

Thanks to Nur for helping set this up and being a great tour guide, Rena for hiring me, Elissa for teaching with me, my two hosts, my drivers, and all the dancers and workshop attendees. Thanks for the dances and great memories.


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