Stanley Morris (Auckland Tribute)

I've known Stan for the past 25 years, and am astounded at how much he has contributed to folk-dancing in NZ. Here are a few personal memories - just snippets - they don't do justice to his vision, energy and his "gifts" to us.

In 1979 Stan, Ruth Ames, Kathleen Osborne, and Barbara Litchfield founded an International Folk Dance Club in Auckland. He "wanted to dance Greek and, of course, Israeli". Rae came up with the name "Ruritanian" and is the club's current president. She spoke at his 5.11.13 funeral.

Late 1988 I started going to the RIFDC monthly socials, and from there joined Ruth's performing group Tzinakis (1989). Ruth invited Stan to teach us a bracket of Bulgarian dances. His "Dobrijanski Pandola" is still popular. 25 years on and we are still dancing together.

That same year 1989 I happened upon Israeli dancing. I wandered into the Torbay Hall following some beautiful music. Stephen Friedlander, Jan and Deborah (the future Mrs Jan Bilton) told me it was Israeli. Maybe Stan, Hillary and Colleen were there that night - if not - I soon met them.

Stephen told me about an Israeli-dance camp at Queen's Birthday with Moshe Telem from Tel Aviv. The Hamilton Israeli Dance group -the hosts - evolved out of Stan's friendship and travels with Raymond Matson.

This camp was special. It was the first national Israeli-dance camp in NZ, the prototype of annual Machol Pacificas to follow, and tutors of international-dance shared top billing with the overseas guests. Sylvia did Polish and Russian. Stan taught some Greek dances, including "Tai Tai". There is a video of Stan in Bulgarian costume at another such camp.

When Folk Dance NZ started up their national camps, Stan taught 'Israeli dances' to the 'international dancers' ["Ben Binyamin" was one]

He was a great support to Machol Pacifica, and attended most camps. He was too busy to dance in the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Auckland 1990. He often performed at Ruth's "Winter Warm-Ups". More recently he'd miss the odd Ma'ayan class with Erica, Pamela and Jenny at Beth Shalom Synagogue- he'd be ballroom dancing, or over on Waiheke Island renovating his bach.

In the 90s I subscribed to the "NZ-Israeli Folk Dancer" periodicals [yellow covers]. Who was this mysterious writer Rick Udiam? Years later I learned it was Stan. Say it out aloud (with a different accent) and you can hear "rikud" the Hebrew word for Dance.

On his many trips to Israeli [with his famous fold-up bicycle] he filmed concerts and festivals. Whenever overseas tutors came to NZ [e.g. Geo Sorin] Stan would record their workshops (Super 8 film from memory). He even filmed Edy Greenblatt in his John St kitchen ["Shiri Le Kinneret" and others]. He collected a big library of classic Israeli dances (videos, cassettes, disks, notations sometimes in Hebrew- hmmph) and happily shared his resources with others.

3.11.13 text from Gabrielle: "Stan was a great friend to NZ dance ..A true pioneer - we owe him a lot... Erica and Pamela both treated him with the respect due a Rangitira of Auckland Israeli dance"

I, too, see him as a chieftain of high status "piercing the sky", and trust he is still dancing on high.

Bronwen Arlington 12.11.13

Rurtitanian lunch at Puhoi 1998.  
From left to right : Mufridah Ulmanski,  Julie Harper  Pam Memory Logan, Vanessa Cooling, Sue Geddes,  Richard Logan, Stan Morris and Bronwen Arlington

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