Dave and Fran Slater
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John David "Dave" Slater started dancing in 1943 in Greenwich Vilage in Manhattan, New York, at a group called the Recreation Co-op, where he was instantly "hooked." After moving to California, and after two years in the U.S. Navy in World War II, in 1946 he started attending UCLA where he founded and taught the university's first folk dance club.
During his college years, he went to every folk dance club and class in the Los Angeles area. He started attending folk dance camps in 1956, beginning with Stockton Folk Dance Camp, and going on to the Santa Barbara Folk Dance Conference (which later bacame the San Diego State University Folk Dance Conference).
In 1957, Dave met a young widow at the Santa Monic Folk Dance Club, and in 1959, Fran became his wife. They have four children -- Julie, Linda, Daniel, and Steven.
Dave had always been active in the various clubs he attended: UCLA Folk Dance Club, Westwood Co-op Folk Dancers, Hollywood Peasants, and the Gandy Dancers. He formulated and taught the Beginner's Class for the Westwood Co-op for 26 years. When his daughters reached their teens, they convinced Dave to start a folk dance class for teenagers. He did, calling it the Opanki Dancers. Later, Dave and Fran started the intermediate folk dance class known as the Tuesday Gypsies.
Dave was also active in the Folk Dance Federation of California, South, Inc. From 1979, he served on many committees, including the Institute Committee, the Beginner's Festival Committee, The Statewide Festival Committee, the Teacher Training Committee, the San Diego Folk Dance Conference Committee, and the Idyllwild Folk Dance Workshop Committee. He also served as Vice President and President.
Fran Slater had contributions that were many and varied. She had always been an active member of the Westwood Co-op Folk Dancers and served there as Recording Secretary, Program Chairperson, the Beginner's Class chairperson, President, and did their monthly bulletin.
She served the Folk Dance Federation in many capacities: as a member of the Statewide Festival Committee, as Chairperson of the Idyllwild Folk Dance Workshop Committee, and as Membership Chairperson. She also was involved in the Federation's publication, the Folk Dance Scene, for many years.
Dave and Fran received the 1991 annual recognition award from the AVAZ International Dance Theatre.
Fran passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, June 2, 2011, and Dave passed a away peacefully at home on Wednesday, September 14, 2011. They were such very special people and they have left a large hole in their family and also among their friends.
Dave's articles and publications include
- "In the Beginning Have a Plan." Folk dance scene. v. 30, no. 2 (Apr. 1994), p. 10-12.
- "Start Your Own Group!" Everybody Dance, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan. 1950), p. 11
Dances Dave has taught include Czworok, Hornfiffen, Polka od Przeworska. Prekid Kolo, and Staro Ratarsko.