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Parkada (a portmanteau of Parking Lot and Harkada) is a weekly dance session in Newton, MA at Temple Emanuel. Parkada is run by Aaron & Nomie Bental (nés Beckman & Turnbull) and Barbara Rosen Campbell. Anyone interested in attending should email the organizers or visit the Parkada Website for info. Parkada takes place on Thursday evenings from 6:45pm-10pm. The typical schedule is:
- 6:45pm-7:15pm - Early Partners
- 7:15pm-7:30pm - Partners Technique Teaching
- 7:30pm-9:45pm - Regular Session (Circle/Line/Partner Mix)
- 9:45pm-10:00pm - Ending Partners
Parkada was started in July 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, as an outdoor (weather-permitting) session taking place in the parking lot of Kesher Newton and Temple Reyim. It was created in response to dancers' desire to find a way to return to dancing in person as opposed to solely over Zoom. During the initial summer period, the session was held in the late afternoon from 5:45pm-8:00pm. The time was adjusted in the fall to 3:00pm-5:30pm and again in the winter to 12:30pm-3:30pm so as to remain during daylight hours. The time was again adjusted for the spring to 3:00pm-6:00pm as the sunset continued to get later. In June of 2021 Parkada moved indoors to Temple Emanuel and in October 2021 switched to its current Thursday night time slot.
The session began with 30 minutes of line dances followed by 2.5 hours of mostly circle dances. Due to COVID-19 safety regulations, pre-registration and masks were required and no partner dances were played. In place of teaching, the organizers regularly issued dance challenges so the group could continue to learn dances and expand their repertoire. Challenges lasted for 3 weeks (or 3 sessions if any weeks are missed).
Past Events and Notable Sessions
- August 2, 2020 - This would have been Parkada's first rain cancellation, but the organizers and dancers decided that a little rain was not enough to deprive people of a chance to dance.
- August 30, 2020 - End of Summer party. Those over 21 got a treat upon arrival
- November 8, 2020 - Post-election celebration, including a thematically-appropriate set of dances
- January 3, 2021 - New-Years party
- March 14, 2021 - Parkada ran an abridged session to allow our dancers the opportunity to also attend the Virtual Israel Folkdance Festival of Boston
- March 21, 2021 - Spring and pre-Pesach party, including another thematically-appropriate set of dances
- February 17, 2022 - Aaron's 40th birthday celebration, including a set of 40 dances, 1 from each year since Aaron's birth, arranged chronologically