Our friends over at the Sokol San Francisco are organizing a traditional “Spring Dinner Dance” on Saturday, April 1st (no fooling!). Registration to this lovely spring event is still open with a special pricing for children – kids 5 and under are free, children 5-12 years old pay only the $15 for the buffet. If you are interested in this event, please reach out to at Helenka: helenkal – at – sbcglobal.net
We interviewed Helenka Teyrovska Livingston, the PR Director and Scholarship Chair at the Sokol San Francisco about the upcoming Spring Dinner Dance, her role and exciting future events organized
CSC: “How would you describe the Spring Dance organized by the Sokol SF?”
Helenka: The Spring Dance is fun and festive. The food is amazing – this year it will be a buffet as we learned from our members and guests that they delight in tasting several different foods and deciding how much of each they want. We believe it will allow us to serve ourselves quickly so we can move onto the dance floor and enjoy the music sooner. This year the buffet entrees include Pan Seared Salmon, Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs and Porcini Crusted Chicken Breasts with Mushroom Ragu.
CSC: What can the attendees expect to see and hear this year?
We frequently feature a song &/or poem from some Czech children as we open. We are currently finalizing our plans, checking if the students are still available to perform. Our favorite band is providing live music by Capriccious Accordion featuring Joe Domitrowich. They play a wide range of music from waltzes to polkas to rock & roll, so most people find something they like to dance to. We will have a short time, with audience participation, for a Czech sing-a-long. Our guests continue to request this as it is one of their favorite activities to do when they get together. Lastly, we do a raffle so those coming can win prizes and go home with some fun memories from the night.
CSC: Who can come to the dance?
Helenka: All are welcome. We have mostly adults but lately the children that come have a delightful time as well.
CSC: Is there any dress code?
This is a festive evening out in a beautiful setting at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City which seems to be a location that allows everyone a reasonable drive from the South Bay, San Francisco/North Bay and East Bay. So most gentlemen wear a button down shirt & slacks or a suite and tie. Ladies seem to like to wear a lovely dress or slacks.
CSC: Does the Spring Dance has a long tradition?
Helenka: Yes, Sokol SF has always celebrated together many events with a dinner dances such as the coming of Spring or the Holidays and New Years. I was not around at the time, but I would venture to say probably since the establishment of Sokol SF which was in 1904.
CSC: Can we find any connection to any traditions in the Czech Republic? (Are “spring dances” also common in the Czech republic?)
Helenka: Yes, The Spring Dances were also combined to celebrate and honor the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. His birthday was March 7th. If you come you will see a painting of him displayed in commemoration of all he did to bring democracy to the region that continues on today in the Czech Republic. In the villages of the Czech Republic bringing in the Spring included dances as well as a maypole with bright ribbons. We try to keep some of the traditions by having children participate and perform a Czech song or poem and then later in the evening when the band breaks, we like to include everyone with the Czech Sing-a-long. There are several happy Czech songs that continues to boost our mood and seem to bring back memories of times or visits to the Czech Republic or even farther back to when it was Czechoslovakia.
CSC: What is your role at the Sokol SF? Why did you choose this role and what are the main reasons you enjoy it so much.
Helenka: My current role with Sokol SF is PR (Public Relations) Director & Scholarship Chair. I am in charge of organizing events such as the dinner dances & summer picnics. My favorite part is getting to know the members better and welcoming the new members & guest to Sokol. I am continually fascinated by those who they themselves or their families left their homes in Czech Republic or Slovakia to come to America. What an incredible bond everyone has knowing two different cultures so intimately.
In my last position as a college instructor and department chair, I dealt with organizing not only the department of Nutrition and Dietetics but also establishing contracts with all the various sites my students intern in. My goal was to bring those skills to help streamline some processes and make being a Sokol member easy, effective and fun. As you may guess coming from the college sector, I am a strong believer in education and that is why I am also Chairman of the Sokol SF Scholarship Committee. I believe in supporting our children and offering them a wide variety of experiences so they can honor their heritage. I am certain that by adding in this bond between Sokol San Francisco and the Czech School of CA it will strengthen their connection with the Czech culture.
CSC: What are some other fun events we can expect from Sokol SF this year?
Helenka: We have something going on each month. Walks for health, picnics, camps, festivals and other events. Especially I want to emphasize the 2 picnics at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley – 1st one is June 10th, in the past we have had fun events for children from the Czech School & the 2nd one on Sept. 10th we will have the famous Musicka group from the Czech Republic performing there (and it is free). Family camp in Dinkey Creek is July 16-23 with special kids programs and organized games, September 29-Oct. 1st is a Festival in Orinda, the Sister city of Tabor, with weekend long events. Dec. 3rd will have a Czech Christmas Cookie Demonstration and lastly we will bring in the New Year on January 6th. with our next Dinner Dance once again at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City. Please see our complete list of Sokol SF events.