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  Let's Dance! – A Little History

Let’s Dance magazine is an official publication of the Folk Dance Federation of California, Inc. It publishes dance descriptions; costume articles; dance history and information; articles about Federation clubs, members and others; and the activities of the Federation and its member clubs.

Let’s Dance began in January, 1944 as “Federation Folk Dancer”. It was an 8½ x 11 inch mimeographed issue of two pages. The name changed to “The Federation Folk Dancer” in February and the size changed to 8½ x 14 inches with the March issue. The number of pages grew also. It changed back to 8½ x 11 inch size with the May, 1944 issue. Typewriter produced the mimeomasters. All the art had to be hand drawn on the masters. These were talented, dedicated people.

The officers of the Federation were: Ed Kremers, president; Ken Wade, vice-president and Clarice Dechent, secretary-treasurer. The February issue named the first editor: Bret van Kriedt; Madelyn Greene and Ruth Praguer were named to specialize in dance and costume research and Eleanor Bates was named as artist.

Let’s Dance became the name for the publication in October, 1944.

How we do it
The magazine changed from stapled single sheets to folded 11 x 17 inch sheets with staples in the binding in October, 1947. It has been that way ever since, with only a change in the finished size. Let’s Dance changed to 5½ x 8½ inch size in September, 1956 and stayed that size through May/June, 1989. It has been 8½ x 11 inches ever since. It is published ten times a year, but has had periods in the past when it came out every two months.

Mechanical typesetting was introduced with the April, 1946 issue. This allowed for increased content, as the typeface is smaller. This also made it easier to use artwork.

We no longer set type in molten lead on a Linotype machine, but the principals are all the same. We now produce the magazine on a computer with justified edges and we sometimes use leading (a term  from the metal type days). Our type now consists of digital images on sheets of paper, which are used to paste-up the magazine on 11 x 17 inch boards.

Photos are no longer printed from engravings but are made into film from photographs or digital images, which are burned onto the printing plate. The method of printing is now offset lithography. We still collate, stitch and trim much as it was done 60 years ago. Someday, I suppose it will all be just an image on a monitor without the aroma of printing ink and paper.

That Day Has Come...
I had lamented that someday the magazine would become just an image on a monitor without the aroma of printing ink and paper and to a certain extent that has come to pass. Our printer has acquired a fancy high speed color laser printer that prints, collates, staples and folds the magazine in one operation from the computer file. No more hours in the darkroom shooting and processing film, no more inky fingers, no more collating, folding and stapling. And while I might prefer the aroma of printers ink and papers, the new method is more time efficient and does give us access to color photos without the huge expense of color printing. While this new procedure does save time it certainly is not less expensive. Color laser printing is costly—price out 5100 11x17 inch color copies at your local Kinkos! But it is a real step forward in convenience, time saving and the use of color photos

Official publication of the Folk Dance Federation of California, Inc.

Let's Dance! is published monthly with the exception of the May-June and July-August issues, which are released each two month period. Gary Anderson , Editor.