ForeverMissed

This memorial website was created in the memory of our loved one, George Tomov who was born on March 18, 1933 and passed away on August 5, 2008. We will remember him forever.

Posted by Susan McCarrel on March 19, 2020
I am so blessed to being part of his family of folk dancers and to learn about the culture of his home in Macedonia. My husband and I joke about using Googie and saying suspensors. He was such a unique soul.
Posted by Susan McCarrel on March 18, 2019
George introduced me to the vivid culture of the former Yugoslavia and to a group of people I still have contact with today. I went to the first Yugoslavia trip and had a great time. I have wonderful memories of George. When I had my memorial for my mom, Alice Barna George was there and we were able to visit his home and spend some time with him. This was pretty close to his death. He was a wonderful human being and left a great legacy.
Posted by Steve Kohn on May 14, 2017
George,
Still thinking, feeling, talking about you.
Love,
Steve Kohn
Posted by maury englander on August 5, 2015
Seven years ago today..........Miss you, Boss.
Posted by Susan McCarrel on April 2, 2013
Thanks to George I was able to participate in the cultural richness of the former Yugoslavia and grow as a person with so many friends. I live far away now and was so happy when George came to my mother's memorial service in Queens. That was just before his death, so I was blessed.
Posted by Lorraine Cohn on August 5, 2012
We do George's dances at Ellen Gollan's sessions In Plainview, Long Island. I try to dance them as though I am still performing them with George there. he is still in my heart and mind.
Posted by Lorraine Cohn on November 8, 2011
I loved to listen to George's voice and watch his dancing. He was inspiring and so light on his feet. I loved dancing in his studio in the Village and was sad when he had to give it up. It also was a thrill to be part of his performing group and wear those heavy costumes. I'll never forget those trunks of costumes. How he got them from Bulgaria is amazing.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Susan McCarrel on March 19, 2020
I am so blessed to being part of his family of folk dancers and to learn about the culture of his home in Macedonia. My husband and I joke about using Googie and saying suspensors. He was such a unique soul.
Posted by Susan McCarrel on March 18, 2019
George introduced me to the vivid culture of the former Yugoslavia and to a group of people I still have contact with today. I went to the first Yugoslavia trip and had a great time. I have wonderful memories of George. When I had my memorial for my mom, Alice Barna George was there and we were able to visit his home and spend some time with him. This was pretty close to his death. He was a wonderful human being and left a great legacy.
Posted by Steve Kohn on May 14, 2017
George,
Still thinking, feeling, talking about you.
Love,
Steve Kohn
Recent stories

Rehearsal

Shared by ellen grumer on August 5, 2012

I wrote the following for a writing course I took in 1988.

It is Sunday morning. I leave the house at  8 AM for a 9:30 rehearsal call. I must be crazy. I could have slept late. Why am I doing this?  These thoughts run through my mind when I have to get up early to go to rehearsal. What do I answer myself? Rehearsals lead to a performance.  Performances are exciting and exhilarating.  Nothing gives such a wonderful high as a successful performance before a live audience and the one coming up is really special.  I leave early so that I have time to eat breakfast. I know it's going to be a long day. Between handing out costumes and a full dress rehearsal, it will be exhausting.

Rehearsals have been going on twice a week now since January.  Thursday evenings and part of Sundays with a few all day rehearsals thrown in as we approach the big performance.

As I near the studio, which is on th 11th floor, I pray that the elevator will be working. In the lobby are some of the dancers and the costume trunks. Those of us who are early, or on time, help schlepp.  We greet each other as if we're relatives who haven't seen each other in years. We're a close knit family.

After we get the trunks up to the studio, we open them.  Everyone helps to lay out costumes on plastic sheets on the floor. They take up a major part of the studio. The costumes are laid out by dance number.Each one is from a specific region of Yugoslavia and has its own costume. Men and women work seperately on this task. For some reason, the women always have more conflict and difficulty. Then each dance number is called. I line up with the other women in size order and try on the costumes to check if they fit properly. They never seem to. We also routinely check, for all performances that we give, that the  costumes look in proper size sequence ( if my costume is just below the knees, the dancer next to me doesn't wear hers down to her ankles) and that the colors don't clash.

When I have all my costumes, I try to find a spot in which to lay them out.  I put my costumes down in reverse order in which I will use each one and wear each one. Now to check my accessories.  Braids, scarfs, head pieces, jewelry, shoes, socks, belts, sashes, bobby pins, safety pins, rubberbands.  Is everything accessible?

This takes all morning. We have a short break for lunch.  In the afternoon our two bands of musicians  arrive. They will be fitted for costumes at another time.

George, our director, calls for rehearsal to begin.  Maury, our stage manager, has his stop watch ready. He times the dance numbers and how long ot takes for costume changes between numbers. Will we need the musicians to play another number in between to give us time for a difficult change?  Well, we'll find out today.

We start. It is very hot. No air conditioning. Fast changes. Some of us don't make it on time. It is noted down where the extra time is needed.

By the time we finish, we are all exhausted and depressed.  We keep quoting: "Bad dress rehearsal, great performance". Well, this will be the greatest performance ever (given this rehearsal). One week to performance time. We have a rehearsal Thursday night. Friday we will rehearse with the singers. Saturday - a full run through with singers, dancers and musicians.
Sunday - CARNEGIE HALL.   

Thursday Rehearsal

Shared by Steve Kohn on March 21, 2011

Yesterday evening some members of the Tomov Troupe gathered at the Lakeside Subacute Care Center in Wayne, New Jersey, for an ad hoc rehearsal. The call for the rehearsal was made two days earlier in an e-mail sent by Martie Ripson and about thirty-five people were able to get there on short notice.
    “This probably sounds stupid, but I was thinking that I'd like to sing to him,” she wrote.
    The rehearsal included Troupies, plus a few other members of George’s extended family, from the entire three decade history of George’s New York saga, so there were many old faces to be seen. George’s was the oldest.
    As was so often the case in the past, even as we gathered, we weren’t certain where the rehearsal space would be. Fortunately, an atmosphere of kindness pervaded and,  in the traditional style including some social engineering by Maury, a stranger stepped forward to cut the Gordian knot in the manner of an earlier Macedonian. This time it was the attending physician who gave permission to move George’s bed into a lounge area where we could all fit.
    Once or twice as we practiced, a short and subdued lesnoto broke out and George commented that we should lift our knees higher. However, this was primarily a singing and weeping rehearsal.
    We practiced Macedonian numbers almost exclusively including some of George’s favorites including Go Fanale, Sto Mi E Milo, Makedonsko Devojce, Bitola, Prsten Mi Padna, and Zetvarki. The rehearsal was mostly a capella although some live tamboura, violin, and saxophone also graced the evening.
    Harmonies were in fine fettle, although the timing was noticeably off in several numbers. Perhaps, there is never a good time.
    At one point, George did something I cannot recall having seen before at a rehearsal. He clapped his hands in approval. In his weakened condition the sound of his two hands clapping was silence, perhaps to remind us that in the deepest moments of our lives only silence is eloquent enough to express the truths of our experience.
    With another bow to tradition, at the end we practiced our bows. It was the longest final bow in Troupe history, lasting almost an hour as, individually, we bowed down close to him and said some private words.
    George was in good spirits.

    In yet another tradition, after rehearsal half the group went for Chinese food where, for all I know, since I was not there, plans were hatched for another show.
   
Even if you were not physically able to be there for this rehearsal, your presence was greatly appreciated.

Steve Kohn

Written just after the events described above and before George's death. Originally posted on http://nemaproblemageorge.blogspot.com/

Shared by Friends of George Tomov on February 21, 2011

Sometime in the late hours of the night I got the news that George had died, I wrote some random notes - thoughts on George, the Troupe and our times we together. On the day of George’s funeral I knew I might be expected to say a few words, but couldn’t think of anything, so I took along those notes and figured I could pull something together from them.

As Rod stood at the grave side and spoke so eloquently, I realized that much of what I had written was not really appropriate for this crowd, so in typical troupe tradition, I got up there and winged it.  Later, a few people asked me to add my ‘eulogy’ to a blog we startred. I have no actual copy to add, but here’s some of what I remember saying and a few things I didn’t say then, but seem more suited to sharing here:

I was stage manager of the Tomov Ensemble. I was also road manager, make-up supervisor and occasionally wore a few other hats – sometimes literally.

I was told that George occasionally called me his “left hand man.”

I called him Boss. He called me Boss. That pretty sums up our relationship. And we argued a lot. One of the things we usually argued about was the length of the show. George’s idea of a good show had a running time of around 3 ½ hours, with 2 intermissions. I would argue with him until he agreed to cut it down. Next show, we’d start the argument again. This became one of our many Troupe traditions.

The Troupe was George’s life and he poured his heart and soul into it. If you were fortunate enough to be accepted – truly accepted - into the Troupe, then you became a part of George’s life. And George became a part of your life. And from then on, your life would never be quite the same.

We were a family. In many ways, maybe even closer. Like most families, we had a few strange aunts and uncles and there were several cousins we did not get along with. We put up with them all anyway. There were also people who were not really “related” but were considered part of our family. We had family feuds, family traditions and best of all, family parties.

We also had family secrets that were never, ever discussed outside the family.

And the best of times were when we traveled. When the doors of our tour bus closed, we were truly in our own world and wonderful stuff happened.

If you traveled with us to
Macedonia, you got to dance at a tractor factory while still jetlagged after an all night transatlantic flight. You also got to share a memorable flight from Beograd to Ohrid on a plane with standing room only.

As a Troupie on one memorable evening, you got to perform in George’s hometown of Strumica on a stage built for us in the town square. 15,000 people filled that square and the rooftops and hung out of windows and off lampposts to watch the show that the local boy had brought home.

You learned what “Nema Problema” really means, and you will remember a bus driver named Ivan.

You will still laugh at the mention of the Studenski Dorm, Fried Opanci, Cucumbers, the Electrician at Tetevo, the Cook at Resen and why I told you to “Count the women!”

And somewhere along the line you learned that being a Troupie was about a lot more than dancing.

My last bit of private time with George was only few days before he died. That afternoon his voice was strong and we were able to talk. We both knew we were saying goodbye. I tried to smile and pretend that wasn’t happening and so did he, but neither of us did a very good job of it. But we did manage to reminisce over some of the great moments we shared.  It was a good time.

At one point I said: “George, I still think your idea of starting a dance company was totally insane!” Without missing a beat, he looked back at me and said “You are right.”

I ended my little speech at his graveside the way I ended a hundred shows:

‘Bring down the curtain.’
‘Fade the stage to black.’
‘My thanks to the cast and crew for a great show.’
‘And that’s a wrap.’

Goodbye Boss.

 -Maury Englander  (Originally posted elsewhere  August, 2008)