OBITUARY

Abbey J. Plotkin

March 31, 1961January 7, 2021

Abbey J. Plotkin of Coconut Creek, Florida, formerly of New York City, died January 7, 2021, at the age of 59. Her good heart gave out, ending a lifetime of devotion to joyful dancing, as well as her love of diverse friends and a large Jewish family.

Abbey was a professional dance performer and educator, with a special interest in Latin American dance styles. She had relocated from New York to Florida in November 2020 to continue her career. Friends and family admired her personal warmth and joie de vivre and also enjoyed watching her experience the ecstasy of dancing.

Abbey was born March 31, 1961, in Athol Memorial Hospital in Athol, Massachusetts, the daughter of Charles S. Plotkin and the late Natalie (Steinberg) Plotkin. She attended public elementary and middle schools in Athol, and received her high school education from the Northfield Mt. Hermon School in Gill, Massachusetts, graduating in 1979. Her studies included a semester in Israel and one in France, studying Hebrew and French, respectively. She attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, received a bachelor of arts degree in 1983. While in Atlanta, she formed a dance group called the Cracker Jacks. Abbey took tap dance lessons when she was very young, developed an interest in hip-hop, and quickly fell in love with salsa upon moving to New York City, where she frequently attended salsa dance events. In her early New York days, her friend Edmee Valentin and her family embraced her.

Abbey founded Mambo Mamas, a female dance troupe which had an impact on the salsa scene. “Big Women,” as she dubbed herself and others, were considered incapable of the fast moves, and sometimes were not welcomed, but the Mambo Mamas proved otherwise. She worked as a dance instructor in salsa, mambo and line dancing. She was employed by the Arthur Murray Dance Studio as well as by senior centers, often arranging for her students to perform at various functions, including parades and celebrations. She loved living in New York City and essentially was a big city girl from a small rural town. Friends tell how Abbey changed many people’s lives because of her example. She arrived in New York at a time that the AIDS crisis was devastating the gay community, and Abbey became especially close friends with a gay man named Manny, who was also active in the dance scene, but she was soon was mourning his death from the disease. She loved all dance, not just salsa, but that was her favorite. “On the two! On the two!,” she would always say, a reference to where the beat should be. She traveled to salsa conventions in Italy and elsewhere, becoming well-known in the international dance community.

Her friends from her days in Athol and beyond noted “she had touched so many lives through her passion for dance, culture, social justice issues, LGBTQ rights, etc.” Abbey’s friend Edwin Rivera was one of the last people to talk to Abbey when she was hospitalized with heart failure. In a Facebook post, he wrote, “I felt your fear over the phone. Not fear of passing, but fear of not being able to dance with us again. Even in our last conversation, you were thinking about the dance community. ‘Edwin, I hope I get to dance with everyone again,’ were your last words to me. You were a gift from God to us, a trail blazer for the community. You did not see race, color, size, nor sexual orientation. You just danced, inspired and brought so many of us together. … You were a PIONEER! These traits of yours definitely passed on to me and I will forever be grateful to you.”

Abbey is survived by her father, Charles S. Plotkin of Delray Beach, Florida.; her brothers Jeff (and sister-in-law Deborah) of Prescott, Arizona.; Bruce Plotkin of Denver, Colorado; John Plotkin of Deerfield, Massachusetts (whose wife Karen Plotkin is deceased), and Michael Plotkin of Orange, Massachusetts; her uncle and aunt Nathan Steinberg and Rosemarie Thoms of Orange, her aunt Sylvia Jaffee of Florida, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces and many friends, as well as her cat, Tito Puentes. She was pre-deceased by her mother, Natalie Plotkin, brother Alan Plotkin, maternal grandparents Abraham and Ida Steinberg, paternal grandparents Isadore and Lillian Plotkin, her uncle and aunt Sherman and Selma Plotkin, her uncles Norman Steinberg and Stuart Jaffee, M.D., and her aunt and uncle Ginger and Steve Fiore.

Donations in Abbey’s memory may be made to the Al Plotkin Music Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 338, Athol, MA 01331.

Burial will be in Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, and due to COVID-19 restrictions, the family is planning a private Zoom memorial.

Services

  • Funeral Services and Burial are Private

Memories

Abbey J. Plotkin

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
Lucy Serra

January 25, 2021

Where do I start? Abbey, thank you for being you. Thank you for babysitting my little girl while I danced my butt off at your Socials. Thank you from all those years ago and for recently posting pictures of your glasses and hair colors on Facebook. Lol, I remember we both had purple hair at the same time. Thank you for your kindness. I wish we hung out more together, but maybe we'll meet again and continue our crazy convos. May God keep you close and may you teach His angels how to Salsa! Love you and miss you.

Angel perez

January 17, 2021

Is so many one of the wonderful memory I was going to a Cuban salsa dance spot. I know a few people but when I see Abbey we starting talk enjoying laughter. It was a nice experience . I never gone there first time but I really happy I decided to go. Our last time we dance was Central Park I will always remember Abbey she always know how to enjoy life.

Adelaida Rodriguez

January 16, 2021

DEAR ABBEY😍
SINCE THE EARLY 90'S WHEN YOU ASKED ANGEL AND I TO HELP CHOREOGRAPH💃💃💃 THE PHRASES TO
"TRATAME COMO SOY, BY TITO PUENTE, YOU BECAME A FRIEND🌺... A FRIEND THAT ACCEPTED EVERYONE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE.
I'LL LOVE THE SONG EVER SO MORE WHEN I LISTEN TO IT & CARRY YOU IN MY THOUGHTS FOREVER 🌺YOU WERE A GIFT TO MANY, NOT ONLY WITH YOUR ARTISTRY BUT ALSO WITH YOUR HEART💓
GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL WITH HEAVENLY PEACE, LOVE & LIGHT🙏🕊️🕯️
MY GRATITUDE FOREVER MAMBO MAMA 🌟

ADDIE RODRIGUEZ AKA SALSADIVA💃

Ava Apple

January 15, 2021

They say you should always tell people that you love them and not wait until it's too late. I'm so thankful that this time I did - my last message to Abbey on 1/7/21 was telling her that I love her, and I know that she saw it, even though I did not get a reply.

I knew Abbey from the Salsa World, since the late 1990's. Missing her terribly and sending sincere condolences to her family.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

Delia Nelson

January 15, 2021

My condolences to the family 🙏🏾. I wasn’t a personal friend of Abbey, however I knew her by attending salsa socials particularly Carlos Konig. She had a beautiful spirit and you could tell that music and dancing 💃🏾 was part of her being. Abbey your presence will truly be missed 😢

Maria Grieco

January 15, 2021

My condolences to the Plotkin family on Abby’s passing. Abby had so much life and was a true social butterfly in the dance community. She always welcomed me to join her group when out dancing, inclusive of everyone, a special skill. Abby you will be missed , may you RIP sweetie.

Wilder Nunez

January 14, 2021

We would like to thank the Plotkin family for blessing us with Abbey's presence. She was one of the most selfless, giving, caring, and loving human beings on the planet.

She's one of the reasons I was able to have the career I have today because she gave me an opportunity to help design her Mambo mamas website. The image I uploaded was one I was very proud of taking even though it was with a terrible camera.

She took great pride in the Salsa Community. Knew everyone's name, where they dance for, how they started, etc. It was remarkable to hear.

She never had a bad thing to say about anyone and even in her final days, despite what she was going through, she was still happy and ready to continue to take on the world.

When my wife Jaclyn, met her for the 1st time, she said Abbey was a wild woman full of life. I want to hang out with her more. Little did I know, so did so many other people that crossed paths with her.

My only regret out of this is I didn't get the chance to tell her how much I love her and thank her for everything

May you rest in peace Abbey. My condolences to her family and friends. We were all blessed by her friendship and will never forget you.

Love always,
Wilder & Jaclyn Nunez

Frank kanserstein

January 13, 2021

I am sorry to hear of your loss Mr. Plotkin, Jeff, Deb and Family. Abbey was too young to pass. I am sure a lot of people will miss her.
Shalom Frank K.

Sheila Anne Feeney

January 13, 2021

When I think of Abbey, I am reminded of the Maya Angelou quote: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
Abbey made people feel great, whether she was boosting their confidence as a teacher, delighting an audience with her dance moves or making a partner laugh at her witty, flirtatious shines.
After the pandemic began, I went to one of her line dance classes at Project Find on W. 42nd St. Abbey and I enthused we had found the perfect solution to staying engaged in movement to music while the world was gripped by a deadly, highly contagious disease: Line dancing, baby! (Boy, did we turn out to be wrong: all future classes were canceled later that week.)
The class was held in a church basement, where clusters of homeless people sat around rinky-tink tables listlessly drinking orange juice out of plastic cups and eating white-bread sandwiches. Abbey exhorted them to get up off their butts and come and join her class. ("I KNOW you can dance!" she yelled at one guy.) A few of the guys complied and we all sweated and rocked out to her amazingly varied and funky soundtrack.
I loved Abbey for inviting the homeless guys to join her class. She lived her"one world" gospel and made people feel good about themselves and each other. She had people whooping for joy in a bloody pandemic. That's a helluva good legacy. I hope we all incorporate her inclusiveness and love for others in her memory.

Gigi _

January 13, 2021

I have not been able to come to terms but
What is certain is that I loved you from the moment I met you.
You were wisdom, strength, talent, and Love wrapped up in the beautiful You. You encouraged and praised without shame or regard to a status quo. You welcomed and nurtured anyone who came under your wing and stood up for anyone who needed a hero ... (whether you knew them or not)
The scene will never be the same without you .. and it’s only right..... because you were incredible (inside and out)... Incomparable... and unforgettable.
I will miss you and love you always.
- your salsa daughter-in-law

FROM THE FAMILY