Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Israeli Folk Dancing

Without giving it much thought, I always assumed that Israeli folk dancing was eternal, and came to Israel with the Zionist immigrants from Eastern Europe. Wrong! If you want to know the brief history of Israeli folk dance read this article in the Forward: "From Zero to 4,678 in 80 Short Years: The Surprising History Of Israeli Folk Dancing"

A few highlights: The first Israeli folk dance was “Hora Agadati,” created in 1924 in Tel Aviv. "'Mayim Mayim,' by far the world’s most popular Israeli folk dance ... was created by German-trained dancer Else Dublon in 1937 to celebrate finding a water source on a kibbutz." And New York’s Israeli Dance Institute is celebrating 60 years of folk dancing this spring.

Like so many aspects of Israeli culture, folk dancing celebrated the new Jewish freedom and new Jewish body image, according to one of the authors cited in the article. This confirms my not-so-erroneous association of Israeli folk dance with the secular Jewish-Israeli culture that emerged in the mid-20th century.

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