Folk Dances

 

Folk dances are dances developed by groups of people that reflect the traditional life of the people of a culture, country or  region. Folk Dances have a social function for the people of the same culture to connect with their tradition and also an intercultural social funcion when people who are from differents cultures, meet in workshops and Festivals.

 

Folk dances have a strong link with the history and tradition of each people. Some Folk dances are called ethnic dance or traditional dance or ceremonial dances. The terms "ethnic" and "traditional" are used when it is required to emphasize the cultural roots of the dance. In this sense, nearly all folk dances are ethnic ones.

Israeli folk dancing (Rikudei am) is performed to old and new songs in Hebrew, and also some songs in others languages. Israeli dances include circle, partner, line, dances for childrens and dances for wheelchair dancers.

Intangible cultural heritage

Among the outstanding choreographers who created festival and folk dances were Leah Bergstein (Beit Alpha and Ramat Yohanan), Rivka Sturman (Ein Harod), Gurit Kadman (Tel Aviv), Zashka Rosenthal (Gan Shmuel), Yardena Cohen (Haifa), Rachel Nadav (Tel Aviv), Sarah Levi-Tanai  and Tova Zimbel (Hadassim).

Intangible cultural heritage

The need for community dances first arose among the halutzim of the First Aliyah in 1882, continuing with the Second Aliyah (1904–1914) and the Third Aliyah (1919–1923). During the Second and Third Aliyah periods, between 1904 and 1923, the halutzim danced only dances that they had brought with them from the Diaspora—the Horah, Polka, Krakowiak, Czerkassiya and Rondo, with the Horah becoming the national dance.

Intangible cultural heritage

Choreography of original dances by professional dancers began in the twenty-year period between 1923 and 1943, when dance teachers began to choreograph dances for festival pageants. Several of these dances also became folk dances.

Intangible cultural heritage

The Israeli folk dance “movement” was born between the years 1944 and 1948. In folk-dance circles, the history of this movement is chronicled according to the dates of the national dance festivals, the first of which was held at Kibbutz Daliyyah in the hills of the Ephraim region in July, 1944. Gurit Kadman, who planned and organized all the Daliyyah festivals, prepared a booklet (published by the Kibbutz Seminar) which contained twenty-two Erez Israel folk dances, eight of them original and the rest based on international folk dances (e.g. Horah Agadati, Alexandrova, Czerkassiya, Lithuanian Polka, and Debka).

Intangible cultural heritage

Fourteen folk-dance groups appeared at the first Daliyah festival, performing international folk dances as well as original Israeli and Biblical ones. A group from En-Harod, led by Rivka Sturman, performed a dance called “Ha-Goren” (The Barn). The new dance “Mayim, Mayim” (Water, Water), which Elsa Dublon had choreographed to music by Yehuda Sharett for the water pageant for the 1937 Water Festival in Na’an, gained national exposure.

Intangible cultural heritage

The second national folk-dance festival, which took place at Kibbutz Daliyah in July 1947, has remained in the collective memory because of the nighttime curfew that the British authorities imposed on the roads. Five hundred dancers and twenty-five thousand spectators remained in the Kibbutz Daliyyah amphitheater overnight, singing and dancing, transforming national folk dance into one more symbol of the struggle for independence against the British Mandate. Two further folk-dance festivals took place at Kibbutz Daliyah, in 1951 and 1958

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1924, Baruch Agadati (1895-1976) created the Israeli version of the Romanian Hora, which was named as "Hora Agadati" and was the first Israeli folk dance. 

Intangible cultural heritage

Gurit Kadman was a pioneer of the folk dance in Israel. Dancer , Choreographer , dance teacher and sport teacher . 
In 1929 , following the request of Dr. Siegfried LehmannGurit Kadman organized two dance festivals at the Ben Shemen Youth Village where she taught. Before the festival she created the right-to-right dance.

In 1931 began to train in the field of dance sports associations acting in Tel Aviv. In collaboration with director Shimon Refaeli, she founded the band for movement and speech, the first in its field in Israel. 

Intangible cultural heritage

Leah Bergstein was a choreographer who at the beginning of the 1930s created festival dances at kibbutzim. The unique creation of festival pageants contributed greatly to the development of a genre of rural Israeli festival and holiday celebrations and the creation of the first Erez Israel dances.

The first such celebration in which Leah Bergstein participated took place in 1929, organized by the Shepherds’ Group of Kibbutz Bet Alfa in the Jezreel Valley. Bergstein and the poet-composer Mattityahu Shelem, who were members of this group, helped to create a festival to celebrate the end of the sheep-shearing. In cooperation with Shelem, Bergstein continued to choreograph dances and design festival pageants at Kibbutz Ramat Yohanan in the Zevulun Valley, to which she moved in the 1940s. ]

Intangible cultural heritage

At Bet Alfa, Leah Bergstein encountered the culture of the neighboring Bedouin, which she found both attractive and mysterious. Stemming from a connection to the earth, to nature and its annual cycle, and from the ability to form a strong connection between everyday and festival days, the Bedouin culture had a rich tradition of ceremonies, songs and dances to express the feelings of a nomadic shepherd society. For Bergstein, this tradition and its adherents symbolized the ancient Land of Israel. For the members of Bet Alfa, shepherds and flocks served both as a connection with the land and its landscape during Biblical times and as a universal symbol of peace.

Intangible cultural heritage

Bergstein and Shelem sought a way to depict the complex relationship between nature, a nation’s cultural tradition and the new life in pre-state Israel in general and on the kibbutz in particular. Cultural creation, in their opinion, had to be carried out as part of building the national and societal basis of the country. Together, they created ceremonies for nature and labor festivals, of which the sheep-shearing festival at Bet Alfa was the first. Later, at Ramat Yohanan, they created other festival ceremonies, including the Omer, Tu bi-Shevat, the Festival of First Fruits, the Harvest Festival/Water Festival and the Wedding Celebration. Bergstein choreographed fifty-one festival dances, forty of them to music composed by Shelem; the best-known of these are Rov Brakhot (Many Blessings), Hen Yeronan (Thus shall we rejoice), Shibbolet ba-Sadeh (A Sheaf in the Field) and Shiru ha-Shir (Sing the Song).

Intangible cultural heritage

First Dalia Conference in 1944 

Intangible cultural heritage

Gurit Kadman organized the first folk dance festival at the kibbutz Dalia, which became a regular event. in the years  1944 - 1968 , attended by hundreds of dancers formed the folk dancing Israelis. The first dance convention in Dalia was produced on 14-15 July 1944 in an amphitheater near the kibbutz. Despite the situation in Europe, and despite the fact that the road to the kibbutz was disrupted, about 200 participants arrived and the audience numbered about 35 thousand spectators. The Festival program included dances of Rivka Shturman performed by schoolchildren from the Kibbutz Ein Harod and Tel Yosef, Sara Levi-Tanai with the Members of Kibbutz Ramat Hakovesh, the performance of an ethnic-Yemenite dance troupe directed by the choreographer Rachel Nadav. This conference was an important event in the development of the folk Israeli dance. As a result of the conference, the demand for Israeli dance and the Hebrew songs grew, and hundreds of new dances were created. 

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1945, the first course for folk dance instructors was held in Israel. Five students completed the course and became the first folk dance instructors in Israel and taught dancers in cities and kibbutzim.

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1937, the choreographer Elsa Dublon created the folk dance that is still known today as Mayim Mayim.

Intangible cultural heritage

The first major choreographer was Rivka Shturman, who immigrated to Israel in 1929. She joined the organization that was established and funded by the Histadrut, an organization dedicated to the creation of folk dances. Sturman had a background for modern dance. Between 1942 and 1983, she created about 90 folk dances, many of which are considered Israeli classics such as Dodi Li, Erev Ba, Harmonica, Kuma Echa, Ma Navu and "Debka Gilboa".

Intangible cultural heritage

Moshiko Halevy groups

Moshe Itzhak Halevy, known to the folk dancing public as Moshiko, is the son of an old Yemenite family in Israel. He was born in Jaffa, Israel, and his first introduction to the world of dance was at the studio of Mia Arbatoba.

 

In 1954, Moshiko joined Inbal, the Yemenite dance theater, where he was reacquainted with his own origins, and, for six years, worked as one of Inbal's principal dancers. He participated in Inbal's two world tours of America and Europe - both of which were crowned with great success. Moshiko fell in love with Oriental folklore, and, while still a member of Inbal, tried his hand at the creation of folk dances.

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1959, Moshiko created his first dances: Debkah Uriah, Debkah Cana'an and Et Dodim Kala, and they were instantly successful. 

Intangible cultural heritage

Moshiko in 1960, has founded his own group, "Hapa'amonim"  - an Israeli group dedicated to folklore, dance and song.  Moshiko continued to create dances, such as: Debkah Kurdit, Ein Adir, Hamecholet, Tfilat Hashachar, Ha Helech, etc. 

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1966, the Cultural Department of Arabs, at the Workers' Federation, appointed Moshiko as instructor and artistic advisor for minority groups in Israel such as the Cerkissians, Druze and Arabs. In 1968, Moshiko was invited to teach dances for three months under the auspices of NEVO - the folk dance society of Holland. He was also invited to bring 3 groups from Israel with him - Cerkissian, Druze and Yemenite - so that they could participate in both the Folklore Festival held in Leyden, Holland as well as the one held in Scooten, Belgium.  

Intangible cultural heritage

In 1973, Moshiko lead the Inbal Dance Theater on their successful United States tour. Moshiko, in his dance creations, is influenced by his work with minority groups, and this is clearly seen in his famous Debkah dances. These dances are based on Oriental - Arab motifs, i.e., Debkah Cana'an, Bedouin Debkah and Mishal. Moshiko has created at least 260 israeli dances and  also 190 music for his dances, 

Intangible cultural heritage

 

HaPa'amonim - Moshiko Halevy

HaPa'amonim - Moshiko Halevy

HaPa'amonim - Moshiko Halevy
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Inbal Dance Theater