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

 
 

Inbal Dance Theater

Inbal Dance Theater (תאטרון מחול ענבל‎) is Israel's first and oldest modern dance company. In August 2014, Barak Marshall, former house choreographer of the Batsheva Dance Company and son of Margalit Oved, the company's star dancer and artistic director from 1994-1996, was appointed as the new artistic director of both the company and the Inbal World Arts Centre.

Intangible cultural heritage
The company was founded in 1949 by Israel Prize recipient Sara Levi-Tanai. Under the mentorship of Jerome Robbins—who staged many of the company’s largest works—Inbal toured internationally to critical acclaim performing in prestigious venues such as the Martin Beck Theatre on Broadway, the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, London's Drury Lane, Her Majesty’s Theatre in Australia and La Scala de Milano.

Intangible cultural heritage

The company rehearses and performs at the Inbal Theatre which is located on the campus of the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theatre in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.

Intangible cultural heritage

Intangible cultural heritage

Zvi Friedberg, who immigrate from Germany, joined the folk dance classes in Tel Aviv under the guidance of Gurit Kadman, and so he said: "As early as 1947, I heard the sentence that affected me so much, but how our fathers danced, we will not know.This sentence led me to begin researching and searching for the sources of our people's dance, from Israel and abroad, records, etc. "

Zvi continued his work for more than 50 years and did so passionately studied research in a scientific way (earned the title of Doctor) until the establishment of the Jewish Dance Archive in his home, which is the only one of its kind in the world. The entire archive was transferred to the Israeli dance library at Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv. In the 1950s, when he was a member of the "Ha-Po'el" dance troupe, he began to teach folk dances in schools and youth movements. 

Zvi Friedaber is a pioneer in the study of dance in the Jewish people and especially in the follow-up to the development of the folk dance movement in Israel. He has written books on the subject: "Folk Dance in Israel", "Dance in the Jewish People", "Gurit Kadman - Mother and End"Between 1978 and 1990, Zvi lectured at the University of Haifa in the Folklore Division.

Intangible cultural heritage

Slowly, folk dances became a common social practice alongside sing-along , which encompasses a large population, large to small, and serves as a refuge from personal and national reality. There are professional dance instructors in Israel who teach folk dancing, and they are teaching for classes in schools and community centers, and Israeli dance instructors also work abroad giving Israeli dance lessons, especially in cities with large communities of immigrants . Most of the dancers are members of the "Dance and Choreographers Organization in Israel and the Diaspora", which serves as their professional association.

Intangible cultural heritage

 

The Karmiel Festival

​First held in 1988, the Karmiel Dance Festival is the largest celebration of dance in Israel, featuring three or four days and nights of dancing. The festival features 5,000 or more dancers and a quarter of a million spectators in the capital of Galilee. Begun as an Israeli folk dance event, the festivities now include performances, workshops, and open dance sessions for a variety of dance forms and nationalities.

Intangible cultural heritage

The festival is usually held for 3 days and nights in July or August, and includes dance performances, workshops, and open dance sessions. The festival began as a celebration of israeli folk dance, but today it features many different dance troupes, attracting thousands of dancers and hundreds of thousands of spectators from Israel and overseas. During the festival there are two major competitions: a choreography competition and a folk dance competition.

Intangible cultural heritage

During the Festival which a crowd of people gather, viewers can observe a wide variety of shows. Israeli dancers participate in this festival, as dancers from other countries abroad. With several performances of various dance groups, there are events that are open to the public and to all participants. 

Intangible cultural heritage

The dance festival is held in various sports facilities in the city of Karmiel, among them: the amphitheatre, the stage, the park and the pavilion. Many events in the past were dedicated in honor of the israeli composers like; Sasha Argov, Naomi Shemer and Avihu Medina.

cultural heritage

The Karmiel Dance Festival hosted many professional bands from Israel and abroad who chose to bring new works to the festival as World Premieres:

Intangible cultural heritage

The Israeli Ballet | The Bat Dor Dance Company | The Kibbutzit Dance Company | Inbal Dance Company | Batsheva Dance Company | Oshra Elkayam |Dvora Bertonov | Dalia Low and her band | Yaron Margolin and his band | Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal | “The Suzanne Dellal Center” presents Israeli artists - Meira Asher, Yair Vardi, Yasmin Vardimon, Tamar Ben Ami | Ido Tadmor and his band | Moshe Efrati 's “Voice and Silence” | Rina Shaham and her band | Rene Schoenfeld 's Dance Theater |The Tamar Dance Theater Jerusalem The Tamar Ben Ami Band | Vertigo Dance Company | Inbal Pinto | Arabesque |The artist duo Tzachi Patish and Chen Zimbalista |Rina Shaham and her band | Ruth Eshel and the Escaesta Dance Theater from Haifa | The ‘Shalom 2002’ Band | ‘Panov’ Theater, Ashdod | The ‘Tamar’ Dance Theater, Jerusalem | Michal Nathan | Emmanuel Gat and the band |The ‘Kombina’ Band | Yael Assaf and Orly Arushas | Michaela Harari | The Tami Nimrod Fried Band | Yael Tal in Twal| Mimi Ries Wiesenberg | Hadas Hausman - Agmon | Mona Chang from China | The ‘Doror’ Dance Company from France | ‘Demo Dance’ from China | ‘Szeged’ Dance Theater from Hungary | Nova dance theater from japan | ‘Braunschweig” ballet from Germany | ‘Ballet Carcas’ from Venezuela | ‘C.D.C.C’ Dance Company from Japan | Expressions Dance Company from Hong Kong | Pact Dance Company from Australia | The Krantic Theater from Russia | ‘Moving Into Dance’ from South Africa | Telder Dance Theater from Holland I Nomad Dance Theater from London I The Theater Dance rolls from the Netherlands I  In Pucci Ballet Poclurico de Chile I  Land of Nood from France I Theater of Croatia I  Dance Theater from Uzbekistan I  The National Theater of Slovenia I  Daniel Levi from Canada.

Pictures of Alex Huber: contact

Intangible cultural heritage

Like many types of International folk dance., each Israeli folk dance has a fixed choreography (sequence of steps) and is danced to a specific piece of music. The choreographer, selects a piece of music, usually from one of the genres of Israeli music, and arranges a set of steps to fit with that music. The formation of the dance might be a circle dance, partner dance,  or short lines.

Intangible cultural heritage

Major folk influences include the Hora, which is originally a Romanian folk dance, the jewish Yemenite music and steps, and the Hasidic dance tradition. There are many debka-type Israeli folk dances; the debka is originally an Arabic folk dance form of the Middle East. For example, the dances Hora Chadera (1972) and Eretz, Eretz (1974) hearken back to the Hasidic dance tradition.

Intangible cultural heritage

Israeli folk dances are a unique phenomenon of contemporary folklore. In spite of the many changes in the values, dreams, and ways of life of the Israelis, they still dance the old dances of the 1940s and 1950s—the years during which more new dances were created than in any other culture in the world. Today there are some three thousand Israeli folk dances. 

Intangible cultural heritage

 

Links 

Irgun Hamarkidim
Rokdim
Israel Folk Dance Association
israelidances.com
Yivo Encyclopedia - Hasidim Dances
Rikudim.net
Encyclopedia 
Dance Talk