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Printed Resources, Videos, CD's
Resources From Weimar:
Yiddish Summer Weimar 2009-Dance Workshop Repertoire-Yiddish and Moldavian Dances
High Definition DVD featuring Steve Weintraub, Zev Feldman, Andreas Schmitges, Asya Vaysman, Avia Moore, Helene Domergue and Pavel Popa
Yiddish Dances-Long Hora, Dybbuk Patsh Tants, Workmen's Circle Sher, Troika, Krakoviak. Couple's Bulgar, Pas d'Espagne, Bulgar, Jerusalem Hora, Boiereasca
Moldavian Dances-Hora, Sarba, Rata, Cioara, Frunza Nucului, Basmaluta
Steve Weintraub's Dance Etudes
To order contact Yiddish Summer Weimar.
For more info visit http://www.yiddish-summer-weimar.de/e_home.php
|"Yiddish Dancing - Jiddische
Taenze: Tanzworkshop 28. bis 31. Juli 2007,
featuring dance instructors Erik Bendix, Helene
Domergue-Zilberberg, Andreas Schmitges, and Jill Gellerman.
Includes accompanying dance description booklet containing written dance
descriptions from Erik Bendix and Andreas Schmitges.
The musicians on the video are under the direction of Christian Dawid
and Binyomin Ginzberg.
Andreas Schmitges' repertoire on the DVD includes: Sher, Hora, Patsh Tants, Sirba, Patsh Tants (easy version), Runde, Moldavinyaska, and Khussidl. Andreas speaks in English on the video, while Erik speaks in German. Most of what Erik says on the video is in his written notes in English, so people who don't understand German won't be missing anything important. Jill speaks in English on the video.
To order contact: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
DVD Contents include:
A Yingele, A Maydele
(Horon: Alta es la luna)
|+ Abschlussball (scenes from the final dance ball)|
DVD of a workshop I did
in 2003 in Edmonton is available for order.
Contact me for details. $10 (USD) + shipping.
Alpert, Michael. 1986. "Freylekhs
on Film: The Portrayal of Jewish
Traditional Dance in Yiddish Cinema," Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Newsletter 8/3-4: 6-7 and 35.
Discusses the dancing in Yiddish movies in the 20's, 30's and 40's--which ones appear genuine and which are more likely artistic creations.
BAHAT-RATZON, NAOMI. IS THE HORA AN ISRAELI DANCE. Israel Dance Annual 1977.
Berk, Fred. 100 Israeli Folk Dances.
2nd edition. New York:
Israel folk Dance department of the American Zionist Youth Foundation, 1983.
A book of dance descriptions contains some klezmer-style dances but most is more Israeli/Yemenite
style material. All dances are choreographed versions.
Berk, Fred. The Chasidic Dance. US:
Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1975.
This book has a history of Chasidic dance, information about weddings and customs.
There are also descriptions of choreographed dances. A companion vinyl record was made to
go with the book and contains music for all the dances.
Beregovski, M. Old Jewish Folk Music:
the Collections and Writings of Moshe Beregovski. Ed.
and Trans. Mark Slobin. Philidelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982, reprinted in 2000.
Beregovski collected and transcribed numerous Eastern European folk melodies some of which
are presented in this book. It also has several pages about dances. The information is interesting as background information
but of course doesn't explain exactly how the dances were done. Touches on cross influences between the Jewish and
1) Mother Tongue Music of the 19th Century Klezmorim on Original Instruments cd.
Koch International, 1997.
In addition to being great music, Mother Tongue affords the opportunity of reading
about the origin of the dance genres and then listening to the melodies
(and of course dancing to them). Many of the tracks are based upon the group's
own 120 hours of field recordings. The leader of
this band, Joshua Horowitz, has been very helpful to me, in creating this web page.
2) Wedding Without a Bride cd.
Musique Du Monde, Paris 2000
The cd and extensive liner notes by Joshua Horowitz, will take
you on a musical journey through a 19th century Galitsian Polish
wedding-beginning with the Tsum Badekns(to the veiling of the bride)
and ending with Firn Di Mekhutonim (leading the in-laws). Background
information on many dances is given. These include the
Broiges Tanz (with an interesting Chasidic version involving combat,
death and return to life), korohod, sirba, sher, mitzvah dance, koilitch tanz and more.
The many customs associated with Jewish Galitsian weddings are discussed in detail.
Cochem, Corinne. Palestine dances! Behrman's Jewish Book House: New York, 1941.
Among other pre-Israeli dances, this book has a version of the Sher.
It is a simplified version but the styling is extremely vigorous.
Freehof, Florence. Jews are a Dancing People. San Francisco: Stark-Rath Print. and Pub. Co., 1954.
Many thanks to Dick Crum for sending me a number of dance
descriptions from this book. These seem to be choreographed dances incorporating
Eastern European Jewish motifs and steps. Titles include: Broiges Dance,
Sabbath Dance, Finjan Israeli Waltz, Jewish Wedding Dance, Chassidic and
Mazel Tov Freilach. Some dances were choreographed by Fred Berk.
Feldman, Walter. "Bulgareasca/Bulgarish/Bulgar: The Transformation of a Klezmer Dance Genre,"
Ethnomusicology 38:1 (1994), 1-35.
The title says it all. An in depth exploration of the topic.
Feldman, Walter. Traditional Dance. YIVO online encyclopedia.
Friedland, LeeEllen. 1985-86. "Tantsn
Is Lebn: Dancing in Eastern European Jewish Culture,"
Dance Research Journal 17/2 & 18/1:77-80.
A discussion of Eastern European Jewish dance focuses mainly on the freylekhs but also mentions other
dances like the sher. Discusses styling, body position as well as history.
Friedhaber, Zvi. 1985-86. "The Dance with the Separating Kerchief," Dance Research Journal 17/2 & 18/1:65-69.
Traces the history of the Mitzvah Dance. Explains the customs associated with the Mitzvah Dance in different Jewish communities.
Friedhaber, Zvi. DANCE AMONG THE JEWS IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND THE RENAISSANCE. Israel Dance Annual 1984
Friedhaber, Zvi. JEWISH DANCE TRADITIONS THROUGH THE AGES Part One (Talmudic Period). Israel Dance Quarterly Issue no.3, 1994.
Friedhaber, Zvi. JEWISH DANCE TRADITIONS THROUGH THE AGES PART 3. Israel Dance Quarterly, Issue no.5, 1994.
DANCES IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND IN ERETZ-ISRAEL
Friedhaber, Zvi. DRAMATIZATION IN CHASSIDIC DANCE Israel Dance Annual 1983.
Goodman, Karen. Video "Come
Let Us Dance, Lomir Geyn Tantsn," 2002.
Documentary/demonstration of the Sher and Freylekhs, including settings by Nathan Vizonsky. Dances are
taught by Miriam Rochlin, a noted member of the Los Angeles Jewish Cultural community since her
1940 arrival in the US from Germany. To obtain a copy of the video visit Hatikvah Music International (credit cards
accepted) or contact Karen Goodman (for questions or to purchase with cheques/money orders).
Goren, Ayalah. 1986. "The Ethnic
Dance in Israel, with Selected filmography,"
Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Newsletter 8/3-4:1-6.
This provides good background information about the various types of Jewish ethnic dancing.
Ingber, Judith Brin. video
"Dancing Into Marriage: Jewish Wedding Dances" 1982.
This is the video of a workshop on Jewish wedding dances which included Yemenite,
Persian and Eastern European dance sessions. For information about obtaining a copy of the video please contact
Judith Brin Ingber via http://www.jbriningber.com Also on her page is a complete bibliography of
her writings on many aspects of Jewish dance.
Ingber, Judith Brin. "Jewish Dance in Poland Between World War I and
World War II,"
in proceedings of Society of Dance History Scholars (US) Conference, University of Minnesota, 1996.
This article summarizes fieldwork conducted by Jacek Luminski, and Judith Brin Ingber
among elderly Jews in Poland. It explains the various processionals which were part of
Jewish weddings in Poland between the two world wars. Interestingly, many different
regional meanings of the term Mitzve Tanzl are described. The term might refer to
dances that were obligated to be danced at a wedding like the Broiges Tanz or the Koilitch
Tanz. The mitzve tanzl might also refer to a sort of line dance that is started by the
mother of the bride, with guests joining the line until all are dancing. In yet another
version, the dance had 3 sections: 1)Bride and groom dance together separated by a scarf
2) All the guests snaking around the room 3)All the guests circling the bride and groom
who continue to dance in the middle of the circle. Other dances done by Jews in different
parts of Poland retained the "flavour" of the dances done by their non-Jewish neighbours,
yet were danced differently by the Jews. Such dances included the czardas, the Cozak and serba.
This CD was produced via a collaboration between dance master Steve Weintraub and the Kapleye
ensemble. It is a Yiddish dance Cd and every tune fits nicely to known Yiddish dances.
Coming soon: Steve's dance descriptions.....Stay tuned!
Kaufman, Gert. No. 2 Sherele Palestine Folk Dance Series. Lion the Printer: Tel-Aviv, 1946
A choreographed version of the sher, more complex than other versions, no shining,
no threading the needle. Based upon Gurit Kadman's (Kaufman) observations of European
immigrants to Palestine. Styling more vigorous than that demonstrated in Dancing into Marriage video.
Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and
Earth. Ellipsis Arts, 1996.
This is a compilation cd that's tucked into a book about klezmer music. There are interviews with musicians,
vintage photographs and lots of background information about the music and the dancing.
The Patsh Tanz (Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band) is the same melody traditionally used in folk dance groups
but is much more exciting to listen to. Working around the drum solo is a bit of a challenge but it can be done.
There is also a version of the Broiges Tanz as part of a medley (Ray Musiker & The Klezmatics).
I have used the Behusher Kusid (Budowitz) to do Vizonsky's Rekud or the Miztzvah Tanz.
See the review at the Klez Shack http://www.klezmershack.com
Kraus, Richard. Folk Dancing A Guide
for Schools, Colleges, And Recreational Groups.
New York:MacMillan Company, 1962.
A book of international folk dance that has instructions for the Russian Sher including the thread the needle figure.
Kugelmass, Jack and Jonathan Boyaran.
From a Ruined Garden The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry.
2nd edition. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998.
This book contains many interesting chapters on life before, during and after the holocaust.
Dancing is mentioned in various chapters. There is a page long description of a wedding where the Broiges dance
was done (The Angry Dance), which gives the reader an idea of the social context of the dance.
An online translation can be found here: http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/z/zyb-12.htm
(Scroll to item E. ) This is a different translation performed by the website that hosts the translation.
Lapson, Dvora. Dances of the Jewish
People. New York: Board of Jewish Education, 1954.
A time honoured reference book with dance instructions for choreographed versions of many of the dances
e.g., Patch Tanz, Sher, Broiges Dance.
Lapson, Dvora. Jewish Dances of Eastern and Central Europe.
Journal of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 15. (1963), pp. 58-61.
Excellent review article of the history of Jewish dance, including Eastern European Jewish dances.
Levine, Joseph A. Yiddish Dance Songs. Journal of Synagogue Music, Vol 35, Fall 2010, pp 59-96.
An analysis of Yiddish dance songs, with musical examples and background on the social context of these dances.
MANOR , GIORA. THE DYBBUK DANCES. Israel Dance Annual 1983
Picon, Molly. Molly! An Autobiography. New York: Simon and Shuster,1980.
Not really much on dance but explains but explains how Yidl with the Fidl was made.
A Jewish Act of Homage in Poland in the 18th Century
translated by Michael Aylward
Thanks to Michael Aylward for discovering, translating, and sharing this document which describes an occurrence of Yiddish dancing in Poland circa 1763. We are not sure what the act of homage was about. We continue to seek further information about this event.
Rivkind, Isaac. Klezmorim Jewish Folk Musicians
A Study in Cultural History. New York: Futuro Press,1960
This book is written in Hebrew and you can see a pdf scan of the original Hebrew here.
It was sent to me by the late Dick Crum. Volunteers have been hard at work
translating the book. I would like to thank those that have put hours into this
project and would like to dedicate this translation work to the memory of Dick Crum.
The book is full of information about the history of klezmer and also includes a chapter
devoted to wedding dance customs.
This translation is not word for word and should be considered as an overview of the book.
All of these files are in pdf format.
Chapters 1-3 (a very rough translation at this point-hoping to have this part reworked)
Chapters 4-6 (a more accurate translation than 1-3)
Although we haven't translated each footnote, if you look at the Hebrew pdf, you can pick out the primary
sources. Occasionally, the footnotes are in Roman characters. If you are fluent in Hebrew and happen to
notice any translation errors, please let me know.
Rubin, Ruth. Voices of a People The
Story of Yiddish Folksong. Philadelphia:
The Jewish Publication Society of America., 1979.
This is a fascinating book with many examples of Yiddish songs. There is an entire chapter devoted to
wedding rituals and another devoted to dance related folk songs.
Sendry, Alfred. The Music of the Jews of the Diaspora up to 1800.
T. Yoseloff: New York, 1970.
This book has several sections that deal with dance during the middle ages.
In the "Ghettos of Europe" chapter, the important role of dance as a release
for pent up feelings and for exhibition is discussed. The Jewish dances of the
ghettos were unchoreographed, and kind of wild sounding. They were considered uncouth
by the non-Jewish community; Judentantz was a derogatory term used, a "travesty of
folk dances." The evolution of the tanzhaus, (a sort of dancehall) in
Germany is explained. Dances of that place and time were: May Day Dance, Marching dance,
Springing Dance, Judentanz, Dance of the first Man, Dr. Foist (Faust), Fish Dance
and the Dance of Death (popular at weddings!). Chasidic dance is explored
including an unusual custom of the followers of R. Aaron Karliner called Kullyikes or "Rollers."
Men would roll on the ground in a dance rhythm prior to morning services, a "saintly practice."
Miriam. Yesterday A Memoir of a Russian Jewish Family. Ed. Emily
Leider. Harper and Row: New York1978 pp 88-94
Vizonsky, Nathan. "The Evolution
of the Jewish Folk-Dance" in The Chicago
Winkler, Helen. "Lomir Ale Tantsn
Reviving the Lost Art of Yiddish Dance" in Rokdim Magazine,
Zeitlin, Steven, AMJ Kotkin and Holly
Cutting Baker. "The Wedding Dance"
Yiddish Language and Other Films
|Many films were made during the 1920's
1930's and 1940s for the Yiddish Cinema. Quite often the movies included
weddings in which there were dance scenes. According to Michael Alpert's article
"Freylekhs on Film..." some of the dances shown were good examples of
the actual dance style. Others were more theatrical interpretations. By watching
the dance sequences you get an idea of the overall styling and flavour of the
dances. What I notice most is how everyone in the freylechs scenes more or less
moves in their own way, whether by walking forwards or backwards, doing 2-steps,
or literally kicking up their heels; nevertheless, the whole group manages to
move as a unit in the same direction and nobody gets hurt!
Also take note of the small spaces used for dance areas. It's virtually in someone's living room with many concentric circles of dancers moving in very close quarters. No air conditioned aerobics studios in the Old Country!
These films have been re-released on video with subtitles and can easily be purchased on the internet. Be sure to compare prices. There seems to be a large difference in price from one vendor to another. If you're like me, working without funding, try contacting your local Jewish community centre. I found even in Calgary, several of these films are available for borrowing. Also, ask around; there may be people in your community who own collections of Yiddish videos that they are willing to share. In Toronto I noticed that some of the Russian video stores had Yiddish movies as did the Toronto Board of Jewish Education.
The Dybbuk 1937:
Yidl With the Fidl:
Koilitch Dance--aka-two women and two challahs. The women sway around with the challahs as the wedding party enters the reception area. This dance does not appear to have any specific steps.
Grandmother's dance--The grandmother
dances around a bit and then appears to collapse from the exertion
Freylekhs--everyone gets into this dance in their own way
The movie is set in America. Note that men and women dance together in the circle.
Mizrekh and Mayrev
Video Installation Jewish Wedding--Petersburg Judaica (bottom of page,
The following links provide additional information on yiddish dance:
Steve Weintraub's web site. We all know Steve as a wonderful instructor of Yiddish dance.
He teaches and choreographs Jewish dance, both traditional and contemporary.
Wrapping Their Feet Around the
Music-Yiddish Dance at KlezKanada
Eastern European tunes set dancing feet
describes how Michael Alpert collected information on the dances.
The web site for the band Brave Old
World has information about
the dance workshops that Michael Alpert conducts.
Living Traditions has workshops
about klezmer dance. Living Traditions
offers KlezKamp, a true Yiddish cultural experience (hope I get to go some day).
The Wholesale Klezmer Band web
site--this web site contains information on dance.
Members of this klezmer band also teach klezmer dance.
Visit their wedding page to view the broiges tants in action.
A Klez Act--Jacob Bloom's web page. Jacob teaches klezmer dance.
His page includes information about klezmer dance and gives instructions for a version of the sher.
This page searches the Mendele
discussion group's archives.
There are a few postings about the Mezinke dance.
Perhaps other dance topics will be discussed in the future.
Jewish-Music mailing list. You can
subscribe to the Jewish Music e-mail discussion group from the address below.
A variety of musicians and non-musicians participate in this discussion group. This group has led me to other resources.
The following links
provide interesting information on klezmer music
which helps to put the dances in context:
|Klezmerguide.com by Allen
Lutins is an online database focusing on recordings
from Klezmer's golden age and the associated sheet music.
Der yidisher gramophone by Mike
Discography of Early European Recordings of Jewish Music,
Jewish Radio Broadcasts in Pre-War Europe
Source Material for Jewish Music, Yiddish and Yiddish Theatre and Translations.
Several articles include historic accounts of Yiddish dance.
Early Recordings of Jewish Music in
Poland from Polin Volume 16, 2003
by Michael Aylward, with additional introductory remarks from Michael Aylward
Proceedings of the Yiddish Dance
Symposium held Dec 9-10 2007 in New York
by Ari Davidow.
See this delightful Jamaican/Jewish music/dance experience. Enjoy the music of Beyond the Pale.
Jewish Music and Dance as recorded in Yizkor books
compiled by Helen Winkler
Jewish Musicians in Moldavia by Itsik
(Part of Ari Davidow's Klezmer Shack--there are many other
interesting articles here at the Klezmer Shack including cd reviews)
Di Naye Kapelye
Di Naye Kapelye web site includes numerous articles about Jewish musical traditions and
klezmer families in Romania. Much interesting info with more being added all the time.
The group's cd also provides a totally different, but captivating klezmer sound.
ROJINKES mit MANDELN (en Français) - descriptive information on klezmer music and dance
Association (in Swedish) - Klezmer music and dance activities in Sweden
Historical Background Resources
Beyond the Pale-A Photo/Text exhibit
explaining the history of Eastern European Jews
Follow the “Jews in the Russian Empire” thread for information on living conditions
during the 1800s and early 1900s.
Der Bay resources on Yiddish Culture
and Festival Listings
Contact Helen Winkler - Do
you have a dance description to share or expertise in this area?