Books, Articles, CD's, DVD's

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.

Aylward, Michael.  Early Recordings of Jewish Music in Poland from Polin Volume 16, 2003
with additional introductory remarks from Michael Aylward.


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 Ukrainian communities.

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 thenlistening 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.
Buda Musique
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.

Ehrlich, Herman.n "Abzähl- und andere Kinderreime sowie Tänze aus Lemberg," Mitteilungen zur Jüdischen Volkskunde, 21 (3/4), 1919, pp.58-61.  ["Counting Rhymes and Other Children's Rhymes as well as Dances from Lemberg."]  This article is mostly about children's rhymes but at the end lists a number of dances done by Jewish children in Lemberg, including a different version of the Broiges Dance, Kaparusch and an unfamiliar danced called Boiko which is described in the Dance Description section of this web page.  Ehrlich himself was a musician.

Freehof, Florence. Jews are a Dancing People. San Francisco: Stark-Rath Print. and Pub. Co., 1954.
The late Dick Crum for sent 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. Klezmer: Music, History and Memory, Oxford U. Press
This book contains an in depth, extensive discussion of Yiddish dance along with an analysis of the Yiddish dance music. 

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.  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.

Friedhaber, Zvi. DRAMATIZATION IN CHASSIDIC DANCE  Israel Dance Annual 1983.

Goodman, Karen.  Nathan Vizonsky: Dancing Master of Jewish Chicago, Fall 2011 chicago jewish history, Vol. 35, No. 4

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. "The Ethnic Dance in Israel, with Selected filmography 1986. ,"
Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Newsletter 8/3-4:1-6.
This provides good background information about the various types of Jewish ethnic dancing.

Halitvack (Edward Raphael Lipsett).  "Blume's Wedding" published in The Reform Advocate,September 14, 1907 pg.121-125.  Interesting short story that describes a wedding in Pavonda ( a fictional location in LIthuania).  Describes dancing and badkhn related topics.  The author was from Lithuania originally, resided in Dublin Ireland and then moved to the USA where he died in 1921. In addition to "Blume's Wedding, Halitvack wrote 2 more Blume stories that I have found so far.
1) A Peace Offering which describes the groom (Lazer) being arrested before the wedding (A Peace Offering 1907, December 27, Jewish Herald p. 4.) The story also appeared in the Jewish Chronicle with the following preface: "When I wrote the story of "Blume's Wedding," my readers were promised to have the secret disclosed to them of Laser's arrest a day or two before his marriage to Blume, when the Pristav paid a surprise vist to the Beth Hamidrash.  I here redeem that promise.  It is a long story but I will make it as brief as possible. (Halitvack, The Jewish Chronicle, October 4, 1907, p. 24), and
2) The Serenade an epilogue published under EB Lipsett, which describes Lazer being a closet cellist who is divorced from Blume and becomes a musician and also converts to Christianity! (The Delineator. V.94 1919, March, page 11). You will have to zoom in to read the small font or you can go to: begins on pg 175 of the slider at the bottom of the page.

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 Also on her page is a complete bibliography of her writings on many aspects of Jewish dance.

Ingber, Judith Brin.  FELIX FIBICH DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHER. Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review.  Vol. 20, 2000.

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.

Ingber, Judith Brin.  Seeing Israeli and Jewish Dance. Detroit: Wayne University Press, 2011. This book is comprised of a collection of essays that cover many aspects of Jewish dance--from folk to performance art.

Kapelye, Hopkele
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

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:
(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.

Pingeron, Jean-Claude,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."

Shomer-Zunser, Miriam.  Yesterday A Memoir of a Russian Jewish Family. Ed. Emily Leider. Harper and Row:  New York1978 pp 88-94
A chapter of this memoire deals with Miriam's mother's wedding in Pinsk, 1866.  It has some excellent information about Yiddish dance
a) A girls’ pantomime dance, of despair,  lyrics included for the dance song, haven’t found anyone who knows the melody for this dance ( are any of you familiar with this song?)

Vosshe vell ich ton x2
As der baal Choiv
Vet Kummen monen?
Az der Baal Choiv
Ve kommen monen
Vell ich hoven
Vell ich geben,
Vell ich nit geben.
Ain vort ich hob nit! X2
What will I do x2
When the creditor comes for his money? X2
If I have it
I will give it.
If I haven’t-I won’t give it.
In a word-I haven’t x2

b) Mention of quadrilles and lancers as being sort of the warm up for the real dancing, ie, Yiddish dancing
c) Nice capturing of the spirit of Yiddish dance, emphasizing improvisation and inclusiveness, and some description of the flow of the dances
d) Mention of a dance called Heidim Deidim which really consists of 2 men turning using shoulder hold and singing “Heidim Deidim”—no melody provided.
e) Indication that Patch Tanz was a pretty free-flowing circle, with the only goal—to clap and stamp at the right time.
f) Both broiges dance and the pantomime dance of despair  as well as Heidim Deidim, involved singing—so not just dancing to klezmer instrumentals.
g) Distinguishes between kosher tanz and mitzvah tanz—as 2 different types of dances—the kosher dance involving various family members, mitzvah only the bride + various guests

Stern, Shlomo. The Dance of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, Hamodia Magazine, March 12, 2009.
Musings regarding the meaning and origin of this dance.

Strom, Yale. "Klezmer Memories in Yizker Books,"  in Memorial books of Eastern European Jewry Essays on the History and Meanings of Yizker Volumes, Ed. Rosemary Horowitz.  McFarland & Company Inc.: North Carolina 2011.
From Yale Strom’s essay in Memorial Books of Eastern European Jewry by Rosemary Horowitz, there  is mention of a Tsherkesher/Circassian dance, done with a knife-no other details given, that was rewarded with applause.  Also a couples’ freylekhs sort of endurance dance contest that everyone would watch and applaud.  Quite a bit of dance detail in the text.

Vizonsky, Nathan. Ten Jewish folk Dances a Manual for Teachers and Leaders.
Chicago: American-Hebrew Theatrical League, 1942.
This is a book of dance descriptions, sheet music and folkloric information. Many of the dances are choreographed for the stage so are not exactly the way they would have been done in communities. Dances include: Mitzvah/Kosher Dance, Broiges Dance, Beggar Dance, Chassidic Dance,
Rekud, Simchas Torah Dance, Koilitch Dance, Fraelachs, Paatch Dance, Sherele (very simple version).

Vizonsky, Nathan. "The Evolution of the Jewish Folk-Dance"  in The Chicago Jewish Forum, Vol13 No. 1, Fall 1954, pp 45-50.
Further discussion of the dances described in his book.  Analysis of dance style of Eastern EuropeanJews, compared with Israeli dance and other European dance.

Winkler, Helen.  "Lomir Ale Tantsn Reviving the Lost Art of Yiddish Dance" in Rokdim Magazine,
Vol 76, July 2008, pp. 24-28, also in Hebrew.
Written by yours truly giving an overview of Yiddish Dance and The Yiddish Dance Action Network.

Winkler, Helen.  Dancemasters as described in Yizkor Books.  I have compiled sections of several yizkor books that illustrate the role of dancemasters in Jewish communities as newer dance styles, such as waltzes, quadrilles and even the Charleston began to enter social events.  Some of these dances also occur in the dance-songs collected by Cahan and others.

Yiddish Summer Weimar, has produced DVD's over the years of some of the Yiddish dance workshops they have sponsored.  To find out what is currently available to purchase, contact

Zeitlin, Steven, AMJ Kotkin and Holly Cutting Baker. "The Wedding Dance"
in A Celebration of Family Folklore Tales and Tradition from the
Smithsonian Collection. New York: Panteon Books, 1982.
A discussion of one family's dance traditions focusing on the Kazatske (Cossack dance).