What is Israeli Dancing - 051101

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~ Grandma Moses
In the book of life, the answers aren't in the back. ~ Charlie Brown

Lots of people ask me, what is Israeli Dancing.

First, and most importantly, it is a lot of fun. It is so much fun because, we dance so much to such great music. Since our regulars go every week, some twice a week, we become a little family and develop a nice camaraderie.

We dance a lot, 3 to 4 hours a night, to about 60 songs. Besides getting your endorphins flowing, and getting great exercise for your heart, you learn to move your body to music. To get better at dancing, there is no substitute for time-on-the-floor.

The music is from all over the world, old and new, with a huge variety of styles and rythms. Some lyrics are from the bible and are thousands of years old. Many old favorites are pioneering songs from Israel's early days and are 50+ years old. There are many newer favorites from the last few years and decades. Each week, new songs are released.

Almost all of the songs are in Hebrew, many are remade from originals in other languages including Arabic, French, Greek, Spanish, Turkish and many other languages.

We do most dances in group circles, some in lines. Some of the dances we do with partners.

Musical forms come from many cultures and include ChaCha, Country Western, Fox Trot, Greek, Hambo, Hora, Mazurka, Merengue, Polka, Rumba, Salsa, Samba, Swing, Tango, Turkish, Waltz, Yeminite and others.

Israeli dancing is most popular, of course, in Israel, where some groups have over a thousand people a night. Next in popularity is Australia, Canada and the United States, where there are weekly groups in many cities, and frequent, weekend long dance camps. Israeli dancing is also done in Europe, and Central and South America.

If you are a beginner, come early. You can always pop in the beginner group however often you like.

If you go every week, you will enjoy yourself. Expect it to take a year or two to become an advanced dancer, if you do not have much other dance experience.

Going twice a week (either to Israeli dancing or some other kind of dancing), makes all the difference. In only a few months, you can get to an advanced level, where you can just go and dance, without having to concentrate on the steps.

By Andrew Weitzen 11/1/2005

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