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Israeli Folk Dance

Unlike the traditional dances of many cultures, Israeli fold dance is as new as its name sake, which, at only just over half a century old, is relatively young as far as nation states go.  At the same time, Israel folk dance has its role in much older cultural dance styles, which have contributed to the colorful and stylistic diversity of the dances.

Most Israeli folk dances have been created by individuals who recognized the importance of establishing dance styles that were indicative and distinctive to Israeli culture, attitudes and beliefs.  It is not surprising that the significance of establishing folk dances followed very soon after Israel was declared a state however the development of dances inherent to Israeli culture had begun well before.

Israeli Folk Dance

The creators and originators of dance who were so integral to the development of distinctive Israeli folk dance combined the cultural characteristics from the Diaspora, from Judaism and from the similarly diverse and colorful characteristics of the inhabitants of Israel.  The earliest form of Israeli folk dance was derived from the significance that the people placed on the land and on agriculture.

For example, dances were often created to enhance the celebration of holidays and festivals that surrounded the rituals of planting and harvesting.  Dances were also created simply to represent the individual and artistic styles of their creators.  How ever or for what ever reasons, the creators of Israeli folk dance have worked to reveal the rich, artistic and colorful heritage of Israel while establishing a common and pleasurable activity that unifies its people.

Although men have been responsible for creating many forms of Israeli folk dance, a large proportion of the earliest dances were created by women.  The experiences that each of these women encountered as Israel advanced from its birth as a new state to a unified and independent nation is imparted in the movements of each dance that they created.  Covering the contributions of every creator of Israeli folk dance is beyond the scope of this examination however an examination of a few of the most significant pioneering contributors offers a sufficient example of their work as a whole.

Dance creator Gurit Kadman played a major role in the creation of Israeli folk dances, especially as they were developed as part of the Daliah festival.  Kadman’s artistic roots began in her youth and were reinforced after her arrival in Palestine in 1920 .  The kibbutz environment in which she grew up was filled with folk dancing however these dances were largely confined to the hora from Rumania as well as the Polish krakowiak and polka.

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