A Folk Dance Tradition Invented From Scratch

“Unlike other styles of folk dancing, where traditional dances are handed down from generation to generation, Israeli folk dancing was an exercise in cultural engineering. Early in Israel’s history, people on the kibbutzim would gather around an accordion player and dance the dances of their homelands: the Romanian hora, the Arabic debka, and dances from Russia and Yemen. In the late 1940s, however, there was a deliberate effort to create original dances. The early dances were based on these traditional styles, but opened the way for creativity and innovation. ‘The whole idea of creating folk dances, instead of having them just emerge naturally from the community, is quite amazing’.”