The Hora

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    Why does everyone dance this six beat dance to four beat songs? They couldn’t find any Arabic four beat dance?

    frummy in the tummy

    I keep trying to remember if I’ve ever been at a wedding where we did the hora to a four beat song; now that you say it, I probably have without realizing it. That’s pretty funny. Is the hora an Arabic dance?


    Any danceable song is four beat. I don’t really know the whole history of who brought the hora dance and why it caught on so widely. They should have taaken the debka. The Teimanim have a dance for the Arabic rhythm that works with 4 beat.


    I was once at a Simcha where someone came up to me and told me that the reason all Jews dance counter-clockwise is L’apukei from the Zionists because the Hora is a Zionist dance and is done clockwise. I laughed and moved on.


    Actually, the reason is because of the Rashi in Shavuos 15 Dibur Hamaschil Ve’aamida Shtei Todos.


    The Horah (????), which is somewhat different from that of some of the Eastern European countries, is widespread in the Jewish diaspora and played a foundational role in modern Israeli folk dancing. Originally from Zikhron Yaakov, a town founded by immigrants from Romania, it became the symbol of the reconstruction of the country by the socialistic-agricultural Zionist movement.[1] Although considered traditional, the Hora Agadati, which may be the first Jewish adaptation of this dance and got its name from dancer and choreographer Baruch Agadati, was only performed for the first time in 1924.[2]

    It is usually performed to Israeli folk songs, and sometimes to Jewish songs, typically to the music of Hava Nagila.

    To start the dance, everybody forms a circle, holding hands or interlocking arms behind their backs or on their shoulders[3] and steps forward toward the right with the left foot, then follows with the right foot. The left foot is then brought back, followed by the right foot. This is done while holding hands and circling together in a fast and cheerful motion to the right. Large groups allow for the creation of several concentric circles.

    In the early days, Horah was popular mainly in kibbutzim and small communities. The dancing often continued for hours.[4]

    The horah became popular in group dances throughout Israel, and at weddings and other celebrations by Jews in Israel, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The dance appeared in North America in the early 20th century, well before modern Israeli independence, brought directly from Eastern Europe by Jewish immigrants.

    At bar and bat mitzvahs, it is customary to raise the honoree, and sometimes his or her family members, on a chair during the horah. This is also done at many Jewish weddings, following the Israeli tradition.

    The song Hora, sung by Avi Toledano, who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1982, is based on this dance.


    So it’s a gypsy dance? But whatever the case, it’s the wrong beat.




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