- Gordon Beach, Tel Aviv
- Tel Aviv Beach Front
- March 25, 2023
- 7:00 pm
- TAGS: Past Events
By: Gabrielle Donati
To participate in Israeli Folk Dancing is to experience a big piece of Israel’s history and culture, and for the past several decades “Rikudai Am” has been providing a platform for people to experience it for free at locations throughout the country, including Tel Aviv’s Gordon Beach promenade. The dance sessions take place Saturdays at 11:oo am most of the year, and from 7:00-11:00 pm during the hottest months of the summer, June-September. And don’t worry too much about the weather, the dancers come out year-round rain or shine (assuming it’s safe).
Most on the plaza look like they’ve been dancing for years and know the steps by heart, but the session leader can usually be found in the center of the dancers, so it you’re a “newbie”, snag a spot near the leader and follow the moves.
Even if you are reluctant to participate there plenty to enjoy just sitting on the sidelines and watching the bodies in synchronized motion and immersing yourself in the bygone era of early Israel.
The History of “Rikudai Am”
“Rikudai Am” attributes its beginnings to the pioneers of pre-state Israel of the 1930’s and 40’s. Rivka Sturman is credited as being the official “founder” of the dance style that soon caught fire as an enjoyable and entertaining activity that also served to promote and express an ideology and set of values. Woman were historically the primary creators and participants of this style of dance, and taught the dances and associated values to their children, but as the movement grew, men also began contributing and participating in the movement. Particularly well-known is Barukh Aggadati, who created and performed – as a solo, the first Israeli folk dance in Tel Aviv.
In the early days, the dances and music of the settlers was that of their original homeland: the hora, the polka, the rondo, and others. Community dances were a big part of the kibbutz and settlement environment, and National Dance Festivals were held in various kibbutzim throughout the country. In the mid 40’s, what is known as the Israeli Folk Dance movement burst onto the scene and blossomed throughout Israel and the world. Israelidances.com has documented no less than 4000 Israeli Folk Dances that are in existence today: some created in Israel, some created abroad.
To participate in Israeli Folk Dancing is to experience a big piece of Israel’s history and culture. For a few decades, Rikudai Am lessons/dance sessions have been sponsored for free every Saturdays in various locations and times throughout the country. Held year-round – rain or shine (depending on severity of the weather) – it is a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the spirit of the early settlers, if only for a few hours.
Where: Gordon Beach Plaza, Tel Aviv-Jaffa
When: From June to September on Saturdays from 7:00-11:00 pm; all other months on Saturday at 11:00 am
Read more about Tel Aviv dance communities >>
About the author
Gabrielle Donati lives a life of relative ease in the great White City. She is a veteran writer, critic and all-in-all decent person, once you get to know her. A devout Pastafarian who puts an emphasis on living healthy and happy, she enjoys discovering and sharing the many little pleasures of the city.
Photo: Gabrielle Donati
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