Charleston Multicultural Weddings – The Hora
The Hora (הורה), 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 fold dancing. Originally from Zikhron Yaakov, it became the symbol of the reconstruction of the country by the socialistic-agricultural Zionist movement. Although considered traditional, the Horah Agadati, which may be the first Jewish adaptation of this dance, was only performed for the first time in 1924.
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, 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. In its pioneer version, the horah was done at a whirling, breakneck pace. Each dancer’s arms were around the shoulders of those flanking him, with the circle spinning so fast that dancers were sometimes lifted off the ground. The dancing often continued for hours.
Later the horah became a must in group dances throughout Israel, and at weddings and other celebrations by Jews in Israel, the United States 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.
Charleston Multicultural Weddings – Parents of the bride dance the Hora
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 Charleston Multicultural Weddings and Jewish weddings, following the Israeli tradition.
Charleston Multicultural Weddings – Bride on chair during the Hora
Charleston Multicultural Weddings – Groom on the chair during the Hora.
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