May 19, 2015

Intensive Dance track at KlezKanada

From Steve Weintraub, posted to the Jewish-Music list. I have long maintained that dance (and people teaching/evolving the dance) is critical to the continued relevance of klezmer. He's been making that possible, one group of students at a time, for many years. Now this:

With all the recent discussion of Yiddish dance history and practice, it seems the right moment to announce a first ever intensive dance leader's track at KlezKanada this summer. The course will take 3 periods a day, while you absorb the musicial and Yiddish culture of camp. I'm very excited to be spearheading this initiative:

Please pass on this information to anyone you think might be interested. And also check out the other offerings this big, 25th year!

April 3, 2015

From Honk!TX Review, 2015

From Itzik Gottesman, shared on Facebook:

0:00 Danza Azteca Guadalupana 2:30 Mazel Tov Kocktail Hour and Austin Klezmer Bund Orchestra 12:00 Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band

August 26, 2013

New Yiddish Dance at Summer Weimar

Dancemaster Steve Weintraub posted this to his blog a couple of weeks ago. It sparked some good discussion on the Jewish-Music list and should be shared (and discussed) more widely, I think.

The Age of Exploration: New Yiddish dance at Yiddish Summer Weimar

The Yiddish dance scene … has [remained] curiously conservative, mostly seeking to reconstruct dimly remembered dances, and teach today's dancers to dance like their great-grandparents. Where the musicians have embarked on an age of exploration, maintaining a conscientious link to the past, but exploring and incorporating material from other cultures or developing the music along the lines of contemporary pop, jazz, and art forms, the dance scene has been wary of any such similar exploration, preferring to delve ever deeper into fine points of "traditional" style. [more]

July 23, 2011

Greg Wall/Carolyn Dorfman Dance company at Brandeis U.

Everyone knows Rabbi Greg Wall, one of the amazing jazz sax players of our time. I first met him through his work with Frank London in Hasidic New Wave, but was subsequently blown away by his "Later Prophets" recording (not to mention work with KlezmerFest, or the amazing variety of music hosted at his Sixth Street Synagogue in NYC).

So, when Greg, who spends part of his summer teaching music to high school students at a Brandeis University summer program wrote me last week to mention that someone of whom I had never heard, the "Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company" was appearing that night and that some of his music would be featured, I had to be there.

No one will take it amiss or unusual if I say that Wall's music, while incredible, was not the highlight of the evening. It was the incredible fluidity and inventiveness of the dance and the dancers as they performed three pieces from a collection created by Dorfman over the last decade, sometimes collaborating with Wall on the music, called "The Legacy Project."

Judy and I were just back from Jacob's Pillow, in the Berkshires, where we had seen an okay Cuban dance troupe--good enough--but nothing compared to what we saw Wednesday night (and the fact that Dorfman hasn't been invited to Jacob's Pillow, given the comparison, speaks quite poorly of the Berkshire-based dance festival). I have to post my amazement, astonishment, and pleasure at the evening, which took us from a dance that seemed to celebrate life in Europe prior to the Holocaust, then life in the Camps, and then, slowly, Tikun, a healing of sorts. We were further treated to Ms. Dorfman introducing each piece briefly before it played, as the dancers changed costumes and had a couple of minutes to drink some water in the hot, hot evening.

What made the dancing so special was how tight it was, how well integrated each movement, no matter how spectacular, was with the whole--and with an array of props that were, themselves, it seemed, dancers. The other factor was the joy and humanity of the dancer. Seldom have I watched dancers who seemed more like humans who happen to dance like angels, than ... dancers. (One note by Judy, as we discussed the first piece later: during a wedding scene, as the actors portrayed a simkhe the hand movements were very Yiddish, but the steps, well, the steps were anachronistic Israeli dancing styles. And the masks? The Masks were just brilliant, transgressive, and wonderful.)

Many thanks to the Dorfman Dance Company, and to Carolyn Dorfman and Greg Wall for an extraordinary evening.

September 6, 2009

From Joel Rubin

Pete Rushefsky pointed out that my klezmer dance set at KlezKanada with an all-star band incl. Jake Shulman-Ment, Josh Dolgin, Susan Watts, Dan Blacksberg, and Stu Brotman, has been posted to youtube in 3 parts. Here's pt. I, which will lead you to the others:

June 2, 2009

Composer for Mexican Jewish Dance Fest seeks advice

…. I am researching jewish music for composing porpouses. Every year in México city they make this jewish dance festival called Festival Aviv.

I was choosen to compose music for a group, so my research goes from history to the deep investigation of traditional jewish music. I was wondering if you have any information about jewish typical musical instruments. I need to know everything about instruments before i start composing. I would appreciate it very much.

Here's the link to festival aviv: "Han pasado ya 35 años de danza y emociones en el Festival Aviv Carlos Halpert de Danza Judia en Mexico—Video producido para conmemorar esta XXXV edicion "

Many thanks, Marcos

May 30, 2009

KlezKamp Roadshop Madison Dance Party

So what goes on late at night at those KlezKamp roadshows? Mark Rubin provides some documentation from last month's KlezKamp Roadshow in Madison, WI. YouTube's "byray" writes:

Part 1 of the Sunday night dance at Temple Beth Israel Center, Sunday April 19th, 2009, Madison Wisconsin. The Kamp was led by UW Artist In Residence Henry Sapoznik, who was still at the movie "His People" when the band started. Aaron Alexander on drums, Dan Blacksberg on trombone, Josh Horowitz on button accordion, Mark Rubin on bass and tuba, Cookie Segelstein on fiddle and Michael Winograd on clarinet. The dances were led by Steve Weintraub. I filmed until my arm grew sore and my feet refused to stay still. So I put down my camera and joined the dance!

April 5, 2009

Pearl Lang, z"l

Pearl LangItzik Gottesman reported to the Jewish-Music list his sadness that Pearl Lang had passed away suddenly on February 24, 2009.

"One unforgettable moment with Pearl Lang—I was an actor in the National Yiddish Theater production of The Dybbuk in 1981 and at an early rehearsal Pearl, the choreographer, came over to us, me and 3 older Yiddish actors in their 70s, maybe even their 80s, and said to us in Yiddish 'Show me what you can do' and with no music playing they just spontaneously combusted into ecstatic Hassidic dance movements jumping and prancing all around the room. It was such a beautiful but surreal site to behold. Then after a minute, Pearl said, 'OK, I got it'."

Steve Weintrab adds: "It really is a great loss to the dance world. I studied with her briefly when she taught at the Alvin Ailey school in the 80's. And I had the honor and pleasure of performing for her and Felix (thanks to you, Itzik) at the Congress for Jewish Culture benefit honoring them both. She was a talented and tough woman, its a shame to have lost her.

"The Graham school has posted a bio and video tribute:

"I just spoke with Joanne Borts, who remembers her from when she choreographed Golden Land (for Broadway?) May her memory be for a blessing."

Judith Brin Ingber wrote a moving obituary to Pearl Lang, original published in the Jewish Week. It is now available on the Jewish Women's Archive in their "We Remember" section. There is a full biography in the archive's Jewish Women's Encyclopedia.

KlezKanada dance video

From Avia Moore

one of our film scholarship students made this short film about dance at KlezKanada. I only found out that I was the "narrator" last week. Here it is:

It includes shots at the of the piece I developed with my students at KlezKanada last year. Also really nice shots of Steve's class.

Hope you enjoy!

March 29, 2009

ידיעות אחרונות discovers Yiddish dancing ;-)

Helen Winkler discovered this article in Hebrew, with some video featuring Zev Feldman teaching:

Zev Feldman and Leon Balaban both forwarded me a link about an article(In Hebrew) re: Zev's Yiddish dance workshop that was held in Israel and was reported on in the Israeli media. There is a video on this webpage of Zev in action:,7340,L-3673020,00.html

Sounds like the workshop was well received.

Mar 29 - music everywhere, especially here in Boston

Here are two disparate, very kid-friendly (and adult-friendly) Jewish music events for a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Boston area. Judy Bresler is an outstanding dance teacher (and you thought she was just a pretty voice). Shirim has been adding some new material and sounds excited about playing music all over again. More details on the KlezmerShack calendar, (or just to view USA_northeast:

  • Sunday March 29, 2009, 1:00 - 2:30 pm
    Springstep, 98 George P Hassett Drive, Medford MA
    Part of a series: Spring Sundays Workshops for Families & Children

    At the door: $8 Youth / $10 Adult

    Get ready to dance at your great grandparents' wedding! Join Hankus Netsky, clarinetist Dena Ressler, and dance caller Judy Bressler and learn line, circle, and set dances from the "Old Country"! Join in the fun and learn dances such as the Freylakhs, Bulgar, Hora, and Sher! This workshop is co-sponsored by the Boston Workmen's Circle.

    tel: 781-395-0402

  • shirimShirim Klezmer Orchestra @ The Lilypad on Mar. 29, 2009!

    Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, masters of the klezmer universe, perform a fun and infectious concert of klezmer and beyond on Mar. 29, 2:00pm at the Lilypad, 1353 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, MA . Suggested donation, $10, $7/kids. Bring the kids, bring your grandmother! Be ready to move. This is music for the soul.

January 18, 2009

Reappearing Acts: From Jewish Life to Jewish Dance Theatre, now online

Here is a fascinating account of a century of traditional Jewish life leading to Jewish dance, from the Yiddish Dance Network:

… the paper I wrote last year is now online through "Mofa, Magazine of the Performing Arts," published out of Tel Aviv U., edited by Avraham Oz from Haifa U.: Reappearing Acts: From Jewish Life to Jewish Dance Theatre, by: Karen Goodman, Los Angeles date: 2008-01-14

In 1913, in Lodz, Poland, a fifteen year old cheder boy pushes his payes under his hat to go tango dancing with his sister. He wins a ballet scholarship to Berlin; and this youngest and only son of thirteen, whose Chasidic mother wants him to be a rabbi, changes tracks. Soon he is performing for even the Kaiser, with the Berlin Opera Ballet, then as soloist in operettas, and studying drama with Max Reinhardt. He enters the U.S. illegally in 1920. [more]

January 10, 2009

7th Annual KlezmerQuerque, Albuquerque, NM Feb 12-15, 2009

Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, January 7th, 2009 -- The Southwest’s 7th Celebration of Klezmer Music and Dance-- KLEZMERQUERQUE 2009-- presents 4 days of concerts, dance parties, classes and workshops featuring the world-renowned Strauss/Warschauer Klezmer Duo—Deborah Strauss and Jeff Warschauer; the acclaimed dancer, choreographer, dance scholar and historian Judith Brin Ingber, as well as many local artists. ‘Klezmer’ is the music and dance of the Jewish people of Eastern Europe which is currently enjoying a revival in the world music scene as well as in popular music and culture. The annual festival will take place from February 12-15 (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon) at Albuquerque’s Congregation Nahalat Shalom which is located on 3606 Rio Grande Blvd. NW (between Candelaria & Griegos).

For detailed information about class times, prices, tickets & registration:
Beth Cohen, Klezmerquerque coordinator (505) 243-6276 and/or
The non-profit and tax-exempt Congregation Nahalat Shalom: (505) 343-8227

January 3, 2009

"Tanzhoyz" live and well in Germany; Boston next?

Günther Schöller writes to the Jewish-Music list, in response to the growing US "tanzhoyz" movement:

The "Tanzhoyz Movement" is also strong in Germany and Austria. On the following website (which is in German only) you can find information about "Tanzhoyz" events that happen on a regular basis:

Currently there are "Tanzhoyzer" listed in Berlin, Bonn, Karlsruhe, Nuremberg, Offenbach and Vienna.

December 27, 2008

Updated Yizkor book links, by Helen Winkler

It's been almost a decade that Helen Winkler has been maintaining a page on the KlezmerShack with Jewish Music and Dance as recorded in Yizkor books. In time for the secular new year, she has provided a new set up updates. Check it out!

Of course, several of you will have noticed from the name that this is the same Helen Winkler, indefatiguable teacher of Eastern European Jewish dance (as well as more modern Israeli dance), and the maintainer of the Jewish Dance website.

Many thanks, Helen.

October 22, 2008

"Tanzhoyz" movement spreads to Chicago

From Eastern European Jewish dance powerhouse Steve Weintraub:

Chag Sameach everyone. I'm very happy to announce that Chicago now joins NYC and the Bay Area in what I may dare to call the "Tanzhoyz Movement". (Who's next, I wonder) I'll be hosting monthly Yiddish dance parties with live music! Here's to getting those dances back into the community. Wish us luck!

Join us at the HOPKELE
Chicagoland's NEW monthly Klezmer Dance Party
Led by Internationally renowned Yiddish DanceMaster STEVE WEINTRAUB
With LIVE music provided by KURT BJORLING and Members of CHICAGO KLEZMER ENSEMBLE

Last Wednesdays of the month (mostly)
October 29, 7:30pm to 9:30pm
303 Dodge Avenue
Evanston, Illinois

$8 / $5 JRC members and students

June 29, 2008

KlezKamp Channel on YouTube - new clips

Well, first of all, you can view the KlezKamp channel on YouTube (to which you can even subscribe with your ipod or newsreader) at

Recent posts include "KlezKamp 2007 - Carpathian Jewish Wedding Band (Part 1)":

and KlezKamp 2007 - Dance by Felix Fibich's class

June 28, 2008

New YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe

book cover

Helen Winkler writes:

The new two volume YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, published by Yale University press, has just been issued. It is an inspiring accomplishment with invaluable text and fine illustrations. Dance in covered from pages 387-392, comprising three articles. The overview and Traditional Dance are written by Walter Zev Feldman and Theatrical Dance by Judith Brin Ingber. There are some cross-references also. It is a recommended resource.

February 23, 2008

Abe Cahan's articles on Yiddish Dance available

The indefatigable Helen Winkler posted this announcements to the Jewish-Music mailing list:

Cantor Joseph Levine has translated excerpts from Cahan's Yiddish articles about the Yiddish dance songs and you can read the English translation at:

or via the dance-song page, (original Yiddish can be accessed from this page).

January 12, 2008

Yiddish Dance Action Network: Calling All Zamlers!

From Helen Winkler:

The Yiddish Dance Action Network is an association of musicians, dancers, ethnographers and others who strive to document and continue the traditions of Yiddish Dance. We need your help. We seek materials and memories that will help complete the picture of what Yiddish dance was and what it can be. Examples of useful documentation include:

  • memories of Yiddish dancing: perhaps you have a family member or friend who recalls the old dances and wants to share these memories
  • old family films, home movies or photos of celebrations that feature Yiddish dance
  • written descriptions in books or personal accounts of the dances, such as written memoirs

If you have information about the dances that you would like to share, please contact us: E-mail Helen Winkler or orPete Rushefsky

*Zamler is the Yiddish word for compiler. Zamlers gather together scattered things in order to form a collection.

Continue reading "Yiddish Dance Action Network: Calling All Zamlers!" »

December 9, 2007

Yiddish Dance Symposium, NYC, Dec 9, 2007

setting upI won't have time to do much synchronous blogging, but wanted to convey a bit of the excitement of this first-time event by getting a first post online as final setup happens here at NYU's Bronfman Center, in a tiny room that may hold 50 people. But, what 50 people? Pete Rushefsky, of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance is here, as are Zev Feldman and Michael Alpert, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Helen Winkler, PhD candidate Jill Gellerman who is doing such neat research on dance, and a host of onlookers like me and other klezmer folks about town, including Mark Slobin, Nahma Sendrow, youngsters like KlezKanada's Avia Moore....

For years I have contended (and others, more effectual—they've even gotten this symposium together) that reviving klezmer without reviving the dance makes incomplete sense. Dance music without dancers is decontextualized in the extreme.

Continue reading "Yiddish Dance Symposium, NYC, Dec 9, 2007" »

October 21, 2007

Call to action! Innovative NYC Yiddish Dance program in peril

Pete Rushefsky posted this request to the Jewish-Music list. I have been so jealous of the talent and opportunity in NYC. It matters enough that people who love dancing keep this program alive:

Dear friends, we're looking for a few more students for this important new Yiddish Dance Class … please call the 92nd St. Y’s Harkness Dance Center at 212.415.5552 to register or Pete Rushefsky at 917-326-9659! Here's some more information (we apologize if you receive this message more than once):

Continue reading "Call to action! Innovative NYC Yiddish Dance program in peril" »

September 10, 2007

More Yiddish Dance in NYC!

Those who have treasured the new "Tantshoyz" series that Pete Rushefsky has initiated in NYC, will be thrilled at the following news. Ah, if I could figure out a way to make this happen in Boston....

New Yiddish Dance Class at NY's 92 St. Y presented by Center for Traditional Music and Dance and the 92 St. Y.

CTMD announces a new partnership with Manhattan's 92 St Y to offer a series of Yiddish dance classes beginning in September led by Walter Zev Feldman and other master dance leaders.

Building on our monthly Tantshoyz (dance house) series at the JCC in Manhattan, the 92 St. Y classes will provide intermediate and advanced dancers with a more in-depth opportunity to explore classic Yiddish and coterritorial dances such as the sher, hora/zhok, freylekhs, honga, hora moldavaneasca and bulgar. Special focus will also be given to the expressive power and gestures of solo dance. Classes will feature live klezmer music performed by Jake Shulman-Ment on violin and Pete Rushefsky on tsimbl (hammered dulcimer).

Continue reading "More Yiddish Dance in NYC!" »

September 9, 2007

Zev Feldman at KlezKanada 2007

Marilla Wex posted this video of Zev Feldman dancing at the dance students' performance at KlezKanada:

August 9, 2007

Photos from Weimar Summer

dance session at Yiddish Summer Weimarand while I'm at it, Christian Dawid, posting as the spokesperson for the Ukrainian world music supergroup, Konsonans Retro, writes:

There are many wonderful photos from Yiddish Summer Weimar online at Click on 'Diashow'.

The workshops are still running—currently featuring Lorin Sklamberg, Pesakh Fiszman and others.

April 1, 2006

Broiges tanz - on film!

Another item from the amazing Helen Winkler:

I now have a page up with video and photos from the event Judith Cohen and I did a few weeks ago:

The video clip of the broiges tants requires the most recent version of Quick Time to view it. This dance happened quite by accident as I had not planned to do it but Judith started playing and singing it earlier in the evening and we decided to include it at the last minute. My dance partner, Judy Silver had never seen a broiges tants before so it was very improvised and spontaneous. I welcome all information that people might have about this dance from past years, as I am accumulating a collection of people's recollections elsewhere on my web site.

September 11, 2005

Jewish musicians sought for Katrina benefit in Seattle

Play at a Katrina fundraiser in Seattle, please! Jewish musicians (guitar players, cantorial soloists, anyone else we can think of...)are attempting to organize a show on Sunday, Sept 25 at 7:00, probably at downtown Temple DeHirsch/Sinai. It would be great to have a Klez presence! Email Emily Katcher or call 206-780-0795

September 12, 2004

Class on History of Klezmer starts in Oct, NYC

From Daniel Septimus, of the Skirball Center

At the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning, we have an 8-week course on the history of klezmer beginning in October. Here is a description of the course.

The Strange Life, Death, and Rebirth of Klezmer: From Minsk to Manhattan and Back
Jim Loeffler
Wednesdays, 8:15 PM-9:45 PM - Oct. 13, 20, 27 - Nov. 3, 10, 17 - Dec. 1, 8

For centuries, klezmer music was the soundtrack to Jewish life in Eastern Europe. In the twentieth century, klezmer went through a wild series of twists and turns, disappearing and reappearing in the most surprising cultural combinations and locations. In America, klezmer arrived with immigrants and collided with American popular music before virtually disappearing following World War II. Now, in the past few decades, klezmer has become an international musical sensation with the most unlikely of influences, including jazz, reggae, and hip hop. Follow the fantastic history of klezmer music and listen your way through a century of amazing, often obscure, recordings.

Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning
(212) 507-9537

May 1, 2004

"Di Shtockshpil" revisited

Helen Winkler has been gathering information about "shtockshpil," which sounds like a Yiddish version of musical chairs. She has gathered description, poem, and even music together:

For anyone interested, I have posted my Shtockshpil info, including a partial scan of the sheet music on my web page. Unfortunately, the person who I received the scan from must have change e-mail addresses and Im unable to find him, to see if he can scan the entire page of sheet music and Im unsure as to the source of the music. Anyways, here it is:

Dance Stories
Partial sheet music scan

If anyone has any additions or comments, please email Helen Winkler.

April 3, 2003

Folklore and Dance tour of Romania, Jun 20 - 30, 2003


The tour will include 11 days of visits to local villages and folk dancers, ethnographic museums, dance performances, castles, folk restaurants, dance instruction and lots of sightseeing, arranged with the assistance of Marin Barbu.

Continue reading "Folklore and Dance tour of Romania, Jun 20 - 30, 2003" »

March 23, 2003

12th "Days of Jewish Culture," Chemnitz, Germany, Mar 27 - Apr 3

festival logoAndreas Rohde, of the wonderful German Klezmer/folk band, Aufwind, writes:

Now we have finished the program and the website of the 12th "Days of the Jewish Culture in Chemnitz/Germany". It is a various program not only with klezmer; we have reading, a radio feature, danceworkshop, theatre.... The website is only in German but it is translatable with altavista and other web-translation-services. (Website-Tage der jüdischen Kultur Chemnitz)

As usual, we invite attendees to post comments here, during and after the event.

February 23, 2003

Memories of a Neskaya Dance Weekend, Oct 2002

dancers, by Jacob BloomBack in October, 2002, on Columbus Day weekend, several of us made our ways to Franconia, NH, where we learned (or in my case, tried to learn) traditional Jewish Dance taught by Zev Feldman.

It has taken a while to find the time to put some stories and pictures together, but it was a special weekend, and I am glad that this is finally up.

Thanks to Judith Pinnolis, Dena Ressler, Helen Winkler, and Jacob Bloom who took the pictures and wrote the words, along with me.

September 28, 2002

East European Jewish Dance workshop with Zev Feldman, Franconia, NH, Oct 11-13

The workshop will be held at Neskaya (a wonderful space built for dance) on Rt. 18 in Franconia, October 11-13, 2002. Portions of the workshop will be accompanied by live music from Mooseltov (Seth Austen, Beverly Woods, Jim Dalton, Sam Moffatt.)

July 14, 2002

New: Yiddish Folk Dance Video
"Two Yiddish Dances" -- Settings by Nathan Vizonsky, as taught by Miriam Rochlin. What dances go with Klezmer Music? After all, "Klezmer" IS dance music! This 48 minute video teaches a Freylekh and two variations of the Sher. It also looks at the life and circumstances that helped give Yiddish dance it's unique flavor and style. Narrated and produced Karen Goodman, the dances are taught by Miriam Rochlin who studied with Polish-born dancer/choreographer Nathan Vizonsky in the 1950s. Documentary/Instructional video:48 min $24.98. Available at: Hatikvah Music, (323) 655-7083.

November 30, 2001

Klezzing in the Peg: Helen's Dream Vacation

Ever since I was bitten by the klezmer bug a few years ago, all I wanted was to have the opportunity to attend a Yiddish dance workshop. My first plan to attend had to be cancelled due to serious illness in the family; a few months later though, I was ecstatic to discover that the Manitoba International Folk Dance Association (MIFDA) had decided to host a klez dance event in Winnipeg, with instructor Steve Weintraub of KlezKamp fame. Although once again illness threatened to prevent my attending, with the help of supportive friends, on November 23, 2001, I found myself on a plane bound for the Peg as it's called.