The combination of range and quality of Israel’s dance scene, like so many other endeavors in this small country, is one of its most extraordinary aspect: It extends from ballet, to modern, jazz, ethnic, ballroom, and folk-dancing––the latter being your own opportunity to dance your feet off among the locals.
Ballroom dancing became popular thanks to new Israelis from the former Soviet Union. Of course, the Russian influence is also strong in Israel’s classical ballet. Dance lovers should time their Israel trip to coincide with the summer Israel Festival, or the fall Tel Aviv-Yaffo International Dance Festival, both of which host premier Israeli companies like Bat Sheva, the Israel Ballet and the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, alongside prestigious international troupes.
Another summer favorite is Galilee’s Carmiel International Dance Festival, with thousands of dancers showcasing folk and ethnic dance in particular. The Inbal Ethnic Dance Center draws its inspiration from the Bible and the dance heritage of Yemenite and other cultures, while Jerusalem’s Vertigo tends toward the fringe of modern dance.
Israel’s trademark dance is the Hora, with which people famously took to the streets to celebrate when the state was born in 1948. The Hora and other circle dances draw on both Eastern European traditions and the Arab debka. Folk-dancing is popular with Israelis of all ages, and visitors join the fun: Your hotel staff will happily refer you to an evening of Israeli folk-dancing.