How to Do a Circle Dance in a Wedding

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Jewish tradition calls on guests to entertain the bride and groom by dancing at their wedding. The circle dance, or hora, is a traditional and favorite selection for brides and grooms around the globe.

Things You'll Need

  • Silk Scarf
  • Chairs
  • Jewish Folk Music
  • Request that the disc jockey or band play an Israeli folk song. A popular choice is Hava Nagila, because many people are familiar with the rhythm.

  • Place two chairs in the center of the dance floor when the music begins, and call the bride and groom up to the dance floor to sit in them.

  • Ask guests to gather and dance in a circle around the couple.

  • Have a few strong guests lift the bride's and groom's chairs into the air in the midst of the guests.

  • Allow the taller carriers to hold the front of the chairs; shorter ones should hold the back, so that the bride and groom are tilted slightly to help prevent them from falling. This will allow the couple to have their hands free instead of holding on for balance. (It's a good idea to practice lifting the chair in advance so you are prepared.)

  • Provide a scarf and ask the newlyweds to each hold one end. Under Orthodox tradition, which prevents males and females from dancing together, this allows them to connect without actually touching.

  • Watch the bride and groom dance with the scarf waving between them for a while, then suggest they take turns passing their ends on to others to hold, so special guests can dance with them as well. For instance, the bride might dance with her father, the groom with his mother.

  • Pantomime lessons about marriage for the couple. You might act out things like performing housework, caring for babies and being in love to remind them of what is in store for their future.

  • Separate the bride's and groom's guests into two groups, and have each group form a line on opposite sides of the dance floor. During the dance, merge the two lines into one to signify how the marriage has joined the two groups into one community.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the bride or groom is the last child in the family to be married, this is true cause to celebrate, now that all of the children are taken care of. The parents sit in the center of the circle and guests dance around them, taking turns coming to the center to kiss them and offer congratulations.
  • Some guests may decide to bring handmade masks, streamers, banners, costumes, props or any colorful aids to celebrate the couple's marriage.
  • In addition to traditional Jewish dances, guests may also request Yiddish waltzes and swing tunes and Miserlu, which is a Greek-American dance often played at Jewish weddings.

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