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Hove Israeli Dance Group

In 1996 a young Israeli couple were living in Brighton while studying for a year in Eastbourne and London.  Their names were Dalit and Or and they decided to start an Israeli folk dance group at Ralli Hall. About 30 people signed up for the classes, but in 1997 their student year was up and… Read more »

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In 1996 a young Israeli couple were living in Brighton while studying for a year in Eastbourne and London.  Their names were Dalit and Or and they decided to start an Israeli folk dance group at Ralli Hall. About 30 people signed up for the classes, but in 1997 their student year was up and they had to return to Israel. So what was the group to do? A lot of enthusiasm had been engendered and it seemed such a pity for it all to stop so soon.

Finally the group decided to continue on its own as best it could and Eleanor Grey (Ella) was persuaded to coordinate it. Ella had been an international folk dance enthusiast for some years and the group also had one very knowledgeable Israeli dancer, Gideon Kalanit, an Israeli living in Sussex who was able to share his knowledge of many of the dances. He continued as a member of the group until well into his 80s. Ella continues as group leader even today 20 years later and over the years has developed her own knowledge of the expanding Israeli dance repertoire. The group also has a local administrative contact because Ella comes all the way from Littlehampton to run the group.

The Israeli Folk Dance group still meets every Tuesday evening at Ralli Hall except when the building is closed for holidays. Numbers attending are fewer than when the group first started and the members are not as young as they once were! Only one member – Nicola Hyman – still attends regularly from those first classes run by Dalit and Or.

Although not a ‘performance group’, over the past 20 years the Hove Israeli Dance Group has contributed to many local events by organising ‘join-in’ sessions. These have includedthe various Yom Ha’atzmaut events at Hove Town Hall and Ralli Hall, the annual garden parties of the Council for Christians & Jews, the Lunch Club Chanukah party at Ralli Hall, as well as similar events for individual synagogues including the Progressive and Reform synagogues. Most recently (12 December 2015) an Israeli dance join-in session was organised for the Chanukah Shabbaton celebrating the opening of the Progressive Synagogue’s refurbished building and it was enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Dancing is a fun way of keeping fit and the Israeli songs and music to which the steps are set are uplifting and memorable. Long may the group continue and maybe in the future some more local people will want to try it.

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