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Other Ari-Ara documents

a dance and song

From: Ron Houston. Folk Dance Problem Solver (1987). Austin, Texas: Society of Folk Dance Historians, 1987.

(ah-REE ah-RAH) = lion (in Hebrew, if you stammer)


I don't know of any. Do you?


We classify this dance as Israeli only because it appears on popular lists of "Israeli" dances. It actually was devised and danced by Jewish youth groups in America and first written down about 1947 by Fred Berk and Katya Delakova. With their emphasis on a national identity and their plethora of prolific choreographers, it's doubtful that Israelis ever did Ari-Ara in Israel. This is an extremely pleasant recreational dance so we keep it in the box. There are several versions; this is the one I like. I hope you like it.


Circle of facing partners, man facing out, woman facing in. Hold partner's R hand.

2/4Forward and back.
1Leap toward partner onto R ft (ct 1), step beside R ft onto L ft (ct &), step in place onto R ft (ct 2).
2= 1, with opposite footwork and moving away from partner.
3-16= 1-2, 8 times in all. Rotate CW as a couple once, twice, thrice, quarterly, or as many times as you please during bars 1-16. End with man's back to center.
 Dance to R and L. Let go of your partner's hand.
1Run to your own R 2 steps onto: R ft, L ft (cts 1,2).
2Jump onto both (your own) feet (ct 1), hop on R ft and swing L ft to R across R ft (ct 2).
3-4= 1-2 with opposite footwork and direction (return to your partner).
5-6Jump in place onto both feet with R ft crossed over L ft (ct 1), jump in place onto both feet with feet uncrossed and slightly apart (ct 2), jump in place onto both feet with feet together (ct 1), clap your hands (ct 2).
 Elbow swing and progress. Hook R elbows and raise L arm out to L side above head height.
1-4Dance 4 step-hops (skipping steps) around partner once CW and move to your original L to meet a new partner. (Start those step-hops by stepping onto R ft.)
 Repeat the dance from the beginning.

Here's the words on our recording:

Tra la la la la la la. 8X
Ari, ara, ari, ari, ara. 2X

Which we translate as meaning:

Tra la la la la la la. 8X
Ari, ara, ari, ari, ara. 2X

End of ARI-ARA.