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Bona Habanot

Other Bona Habanot documents

a dance and song

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

(BOH-na ha-ba-NAWT) = come ye maidens

No OTHER NAMES that I know of.


Ze'ev Chavatzelet, one of Israel's early, great choreographers, choreographed only 7 or 8 dances before his tragic drowning under an overturned tractor. His Bona Habanot, to music by Uri Givon and lyrics by Y. Bracha, was introduced to the US in 1955. This is Ze'ev's version. Another common one uses silly hand positions and this sequence: starting onto inside ft: forward, forward, forward, forward-back; sway, sway, yemenite. Twice. Back to back, yemenite, yemenite, yemenite. Twice.


Circle of couples, woman to partner's R, all facing CCW. Inside hands joined and held down. Steps described for man, woman uses opposite footwork (mirror image).

1-4No action.
 Forward and yemenite.
1Step forward onto L ft (ct 1), slightly flex L knee (ct 2), step forward onto R ft (ct 3), slightly flex R knee (ct 4).
2Yemenite L forward. You may touch hands tenderly (man's L to woman's R) on ct 1.
 Yemenite L forward: step in front of R ft onto L ft (ct 1), step in place onto R ft (ct 2), step beside R ft onto L ft (ct 3).
3Step forward onto R ft (ct 1), slightly flex R knee (ct 2), step forward onto L ft (ct 3), slightly flex L knee (ct 4).
4Dance a yemenite R.
 Yemenite R: step back toward partner onto R ft (ct 1), step in place onto L ft (ct 2), step forward onto R ft (ct 3).
5-8= 1-4
 Sway and yemenite. Face partner and join both hands at shoulder height out to sides.
1Step to L onto L ft, leaving R ft in place (ct 1), slightly flex L knee (ct 2), shift weight to R ft, leaving L ft in place (ct 3), slightly flex R knee (ct 4).
2Yemenite L. Drop downstream hands (man's R, woman's L) and circle joined upstream hands CCW (relative to man). Rejoin hands.
3-4= 1-2 with opposite footwork and handwork.
5-8= 1-4
 Repeat dance twice from the beginning. End with inside feet forward, outside feet back, hands at head height, inside hands still joined, and gazing longingly at partner.
Bona, bona habanot. Maherna leesh'ov mayeem Come here, come here maidens. Hurry to draw water
bameesh'ol bein hag'vaot. Cheesh redna el ha-ayeen. on the path between the hills. Swiftly descend to the spring.
Et kadeichen malena terem bo arbayeem. Fill up your jugs before twilight falls.
Shemesh paz shok'a, not'a l'fa-atei shamayeem. A golden sun is setting, descending at the edge of the sky.