Judaism, dance, Kurdish, Persian, Iranian, Yemenite, Israel, performing arts, history, marginalization, Middle East, Mizrahi


Despite the cultural significance of dance in Jewish communities around the world, research into Middle Eastern Jewish dance outside of the modern nation-state of Israel is sorely under-researched. This article aims to help rectify this by focusing on Yemenite, Persian/Iranian, and Kurdish Jewish dance and explores how these dancers have functioned and been received within the societies they have been a part of. The methods that have gone into this article are a combination of analyzing primary source recorded dances and existing secondary source research into the dance of these communities. Through these methods, this article reveals how Yemenite, Iranian, and Kurdish Jewish dancers have navigated their lives, identities, and careers in environments where they have been variously marginalized, whether for their ethnic backgrounds and places of origin, their Jewish identities, or their adoption of dance as a profession. Regardless of the perceptions that these dancers’ community members may have of them, Yemenite, Iranian, and Kurdish Jewish dancers have demonstrated commendable resilience and fostered dance traditions that are not only culturally relevant and important in their own communities, but that have become significant to the broader societies that they are situated within as well.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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