Shabbat Malka

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Hebrew: שבת מלכה (Sabbath Queen). Alternative title: Shabbat HaMalka. One-wall block dance by Moti Alfassy, 1974.

The unique feature of the dance is its hand movements: As the feet sway right, sway left, brush right across to the left, the hands follow along with right then left hand moving down as though drumming, then right hand swiping left to imitate the right foot. This sequence is then reversed to start with the left foot. The whole thing appears twice in the dance.

Although one irreverent teacher has explained these actions as reflecting ethnic hand movements of the Yemenite community in its new activities in modern Israel ("type with right hand, type with left hand, return the platen to start a new line") the true explanation is more pedestrian (as it were): The choreographer taught the dance in lines, and the people in the back of the room couldn't see his feet. So he used his hands to demonstrate what the feet should be doing. These movements then became a part of the dance. And nobody understands the typewriter reference these days anyway.


Lyrics, translation, transliteration

Shabbat Malka at

Video at Rokdim