Dror Yikra

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Dror Yikra (Hebrew: דרור יקרא) is a poem by Dunash HaLevi ben Labrat, poet and grammarian of tenth-century Spain. (In the first three verses and the final verse, the initial letters of the lines spell out "Dunash".) The poem has become a piyyut traditionally sung on shabbat to any number of melodies, including The Sloop John B and The Cups Song. One melody transitions smoothly into the Ballad of Gilligan's Island.

Of course, Israeli dances have been choreographed to many of these musical settings:

  • The most common, known as Dror Yikra, is a beginners' dance choreographed by Eliyahu Gamliel in 1970 to a melody by Moshe Ben Mush.
  • In the same year, Moshe Eskayo created a more difficult dance for the same melody, played much faster. This dance is usually known as "Dror Yikra (fast)" to distinguish it from Gamliel's dance.
  • The dance called Debka Dror (1987, David Alfassi) is done to a melody by Rachamim Chocima, with words from the piyyut.
  • The music to Yankele Levy's dance Shabbat Re'im (1982) also uses the lyrics from Dror Yikra, set to a completely different tune.
  • Another dance called Dror Yikra with the same words was done in 2013 by Gadi Bitton with music by Yonatan Razel.
  • The dance called Dror (2016, Tuvia Tischler) is another dance with the same words to a different melody by Yoni Ganot.
  • Moshiko (like Dunash, a HaLevi) choreographed a partner mixer called Dror Yikra in 1965, to another melody. The recording is instrumental and the words of the poem don't actually appear.


Variants of Dror Yikra at israelidances.com

Gamliel's dance at Rokdim

Debka Dror at Rokdim