Annual Dance Festival

About The Annual Israel Folk Dance Festival

The first Israel Folk Dance Festival was held in 1952 at Hunter College. Created by Fred Berk and sponsored by the Jewish National Fund, the Dance Festival began as a dance competition in which five groups participated; guest artists filled out an evening-long performance. Two years later, sponsorship was taken over by the American Zionist Youth Council. The number of participating groups expanded and the format of the Dance Festival was changed from a competition to a youth festival. In the following years, the Festival was held at Carnegie Hall, the Felt Forum, Avery Fisher Hall, the Beacon Theater, Town Hall, and Hunter College.

Under the direction of Ruth Goodman since 1978, the Festival format was expanded to include multimedia and choral groups. In recent years the Festival has welcomed out-of-town groups representing the Israeli dance communities of Albany, Boston, California, Chicago, Cleveland, Delaware, Hartford, Miami, Missouri, New Haven, Philadelphia, Rochester, Washington, D.C., Wisconsin, Canada, Mexico, Turkey and Israel.

Since 1990, the Israeli Dance Institute has taken on the production of the Israel Folk Dance Festival. Under its sponsorship, the Festival now opens with a family Arts Fair that brings together the activities of numerous Jewish and community organizations, arts and crafts exhibitors, vendors, interactive presenters, and features community folk dancing and singing. The Festival performance follows the Fair.

In 2001, the Jubilee Festival, Horati, was held at Hofstra University with a four day weekend marking fifty years of Israeli folk dance in North America.   Festival 60, a weekend event marking the 60th anniversary of the Israel Folk Dance Festival and 60 years of Israeli Folk Dance at 92Y was held in 2011.

Horati 2017 – The World’s Fair of Israeli Folk Dance was held at Queens College with folk dance enthusiasts and performing groups from Israel and across the globe, including for the first time, Galgal Ba’Ma’agal, an inspiring group of Israeli wheelchair folk dancers.  This worldwide premier event featured a broad spectrum of workshops and performances.

The Israel Folk Dance Festival, a multi-media pageant of uncommon warmth, camaraderie and enthusiasm delights people of all ages and cultural backgrounds.

Save the date for the 72nd Israel Folk Dance Festival and Festival of the Arts
Sunday, April 7, 2024
New York City



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Israel Dance Institute GIF

Festival Alumni

BECOME PART OF OUR FESTIVAL ALUMNI FAMILY TREE! Horati 2017 – The World’s Fair of Israeli Folk Dance was truly a landmark event! The Festival tradition provides an opportunity to bring our community of dancers spanning inter-generational and geographic boundaries together in an event that continues to both show our rich history and promising future. …