Sapari (2*), Bat Teiman – Israel

*2nd Generation dance. A dance that developed and was disseminated in a non-traditional way. 2G dances are specific – have a fixed format designed to correspond with the arrangement of a particular recording., whereas 1G dances are generic – have a shorter sequence that works with live music – where many different songs are played and arrangements vary according to the tastes of musicians and dancers. For more on the differences between 1st & 2nd G dances click here.

The creation of Israeli dance (as opposed to Jewish dance) was almost exclusively a European Ashkenazi exercise  (see until the airlift of 47,000 refuges from Yemen in 1948 brought to Israel an ancient, very different, yet compelling and authentically Jewish way of expression and dance.  It took awhile for Yemeni  culture to become accepted in the Israeli dance community, but by 1970’s Yemenite music, poetry, and moves were becoming mainstream.

Yemen’s most revered poet, Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, 1619–1720, wrote and/or compiled a collection of  poems and songs, (over 600 pages of them!) referred to as “The Diwan” whose verses have been used as lyrics for at least 30 Israeli dances.

Both Bat Teiman (or Bat Teman, Bat Teyman) and Sapari use the same traditional Yemenite melody, both use lyrics from The Diwan, (though not necessarily the same lyrics – the Sapari I know and love is an instrumental) both were choreographed about 1970 – Bat Teiman by Ya’akov Levi, Sapari by Moshe Eskayo.

I don’t know the name of this dance teacher, but I like his styling.


Here’s the choreographer, Moshe Eskayo, demonstrating then teaching his Sapari

The latest Folk Dance Problem Solver (2018) has provided most of the information for this post, and also supplied a set of lyrics that was sung by a man in a Lyron recording of the melody.    Those lyrics (untranslated) appear here:

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