The hora is a traditional circle dance performed at Jewish celebrations (weddings, post-bar mitzvah parties, and the like). It's the name of the dance, not the music, which confuses some people; the music can vary, even though it's usually the Hava Nagileh (often played by a Klezmer band).

The Hora is one of the easiest dances known to mankind--it's really designed to be a dance that everyone can do (so if you're a goy, don't can handle it). As the music starts, everyone holds hands and forms a circle around a chair on the dance floor; the circle of people then starts rotating around the chair. Periodically, the circle will collapse inwards and everyone will raise their hands, after which the circle will expand outwards again.

Important Note: Sometimes men and women dance separately. If so, go to the appropriate group.

As the dance continues, the celebrant(s) and their close family members are called one by one into the middle of the circle; they sit down in the chair, which is then lifted up by a bunch of burly men. (This is particularly fun to watch when it's a neurotic, authoritarian 200-pound old lady who's going up.) Sometimes there's a set order in which people are raised, but sometimes there isn't. It probably doesn't concern you, though--if you're not a close relative of the celebrants, you're not going up in the chair, no matter how much you want to.

Now, if you want precise instructions, try this:

  • Step to the side, passing your left foot behind your right (assuming the circle's rotating counterclockwise).
  • Now move your right foot beside the left foot.
  • Step to the side again, passing your left foot in front of your right this time.
  • Continue as the circle keeps spinning, adding a little hop to your steps as you go faster.
  • Move toward the center of the circle and throw your hands, still holding those of the people beside you, in the air.
  • Lower your hands and move backward.
  • Repeat several times.
  • Resume spinning around the circle.

detailed instructions from

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