Modern Messianic dance begins with four basic steps:
- Mayims (also known as grapevines)
- Debkas (bouncy heel steps)
- Yemenites (three count combinations)
- Tcherkessias (forward & back steps)
This expression of praise and worship is a compilation of many different styles and cultures of dance that have been drawn from the countries of the Diaspora. Many of them have come from Eastern Europe, Yemen, and various Arab countries. Many of the original Israeli dances that were choreographed by the new immigrants reflect the work of resettling The Land, such as digging, building, irrigation, and other everyday movements. The songs, for which many were choreographed, were a reflection of gratitude and patriotism! We in the Messianic movement have taken much of this modern expression and returned it to its original focus of glorifying the God of Israel and to express the “Unity of Community”! The more recent cultural influences have come from Greece, France, Turkey, Latin, and even America!
The very well-known Hora dance is a style that originated in Romania. It refers to a closed circle type of dance and was adopted by Israel because the closed circle represents being united as one people under One God! This dance is standard and popular at all life-celebrations such as weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, Brit Mila ceremonies, etc.
The Mayim step is named for its fluid and smooth movements. The word Mayim is the Hebrew word for water.
The Yemenite steps (from Yemen, of course) are reflective of the way one might move on hot sand.
The Tcherkessia steps are named for a dance style from an area of the Soviet Union.
The Debka is a style of dance that is originally Arabic and was traditionally done by men only! It refers to a strong, bouncy style of dance with staccato like movements.