Most kids are excited by the fast-paced, minor-key sounds heard in klezmer music, not to mention the virtuosic clarinet solos. They find it even more joyful to DANCE to it so I created a circle dance for ages 3 and up. Why limit introducing Jewish folk music to Chanukah? Use this dance any time of year!
Fun Tashlach by The Burning Bush
“Fun Tashlach” by The Burning Bush is a zippy klezmer tune that kids are enchanted by. To be clear, this is NOT a Chanukah piece. If you are interested in Chanukah activities for the music room, check out this article by Jewish music educator, Mrs. Tanenblatt. I introduced this dance in December and will be bringing it back throughout the year. The kids would perform it every week if I let them.
Assemble students in a circle. Your Kindergarteners may be able to join hands, but I don’t have my 3’s and 4’s do this because there will usually be a kid who wants to turn the circle into an amoeba. For my 3-year-olds, They will do the side slide at different speeds, so I just let it be a whirlpool of kids going around. I also lay velcro lines on the floor as a visual cue. To see a really great adaptation for upper elementary, check out Music Ed with Missy‘s students using a stretchy band and adding a kick & hey!
Here’s a little demo of me doing the dance by my lonesome.
I hope your kids enjoy this dance as much as mine did! Feel free to add modifications for the upper grades, or simplify it further. With my 2-year-old classes, I lay out some instruments and have they play to the music.