Shabos-tants (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refers to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. By clicking on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation, you get the full reference.


“I mentioned the dance called the ‘shabbat dance.’ When we analyze its pattern and contents, we see again that there is nothing more here than the the ‘mitzvah dance’ in a different variation. And here’s how it was customarily danced...” Fridhaber 1972, pp. 30-31

Shabos tants. Sabbath dance, a kind of wedding dance.” Harkavi 1928, p. 487.

“He ordered the ‘shabos-tents’... he snatched off his large handkerchief, and circled from one to another... [then] a wink to the klezmer that they should accompany him and he passed the end of the handkerchief to the bride, the other to a person [about to dance with her]... and he himself held the middle and led the dance...[and at the end] he gave a cry...[and] the klezmer played the ‘mitsve-tentsl’--the bridegrooms grabbed me and the women the bride and they led us out to the small dark room.” [c. 1853 in Krokodilevka, Poland]. Linetski 1897, pp. 100-103

“Harkavi has shabos-tants as -- ‘Sabbath dance,’ a kind of wedding dance, type that occurs during the wedding celebration. The name fooled me, [for] I thought that this is a specific type of dance... that perhaps people danced it the shabbat before the wedding, because with that shabbat officially begins the wedding-ceremonies, such as ‘forshpil,’ ‘zmiros’ and their equivalents. I requested the readers to let me know what kind of dance this is and the time at which it was danced.

Reb Khayim Liberman carefully established for me, that this is not a separate dance, that Harkavi’s source is Linetski [1897]... From Linetski’s grotesque description the shabos-tants is a type of mitsve-tants and according to  Rekhtman comes out, that ‘the dance people also called shabos-tants (acronym shabbat: give the badkhn his reward), because according to the rabbi each honored dancer, after dancing with the bride, gave money to the badkhn, the klezmorim and the waiters.’ Rivkind 1962, p.48.