Shemene (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.


“These dances--the beroygez dance (beroyges tants) and the shalom dance (sholem tants)--were intended for women that were in a perpetual state of quarrel... After the meal the klezmorim begin with their melodies and first of all the traditional dances: ‘the beroygez dance’ (beroyges tants) and the ‘the shalom dance’ (sholem tants) or as it is also called ‘shemene tants’... And there are in the shalom dance (the shemene) the changes in the the movements and thus movements of friendship, love... all accompanied by the melody... [editor Yom-Tov Levinsky’s note:] ‘shemene-tants’ [comes] from the expression ‘shemen zikh’ -- to be ashamed, because before making peace amomng themselves the dancers would first lower their gaze in shame from the community. Mr. Sh. Eynhorn heard from his mother, born in Druyah (Vilna province): ‘Semerle-tants’ and the interpretation was unclear to him. Mr. A. Levinson determines ‘semene-tants’ and this finding is well known. Probably the source of the name is Russian or Ukrainian and its meaning ‘the family dance’ -- is an allusion to shalom-bayit (domestic peace), or ‘the seed dance’ and it is a kind of prediction for the wedding night...” [Ritova, Lithuania]. Grod 1947, pp. 165-68. (Musical notation included). 

“‘Beroyges’ dance (shemene-tants).” [Ritova, Lithuania, c. 1910s-20s]. Stutschewsky 1959, # 15. (Musical notation included).

See Semele and Shemele.