Folk Dancing: Ashshav

The World Folk Dancing series continues with Jaclyn teaching an Israeli partner dance called Ashshav.

Ashshav is a dance enjoyed by young school age children in Israel. Simple folk dances such as this are frequently a regular part of the school curriculum in many countries, and Israel is no exception. Neither the steps nor the dance sequence is particularly difficult for children to learn. The delight the children receive from Ashshav is keeping up with the changing tempo as the dance repeats. It’s a fun challenge as well as a kinesthetic and auditory learning experience.

FormationPairs of dancers (any gender) scattered around the room.
PositionDancers are facing each other with two hands joined together as partners.
StepsSimple walking and jumping with right and left elbow swings.
Music2/4 meter with the dance sequences counts in phrases of 8.
Teaching HintThe dance tempo accelerates faster and faster. Encourage the children to keep attending to the tempo and complete all the steps rather than fall apart laughing. The children might find a little jog is an easier way to keep up with the tempo when doing the elbow swings at the end of the dance.
  • Introduction: two phrases of 8 counts
  • 8 counts: Holding hands with their partner children jump forward (jump 1, pause 2; a small jump so as not to land on a partner’s feet) then jump back (jump 3, pause 4) without dropping hands, walk four steps to the left in their small partner circle.
  • 8 counts: Repeat the above jump pattern walking to the right when circling with partner.
  • 8 counts: Hook right elbows and do a 7 count (7 steps circling) elbow swing.  On count 8 children clap their own hands and shout “hey”.
  • 8 counts: Hook left elbows and do a 7 count elbow swing with a clap and “hey” on count 8.
  • 8 counts: Repeat the right elbow swing pattern above.
  • 8 counts: Repeat the left elbow swing pattern above.

Repeat the whole dance from the beginning. The fourth (and last) time through the dance, following the jump sequence, hook right elbows and continue around for 16 counts to the end of the music (no clap, no “hey”, and no left elbow swing).


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Jaclyn Brown is originally from Roosevelt, Utah. Jaclyn hails from Utah Valley University’s (UVU) BFA Modern Dance program, where she performed with Contemporary Dance Ensemble, the department’s pre-professional modern performing group, and also choreographed and performed for Synergy Dance Company. Outside of RDT, Jaclyn performs with Monica Campbell & Dancers. As a member of these companies, Jaclyn has worked with nationally recognized artists, such as, Susan Hadley, Damon Rago, John Allen, Doris Hudson de Trujillo, Jennifer Huffman, Omar Olivas, and Mike Esperanza. Beyond her local training, Jaclyn also traveled to Spain for a study abroad in dance (2010). She also appeared in Alex Boye’s music video “Merci Bon Dieu.” Jaclyn was also honored to first perform for Repertory Dance Theatre as a guest artist in “Commonplace” (2013). Jaclyn is thrilled to be joining the company for her sixth season and would like to thank her husband, family, and friends for their unwavering support.


RDT appreciates the generous funding provided by the Utah Legislature and the Utah Board of Education that help make our Arts-in-Education Programs possible in Utah’s Public Schools.