Der khanike tants

[The Hanukkah Dance]


The action takes place in Rokhl’s bedroom. In the first scene, six-year-old Rokhl enters her room with her new doll, Shulamis, and eats a latke. She tells Shulamis that it is her birthday and also Hanukkah. It is also the doll’s birthday, since she got her yesterday, and Rokhl promises that next year she will throw her a party and invite her friends’ dolls and teddy bear. Rokhl teaches Shulamis how to write the word Hanukkah in Yiddish, and sings melodies from “Ten Hebrew Folk Songs and Folk Dances.” When she puts Shulamis to bed, she can’t remember the bedtime story, so she makes up a song to the melody of “A mol iz geven a meylekh” (Once there was a king). Rokhl falls asleep as she sings. In the second scene, the stage has been set for Rokhl’s birthday party while she sleeps. The five Hebrew letters of the word “Hanukkah” dance in, accompanied by music (the letters are played by children in costume). Each letter sings two verses of introduction and dances. The verses are quite informative; for instance, letters sometimes refer to rival letters that make similar sounds. After singing and dancing, the letters form a line that spells Hanukkah and dance in this formation. The first two and last two letters form pairs and dance together, the letter “vov” in the middle dances a solo. Then they make a circle and finish the dance bent over Rokhl’s bed. Curtain.