Thursday, November 22, 2012

Amazing Bottle Dancers Crash a Wedding


Bottle dancing, a highlight of the wedding scene in Fiddler on the Roof, started long before the Broadway show and Hollywood film made it popular. An Eastern European folk tradition, it was part of the culture of Hungary and other countries. And it was a feature of many Jewish weddings in Europe. But Fiddler brought the dance home to American audiences in a uniquely Jewish way.

Michael Pasternak, who comes from a line of rabbis and cantors, owned a production company that created exciting sales meetings and events. He wanted a unique way to make his own wedding special, so he came up with the idea of staging a traditional Hasidic bottle dance in the middle of a modern wedding. Soon he was getting calls asking for a similar performance at other weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and other occasions. Before long, the Amazing Bottle Dancers were born.

Michael has since perfected the bottle dance performance as a surprise feature of these events, with only the sponsors aware of the shtick that is about to happen in the middle of the event. Typically, a Hasid mistakenly wanders into the ballroom seemingly confused about where he is going, starts a dialogue with the sponsor or master of ceremonies, and then the fun begins.


They perform their shtick with sensitivity to tradition. Their website says:
Having been founded by someone with such a rich family history, we are certainly aware that if you are planning an ORTHODOX simcha, you may be having a mechitzah, or perhaps just a "ceremonial" separation of the dancing for men and women (such as a few strategically-placed potted plants or trees). And our performers, of course, are fully aware that they must not extend a hand to any of the women in attendance.

Additionally, if you're planning a kiddush luncheon following your Bar or Bat Mitzvah and will not be having recorded music, we can discuss a program featuring a capella singers.
Here's a video showing a typical performance of the Amazing Bottle Dancers.  Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


 (A tip of the kippah and a copy of "Jewish Humor on Your Desktop: The Complete Collection" to Phoebe Weisbrot for bringing this video to our attention.)