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Ask Izzy #4: Simcha Circle Conundrum

November 1, 2009 – 10:59 pm6 Comments

Dear Izzy,

From time to time, I find myself invited to simchas in which I am not well acquainted with the hosts.  For example, in one case we were invited to a wedding where the connection was that my wife goes to book club with the bride.  I for one had never even met the bride, let alone the groom.  When at simchas like this, I find it hard to get involved in the dancing (hora).  I feel like I’m a wedding-crasher.  As a coping strategy, I’ll either stand on the outskirts of the dance-floor and clap along to the music, doing my best to keep to the beat – or if I am a little more brave, I’ll join the outer-most circle of the dancing.  Given how unacquainted I am with the central figures of the simcha, I feel too uncomfortable to join the more inner circles.

However, I have witnessed that there are some types of guys that have no problem with throwing themselves into the thick of the dancing, even though they are also completely unacquainted with the groom etc. A small part of me looks down at these people, who are perhaps unable to ascertain their place as a mere bit-player at the function.  Mostly though, I envy these uninhibited free spirits, who dive headlong in to join a spinning huddle made up of only themselves and the immediate family members of the groom, none of whom they have ever met before.

Do you have any advice on how I should approach these trying situations?

Philip, 29.

Rose Bay, NSW.

Izzy, in his ballroom dancing champion days

Izzy, in his ballroom dancing champion days

Philip, your problem is that you’re focussing on the wrong part of the simcha.  For me, as much as I enjoy the hora, I enjoy the mixed dancing even more.  I like to go and have a dance with all the young bridesmaids.  When I was your age, I was something of a ballroom dancing champion.  As I get older, I can’t dance the hora as frenetically as I used to – but I can still swing the young ladies around and show them a thing or two about the rumba or the tango.

Ok, but to answer your question (I don’t want to get in trouble again with the editors for not answering the question): I make my decision on whether or not to jump into the hora based on what kind of table I am assigned to.  If I get a good table … something close to the dance floor and the head table, I take my place at the heart of the hora.  However, if I get a rubbish table … you know, near the kitchen, miles from the head table, then forget about it!  If they don’t want me, I don’t want them!

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