Gurit Kadman earned fame as a pioneer of Israeli folk dancing. Born Gertrude Lowenstein, Kadman joined the Wandervogel, a youth movement that focused on German folk culture. In 1919 she married Leo Kaufman and in 1920 the pair made Aliyah to Palestine, where they co-founded the Hefzi-Bah settlement. They moved to Tel Aviv in 1931, where Kadman taught dance and gymnastics at several schools, founded Shalva, a progressive school, in the early 1940s, and taught international and Israeli folk dancing at the Teachers’ Seminary. In 1944 she choreographed a pageant at Kibbutz Daliyyah, sparking interest in a dance festival at the kibbutz. She encouraged choreographers to create hundreds of new Israeli dances that reflected a love of the land, and put on festivals in 1947, 1951, 1958 and 1968, the last two of these being anniversaries of the creation of the State of Israel. In 1945 Kadman founded the dance department of the Histradut, the core of the Israeli folk dance movement, which ran workshops and trained dance teachers in Israeli dances. Two years later, Kadman began tours of America, Africa, and Asia, as well as DP camps of Holocaust survivors in Europe, to run dance workshops. She published two books on dance, A Dancing People in 1964 and Ethnic Dance in Israel in 1982 and was awarded the Israel Prize in 1981 for her contributions to Israeli culture.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Gurit Kadman." (Viewed on August 6, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/kadman-gurit>.