Besem-tants (LKT)

This entry is part of the Lexicon of Klezmer Terminology (LKT). The LKT compiles a wide array of source materials that shed light on the historical and contemporary state of knowledge about klezmer music. Each entry includes a number of citations from primary and secondary sources that include or refer to the term in question. It also indicates whether musical notation or sound recordings are included in the source. To view the full reference, click on the bibliographic hyperlink at the end of each citation.


“[A dance consisting of] a man dancing with a broom used as horse or musket.” EncyJud 1971, p. 1266

The Besem-tanz: A broom is manipulated in a military manner by a man, or else the broom is play-acted into a horse.” Lapson 1943, p. 461

“'Eyns, tsvey, dray, fir, finf, zeks, zibn’... The ‘zibntrit’ dance-song [is] found in German sources also as ‘the broom dance’ (‘Besemtanz’).” [Galicia, 1920s-30s]. Pipe 1971a, pp. 166 (#57), 309 (#57).

Bezem Tants: Broom dance. A man dances with a broom, pretending it is a gun or a horse.” Roskies and Roskies 1975, p. 232.

“‘The broom dance’ (‘bezim tants’). About this dance, which no longer exists, I can only preserve a few of my recollections. Haredi youths who wished to dance together but who didn’t want to give in [to temptation] held in their hands... a broom... Like the ‘freylekhs’ it also does not have fixed rules nor figures. The movements of the body, feet, and hands follow the dance melody, and fixed rhythm—the rhythm and the tempo determine the dance form.” Stutschewsky 1959, pp. 174-75. (Musical notation included). 

See Zibntrit.