Flakstants (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.


“‘The Flax Dance (Der Flakstants).’ Mr. David Rombak, New York, relates (via the ‘Tog Morgn Zshurnal’ through Menashe Unger): In the wedding of my cousin’s son, I observed the flax dance. This was in our shtetl, Pilvishok, Lithuania. The dancer was my grandmother Rakhe (Rachel). The klezmorim played, the guests were happy and made merry and then grandmother informed us that she intended to dance the ‘flax dance’. The klezmorim began to play the melody for this dance and they couldn’t get it right -- until grandmother directed them and gave them the special tune. And once they caught the melody, grandmother became very excited and performed a dance: praising with all the dramatic movements growing linen, from the beginning of the seeding until the spinning of linen by the farmer’s daughter. It is difficult for me to remember the movements and the melody. However it is worth adding that the others, the [non-Jewish] Lithuanians, had their ‘flax dance,’ but to a completely different melody and with steps that were not identical.” [Pilvishok, Lithuania, pre-World War II]. Rombak 1960, p. 30