Eyal Eliyahu

Eyal Eliyahu has charmed dancers with his rhythmic, energetic dances such as “Yakalelo,” and “Ya’eni Huna.” He shares a candid moment, reflecting on his creative approach to choreography .

DOTA: What was your first time at Israeli Folk Dancing?

EE: The first time I danced was at the age of 14. In the school where I studied (Amit school, Petach Tikva) there was an Israeli dance session, and that is where I started to dance.

Eyal Eliyahu

Mechol Hashalom, France

Copyright Alex Huber 2005

DOTA: Do you have a background in other music?  

EE: I love to listen to all kinds of music, but I only dance Israeli folk dances.    

DOTA: What type of music interests you?  

EE: Israeli songs and Hip Hop (African American music)    

DOTA: What was the first dance you choreographed?  

EE: I choreographed the first dance to a song by Michael Jackson called “They Don’t Care About Us.” I heard the song and found the rhythm attractive, so I decided to compose steps to the music and make a dance.   Note: Choreographed in 1996  

Eyal Eliyahu

Mechol Hashalom, France

Copyright Alex Huber 2005

DOTA: In 2003 you had one of the top 3 favorite line dances in a poll taken among dancers. The dance was “Ya’eni Huna.” How did you decide to make the dance?

 EE: The name of the singer is Abu Chalil Shami. One of the kids from Avi Levy’s group brought the song to me and asked me to choreograph a dance to it.    

DOTA: You choreograph many line dances. Some are in English such as “Hey Baby,” (2002) “Life,” (1998) and “Like a Dancer,” (1999). How did you choose these songs?

EE: I like to listen to music and sometimes when I listen to a song I become fascinated with it. I like the music in “Hey Baby” and “They Don’t Care About Us,” because the rhythm changes; the music is not monotonous.    

DOTA: Do you speak any other languages?  

EE: Some English    

DOTA:What attracts you to create line dances?  

EE: There are several reasons. First, with line dances it is possible to choose from a wide variety of musical sources. In addition to Hebrew songs, it is acceptable to use songs sung in English, Spanish and other languages. I like that variety. I also like the fact that the rhythm in line dance changes a lot. Also, there are not many choreographers of line dances, and I wanted to fill the need.    

Eyal Eliyahu leading dancers

Mechol Hashalom, France

Copyright Alex Huber 2005   

DOTA: Which dance of yours was the most fun to create?

 “Alane” (or “Elena”)    

DOTA: In 1999, you co-choreographed a circle dance called “Kadur Regel” along with Avi Perez, Israel Yakovee, Victor Gabay, and Nir Dor. This was probably the first time five choreographers got together on parts of one dance. Tell how all five of you worked out the details.

EE: We had outstanding cooperation. Each one of us came up with some ideas, and then we blended all the suggestions into one dance. We did not have differences of opinion and the cooperation was excellent.

DOTA: Who influenced you in your work as a choreographer?  

EE: Avi Levy and Dudu Barzilai    

DOTA: What do you enjoy doing in addition to folk dancing?  

EE: I like to be with my family, to play with my one-year old daughter, to play soccer, to go on trips with family and friends, and more.    

DOTA: What are your goals as a choreographer?  

EE: My target is to create dances that people will like, and that they will come and dance my dances and feel happy. I don’t have any targets to aim at in folk dancing; I just enjoy creating line dances, and I am doing it as a hobby (it is not my main job). I will be happy to continue and create more dances in the future.

(Hebrew responses for this interview translated by Ron Elimelech)

Interesting Bio Facts About Eyal


*His father was from Cochin , India ; his mother was born in Malaga , Spain .  They met and fell in love after coming to Israel .  The legacy of his father is well entrenched in Eyal’s heart.  The Jews of Cochin were part of one of the most isolated and distinguished Jewish communities in the world.   The community traced its origins to Biblical times, and there is evidence to its existence for hundreds of years in that remote part of India .  At home, his father insisted on speaking Hebrew, but the prayers, and the customs and the special foods that he remembers from his childhood are all that of Cochin .  

On Saturday night at Machol Miami, the annual theme party will honor the rich heritage the Jewish community of Cochin, India.  Attendees can dress up in Indian costume, and join the celebration – or “come as you are.”
*(This Information courtesy of Machol Miami)       



The rich heritage of Jewish life in India dates back centuries, perhaps to the time of King Solomon. From the fifteenth century on, many Sephardic Jews settled in the Indian city of Cochin , where the Paradesi Synagogue, built in 1568, is still in use today. The Skirball is pleased to exhibit the Koder family Hanukkah lamp, an exquisite new gift to the Skirball Museum collection, created in the traditional design of the Cochin Jews for use both in the synagogue and at home.   The Cochin Hanukkah Lamp is displayed as part of the At Home at the Skirball series, which brings forward works in the Skirball’s extensive permanent collection that have never before been exhibited. www.skirball.org   GIFT OF DR. DAVID AND FIONA HALLEGUA IN MEMORY OF THEIR GRANDPARENTS SATTO AND GLADYS KODER   

Eyal Eliyahu will be a guest choreographer at Machol Miami 2005 

Friday December 23 through Monday December 26, 2005
Sheraton Ft Lauderdale Airport Hotel

The following dances by Eyal may be found at these sites:

Kaliente Tambures 

Ya’eni Huna


List of Eyal’s dances may be found at:


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