The first time I met with Rafi Ziv was in the late 1990s in New York at a “Tamaron” Dance Camp. Rafi, then a young man, with a full head of hair, arrived at the camp with tremendous excitement and even feared that he would not succeed as a choreographer. But he was very successful with his five circle and partner dances that he introduced.
Since then, we’ve met in folk dance camps around the world. In the United States it was almost every 3 months; also, in France, Brazil, Latvia, Hungary and more.
Our paths also crossed when Rafi would come every year, from 2001 to 2018, to instruct the dancers enrolled in the Karmiel Festival’s Overseas Instructors Course where he taught from his dances with love and with his well-known and familiar energy. He has always been a crowd favorite.
During the last decade, when I immigrated to Israel, I followed his work at harkadot (dance sessions) throughout the country and, of course, the highlight was the lavish marathons that he produces. The explosive energy in the harkada is always boundless, both in terms of the presentation and in terms of the food served.
Rafi recently married and happily became a father. When he is in the position of DJ, he is portrayed as a quiet person, but the moment he is in the center of the circle, he does not stop frolicking, dancing, jumping and connecting to the crowd with his tireless, infectious energy.
Rafi also runs his marathons with great courage and includes many special dances that are almost never danced at sessions run by other dance leaders. Some say that at his harkadot, Rafi plays music at a high volume and too fast, but at the end of the day, the community votes with their feet. Rafi infuses endless energy and agility on the dance floor with much charm and lots smiles.