Israel Yakovee was born in the city of Rehovot in Israel to a traditional Yemenite family and had his early education through high school in Israel. He served three years in the Israeli army, then became a professional dancer in several well-known performing groups in Israel. Israel came to the United States on a foreign exchange program and received a degree in Physical Education and Sports Medicine from the California State University in Northridge. He also worked in the Physical Therapy Department at Northridge Hospital.
Israel’s love of Israeli folk dance started in the Kibbutz youth movement and continued on a professional level when he became a certified Israeli folk dance instructor. His first introduction to United States folk dancing came at Camp Blue Star under its legendary director Fred Berk. Israel specializes in Yemenite-Jewish folklore and dance, and has taught at many dance camps, including the Stockton Folk Dance Camp in California. Israel has taught master classes and workshops in Australia, Canada, Europe, Israel, Japan, South America, and Taiwan. He has taught several dance tours across the United States and teaches two ongoing weekly sessions in Westwood, California, with his wife, Michelle, who is also a teacher.
Israel has worked with several performing groups, including the famous Inbal Dance Theatre. He was choreographer for the Finjan Israeli Dance Ensemble, co-founder of the Hora Shalom Israeli Dance Institutes on both the East and West coasts, and founder and director of the Finjan Labor Day Weekend (now named Finjan-Hilula). He has performed throughout the United States and Israel.
Israel is a Master of Ceremonies, entertainer, and dance instructor, with more than twenty years in the entertainment business. And, as a professional disk jockey, he is available 24 hours a day and can deliver top-quality sound from a high-tech system. He specializes in creating memorable energy and excitement for intimate private parties to huge social bashes. He can also provide big screen video or live entertainment (dancers, singers, musicians, performing groups).
Going to the gymnasium, working out, playing basketball, and running on the court with kids his own son’s age keeps Israel active and happy. I loves to dance and choreograph new dances because, as he says, “it is in my blood and I am traveling to workshops all over the world.” Israel has one grandchild. He remarried in the late 1990s, had a child in 1999 and expects another in 2003.
Israel has written several articles on Israeli dance and is a producer of Boi Tieman records. HisLior CDs of mostly Israeli folk dance music is available by calling (800) 750-5432.
Dances Israel has taught include Aba Shimon, Abanibi, Achay Bney Teiman, Achot Lanu Ktana, Agadelcha, Ahavat Shaday, Ani Ohev Otach (Leah I), An’im Emirot, Ayelet Chen, Bat Melachim, Bat Teiman, Beit Halomotai, Chazara Lamutav, Daase, Dan & Danna, Dawda Hiya, Dror Yikra, Eheyen Asher Eheyeh, Ein Li Ish Milvadi, Eizo Medina, Haleli-Or, Hashevach La’el, Heydani Dance, Im Nin’alu, Inshalah, Kadur Regel, Kaashe Li, Karoun, Kilat Hod, Kumi Ori, Lefelach Harimon, Machmad Levavi, Mat’ar, Mechol Bracha, Mi Li Yiten, Midbar, Miyimtza Li, Mocher Prachim (Hora Perach), Naaneh La’el, Nargila, Ofra, Otach Ima, Rosh Berosh, Sar Hememuneh, Shachar Ya’ir, Shavnu Le’eretz Haavot, Sheharhoret, Shevach La’el, Shimi Aniya, Shir Hakirvah, Shir Me Abba, Shney Plagim, Shoshanat Teyman, Shufni, Shur Dodi, Shuvi Kilat Hod, Sovev Gal Gal, Sukar, Tawshich, Torat Moshe, Ya Yuma, Yada Na, Yelud Isha, and Yemenite Rap.