Dancing is part of every traditional Jewish wedding. But what makes Jewish wedding dancing unique, and different from jazz, hip-hop or disco is that it’s not about you, or your partner or an audience of spectators. The dancing is to bring joy to the bride and groom.
In Eastern Europe Jews developed simchah dancing by copying the non-Jewish styles around them, but with men and women in separate circles, which helps you focus less on your fellow dancers and more on the happy couple. Similarly, dancing in concentric circles around the bride and groom reminds you that today they are at the centre.
Preparing shtick for the dancing, whether silly hats, costumes, juggling, fire-eating etc and performing them before the couple, is all about enhancing their enjoyment.
“Anyone who helps a bridge and groom rejoice is as if he has rebuilt one of the ruins of Jerusalem,” says the Talmud (Berachot 6b). The joy of couple starting a new home is infectious. When we help them rejoice, the joy ripples out far beyond them.