Rivka Sturman was born in Europe and arrived in Palestine in 1929 with her husband. She lived at Kfar Yehezkel then moved to Ein Charod where she began to teach dance. She had observed that children were being taught German songs in kindegarten and decided it was important for local children to have songs and dances that reflected the culture of their own country.
Later, she joined the newly formed organization sponsored by the Histadrut, which concerned itself with creating folk dances. Rivka's background in modern dance helped her in her approach to folk dance choreography and, very soon, she was considered one of the most prolific and successful folk dance choreographers of Israeli dances.
Many of Rivka's dances started appearing in print, in Hebrew as well as in English. She also made many recordings of her own dances. From 1942 to 1983, she created, taught, and performed more than 90 dances. A large amount of these are still being taught and danced today -- they are classics. She also choreographed many performance dances.
She began staging holiday festivals in which she included almost all members of her Kibbutz. She also began to travel extensively, touring Europe many times, as well as making four visits to the United States. Wherever she went, she would teach dance classes and workshops, spreading interest in Israeli folk dance. She was the first Israeli fok dance teacher at the University of Alaska, for instance, and was on the staff of the Santa Barbara Folk Dance Conference and the Stockton Folk Dance Camp.
At her Kibbutz, a tribute party was held in Rivka's honor in regognition of her life's work and dedication to Israeli folk dance. The evening concluded with about two hundred dancers in a Ronda (Grand March), lead by the dean of Israeli folk dance, Gurit Kadman.
Rifka died in January, 2001, at the age of 98. A tribute section in honor of Rivka has been set up at the Dance Library of Israel in Tel Aviv that includes donated materials from her collection as well as contributions. She pioneered the dance step technique and the cultural ties that became the core of Israeli dance today.
Among Rivka's publications are
Dances Rivka taught include Ahavat Hadassah II, Al Hadvash Ve'al Haoketz, Al Harim, Al Telchi, Ashira L'Adonai, At Adama, At Va'ani Veharuach, Bat Harim, Be'er Basadeh, Bein Arbayim, Bein Harim Ubein Sla'im, Bimtziltayim Uvetupim, Bizchut Itzchak, Chushu Achim Chushu, Debka Dayagim, Debka Gilboa, Debka Halel, Debka Hashalom, Debka Le'Adama, Debka La'emek, Derech Aruka, Dodi Dodi (Dodi Tzach Ve'adom), Dodi Li, Dodi Tsach, Ei Hatal, El Harahat, Erev Ba I, Erev Ba II, Erev Shach, Eten Bamidbar, Ey Hatal, Ez Vakeves, Gadalti Beshana, Goren (Hagoren), Haderech Aruka, Hagitara, Ha'ir Be'afor, Harabbi Elimelech (Der Rebe Elimelech), Harmonica, Hashual, Hava Netze Bemachol, Haya ze Basadeh, Hayamim Hem Yafim (Yamim Yafim), Hazevuv Vehazira, Hazorim Bedimah, Hazvuv Vehatshirah, Hechayal Sheli Chazar, Hineh Ma Tov, Hopa Hey, Hora Chassidit, Hora Eilat (Haderech Le'Eliat), Hora Simkat He'amel, Hora Uru Na, Im Be'arazim, Im Hupalnu, Israeli Mazurka, Iti Milvanon, Jonati, Kalu Raglayim, Ke Shoshanah Ben Ha-Chochim, Ki Mi Tziyon, Ki Tavo'u el Ha'arets, Ki' Tin' Am, Kol Dodi, Kol Rina Vishu'a, Kum Bachar Atzel, Kuma Echa, Kvar Acharey Chatzot, Lmenatze'ach, Lanu Hako'akh, Le'an Noshevet Ha Ruach, Le'artzenu Ba'aviv, Lema'an Tzion, Le'or Chiyuchech, Ma Navu, Machar, Mayim Besason, Me'achorey Hahar, Mechol Ovadya, Megadim Lere'l, Mezarei Yisrael, Neot Midbar, Nigun Atik (Zermer Atik), Nitzamin Niru Va'aretz, Or Chavatzalot, Ovrim Yamim, Ozi Vezimrat Yah (Uzi), Pa'am Achat (Haya Ze Basadeh), Pitom Ani Same'ach, Roni Vesimchi Bat Tsion, Schualim K'Tanim, Sharm-A-Sheikh, Shiboley Pas, Shir Todah, Shiru Shiru, Shma Legeshem (Hineh Geshem Ba), Shualim Ketanim, Simchat He'amel (Hora Simchat He'amel), Simi Yadech, Sisu Vesimchu Besimchat Tora, Syn-Co-Pe, Te Ve'Orez, Tumbalalayka, Tsemed Lamakhol, Tzena Tzena, Uri Zion, Uzi (Ozi), Yarad Dodi Legano, Vayiven Uziyahu, Vaynikehu, Vedavid Yefe Eynaim, Vehitifu He'Harim, Yarad Dodi Legano (Israeli Mixer), Yasem Midbar Le'agem Mayim, Yeladim Nagila (Shibolim Hivshilu), Yisemchu Hashamayim, Yonati, Zamar Noded (Hoppa Hey) (Derech Aruka), Zemer Atik, Zemer Bagilboa, Zemer Chag, and Zemer Lach.