Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We No Speak Americano = Arab traditional dance? I don't think so...

For what seems like the 100th time over the last few months, I’ve received via email the link to a YouTube video alongside the following question: is this really how Arabs dance?
Before I answer, just in case you still haven’t seen it, take a look at the video:



Yeah, there is no denying it is funny. Whoever pulled this off made a great job out of editing the entire thing and making sure the music and steps were synchronized.
But the truth is this is not the way Arabs dance. Well, actually, I stand corrected. They do dance like that, just not to that song.
Music and dance are an important part of the Arab culture. Since ancient times, they have been used to entertain, express joy, and celebrate victories and successes.
In the UAE, for example, voices (similar to a chanting), traditional musical instruments (like the doumbek and oud - percussion and stringed instruments) and sticks and swords all come together in dances like the ayallah and the harbiyah, which depict battle scenes and celebrate pride in power and courage.
These dances are still performed today during special occasions: at the end of important events, like conferences, during festivals and weddings and other ceremonies.

If you are interested in seeing the real thing, and not the funny version above, go to YouTube and type the words ayallah or harbiyah and you will most probably find some videos there.

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