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Dancing in Saudi Arabia - Essay Example

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One of the most famous dances in Saudi Arabia is Al-Ardha. It a traditional folklore dance, dating back to many years. It was performed by Bedouin tribes of Najd. It most probably occurs on the 3rd of September, the Saudi Arabian National day, on which men dance to show respect to their emir…
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Dancing in Saudi Arabia
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Running head: Dancing in Saudi Arabia Dancing in Saudi Arabia s Dancing in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia has a very diverse culture and it includes music, food, theater and dress and dancing. Dancing in Arab countries dates back to several centuries. One of the most famous dances in Saudi Arabia is Al-Ardha. It a traditional folklore dance, dating back to many years. It was performed by Bedouin tribes of Najd. It most probably occurs on the 3rd of September, the Saudi Arabian National day, on which men dance to show respect to their emir. To show patriotism towards their country it includes soldiers moving their swords in sequence and they dignify their horseman ship accompanied by Arabic poetry (Walker & Butler, 2010). A form of dance also common in Saudi Arabia is Khaleeji dance. In this women wear extremely loose clothes so that the figure of the women in not visible to the audience. It is mostly performed on private occasions and the women’s attire is normally decorated with beautiful embroidery of colorful flowers or a combination of contrasting colors. In this dance most of the focus is on the women’s shoulders and they move them in rhythm giving an appealing look to the audience along with using their head to show a movement in their hair. That is not all; the dance also includes chest-drops and lots of spinning. In Hijaz another type of dance is quite common and it is known as al-Shiba. In Mecca, Jeddah & Medina is Al-Mizar. In Najran Al-Zamil is quite famous, where men dance around an old man, forming a circle around him; the old man sings poetry depending on the occasion; for example, if it is a wedding the poetry will be wedding appropriated, and if the occasion is about war or some patriotic event then the dance will be performed accompanying with swords. The most famous of them all is belly dancing. Before the house of Saud came into power in 1924, belly dancing was the most popular dance in Saudi Arabia, and in cities like Jeddah and Najran, foreign tourists came especially to see belly dance performed by Arab girls. Belly dancing normally includes belly shakes, undulation and shiver. Even though it originated in Egypt, probably during the 18th and 19th century, the Saudi Arabian populace was also receptive to such a dance type. Another event where dancing can be classified as compulsory is laylat-ul-banna, the night where henna is applied on women prior to their wedding. In that event women dance to entertain bride and men dance to celebrate the joy and happiness of the soon to be newly wedded couple. Ever since the adoption of Wahhabism as a state religion by the Saudi Arabian government, mixed-gender dances have been forbidden by all members of the society and in almost all events on private or public level men and women dance separately to audiences of their respective genders. And to make sure that dancing among men and women do not occur, the local authorities take strict actions against individuals who do such an act, and there have been reports such as a woman being sentenced to 20 lashes for dancing in front of men. (Kirk, 1994). As western music is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, many dances types of western dances such as ballet or ball room dancing are explicitly forbidden. Wahhabism has a concept known as Bidah which means innovation. They take this philosophy even further than its original meaning means innovation in religion. They apply it to dancing, and here anything that has Western influence shall be banned in the Holy land. In cities such as Mecca and Medina dancing is only allowed in private gatherings because of their historical importance to the Muslims living there, and fear that dancing openly in these two cities might offend the people there (Federspiel, 2009). Dress also plays an important part in Saudi Arabian dance. As with the case of Khaleeji, colorful dress and attire is compulsory for women. As women are mostly covered from head to toe except for their eyes, if in any case they dance for men, men enjoy their dressing and cheer for them. The dress normally includes traditional Arabic dresses but in recent times, with huge South Asian community migrating there, dresses such Shalwar & Kameez (a long shirt and trousers made of cotton or linen) are also gaining popularity and women increasingly wear such clothes with beautiful designs, such as embroidery of flowers or design patterns which are appropriate with regard to the event that is happening. References Federspiel, H. M. (2009). Persatuan Islam Islamic Reform in Twentieth Century Indonesia. London: Equinox Publishing. Kirk, M. (1994). Green sands: my five years in the Saudi desert . San Antonio: Texas Tech University Press. Walker, J., & Butler, S. (2010). Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula. London: Lonely Planet Publishers. Read More
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