Types of the Palestinian Dabkeh

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1) Al-Shamaliyya (الشمالية):
is probably the most famous type of dabke. It consists of a lawweeh (لويح) at the head of a group of men holding hands and formed in a semicircle. The lawweeh is expected to be particularly skilled in accuracy, ability to improvise, and quickness (generally light on his feet). Typically, the dabke begins with a musician playing a solo on the mijwiz or yarghoul of a Dal Ouna piece, often with two singers accompanying his music. The dancers develop a synchronized movement and step and when the singers finish their song, the lawweeh breaks from the semicircle to dance on his own. When the leader of the dabke sees that the men’s steps are one, in sync, he instructs the dancers to slow down and begin a movement crossing their right foot in front of the opposite one (their left foot). The lawweeh continues to inform the dancers of their basic rhythms, and at this point other guests at the wedding or event occurring will join in the dabke line. This is the most popular and familiar form of dabke danced for happy family celebrations, such as weddings, circumcisions, the return of travelers, release of prisoners, and also for national holidays, in which dabke becomes a demonstration of national personality.

2)Al-Sha’rawiyya (الشعراوية):
is limited to men and is characterized by strong steps or stomps. The lawweeh is the most important element in this type of dabke.

3)Al-Karaadiyya (الكرادية):
is characterized by a lack of a lawweeh and slow movement with an azif (عازف) (flute player) in the middle of the circle.

4)Al-Farah (الفره):
is one of the most active types of dabke and therefore requires a high degree of physical fitness.

5)Al-Ghazal (الغزل):
is characterized by three strong stomps of the right foot, and is usually tiring for those dancing.

6) Al-Sahja (السحجة):
is a popular Palestinian and Jordanian dance which became significantly more popular during the British Mandate for Palestine. Al-Sahja belongs mostly to northern and central Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and in the south has two kinds: As-Samir (السامر) and Al-Dahiyya (الدحية). As-Samir’s form involves 2 rows of men on opposite walls, competing with folk poetry, sometimes improvised and even exchanging insults, competing in cleverness of retorts. Al-Dahiyya is a Bedouin version of the same kind in which there is a professional dancer that dances between the two opposing walls of men who are competing for her attention, and at times give her money. Al-Sahja usually occurs the night before the wedding party of the groom (zafat al-‘arees), with most of the men in the village participating, especially those who will be attending or are directly involved in the other wedding festivities.

 

Dal3oona

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