Dabke is a group dance that is prominent in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan ad Iraq. Dabke (also spelt dabka and dabkeh, pronouced dab-k’ meaning, ‘stamping of the feet’). This popular folkloric dance is even common to certain oriental and European peoples and presents one component of national artistic heritage. It is usually performed at festivals and celebrations, especially weddings.
It is based on synchronised foot stomping in which the dancers stand either in a straight line, in an arch, or in a circle and is performed by a group of no less than ten people called dabke dancers (dabeeka). The dancers are male and/or female, and the dances are performed either separately or integrated and it is a dance that requires energy and strength The one who leads the dabke is the laweeh who determines the general direction of the dance and usually performs additional moves to showcase his or her individual skills.
Traditional Arab music used for this dance is characterized by melodies full of emotion. The musical instruments used are: flute, derbabke (oriental drum), daff etc.
Types of dabke
Al Karradiyeh and Al Tayyara are characterised by quick steps and are usually performed by young people because these dances require much flexibility and endurance.
Al Dalouna (or Shamaliyeh) has a moderate rhythm and is performed by dancers of a wide age range. Each movement's name symbolises a district and is performed to a certain rhythm. It is led by a laweeh, who controls the rhythm for the group.
Zareef Al Toul is ultimately about praise or the search for qualities of a beautiful girl or boy and thus of all human persons. It is performed as a flirtatious dance at weddings and on other occasions.
Al Sahjeh and Taghreeba exhibit a style that is based on the actual lyrics where the steps are synchronised and repetitive and through which several different messages are sent.
Duhhiyeh is predominant among the Bedouin; it includes the sahjeh and synchronised line moves; the group songs sometimes include sounds that may not be understood by others.