Traditional dances of the Arab world

As all the countries in the world, the countries of the Arab world have also their own music and dance which take part of their identity. There are a lot of Arab traditional dances styles as the Arab world is a vast and diversified area. Men are are also as involved as women. Here are four kinds of traditional dances in the Arab world.

  • Sacred dances or religious dances
  • Folk dances
  • Arab classic dances
  • Popular dances


  1. Sacred dances or religious dances

Those sacred dances are related to the dominant religion of the Arab world which is the Islam. They are particularly linked to sufism which is the heart of the islamic tradition inaugurated by the Prophet. The sufism is a religious movement in which dances are part of commemorative rituals. Those dances are practised collectively during religious festivals like Ramadan. There are different kinds of sacred dances such as the Hadra, the Dhikr, The Sama…


  1. Folk Dances

Those dances are performed during the civil celebrations or events as birth, death, wedding or a social ascent and sometimes during religious festivals. Folk dances are performed by the members of the community. They create a space of advertisement and self-expression and often create a sense of belonging to the community. The steps are simple and repetitive so that each member of the community participate. The movements of the dance take variety of forms like circle which is the most common form. Those folk dances promote the unity between the dancers.


  1. Arab Classic dances

Those dances dated from the antiquity and have not ceased to evolve in history and in time. Then, they were perpetuated during Golden Age of Islam. In palaces, we danced this dance’s form on a well structured musical composition called « the nouba » or on a repertoire of music called scholarly like « the Wasla ». For those Arab classic dances, the gestures are ample, harmonious and fluid. Particular attention is devoted to breath and the capacity of alterning the tension and the relaxation of the body to capture the rythm. These are female dances with various movements and the creative possibilities are numerous.


  1. Popular dances

Popular dances involve all forms artistic expressions of a people. The rythm varies acording to region or country. So, there can be several styles of popular dances. Those dances also called Chaabi create a festive space and a space of advertisement. The songs which accompany those dances are in dialectal and in a poetic form with rythm that make people dance. For example, in Morocco, popular dances are based on the movements of the pelvis through a festive game. Those movements are enhanced and emphasized by different specific costumes that wear the dancers.

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