For three years, I shook my brains to death, literally jumping around tennis courts, squash courts, and the various stages of Riyadh doing the Dabkeh(a Levantine dance marked by synchronized jumping, stamping, and movement, a teeny-tiny bit similar to tap dancing).
A good shaking does a lot to ones brains- it either knocks sense back into them, or knocks sense out. I will leave which it did to me for you to decide, but those three years of bouncing away for at least an hour a day are the best memories of my life so far.
It all started around the time of the 2nd Palestinian Intifada as a way to collect money through shows and bazaars to send to orphans, and it was so successful that after a year, we were doing shows for the WHO, UNICEF, and various other worldwide charity organizations.
So basically, it was a group of around 40 kids who belonged more to “She’s All That” than dabkeh- “Ohhh myyyy Gawd! Like, what the hell, today, I like went to buy this really, really cute top from Mamlakeh and like, they only had yellow! Yellow! Like, seriously, whatever, who would wear that?” Yes, we were airheads.
But whether we were airheads or not, it was the best time of my life, and some of the friends I made through dabkeh are going to be my friends for life. Yesterday, I saw some of the dabkeh people that I haven’t seen in ages, as a lot of us then-airheads are now scattered all over the world for college, and it was just great! It brought back so many memories, and a trip into bites to dig out old files, pictures, and videos that I decided to share with the internet. Why the internet? Mostly because there is a huge shortage of dabkeh (dabka, dabkah, dabki) related material online, and because these pictures and videos represent a very special part of my life.
Internet, behold, I present ye with the dance that has blessed the marriage of most of the population of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria(and any Levantine couple that got married without a zafeh didn’t really get married!)
I actually put up some low-quality videos of Arabian Sunshine(yes, yes, very pleasnt name isn’t it?) doing the dabkeh- forgive me for the quality, we had to do with home videos as dabkeh, video-photography, music, lack of segregation, and unlicensed charity organizations are all illegal in Saudi Arabia and that posed a problem in regards to professional video-taking.
Click on each thumbnail to look at it: