What is the dance known as Dabke


The Dabke (Arabic, DMGdabka) is an oriental folk dance that is danced around the eastern Mediterranean in various countries in the Middle East. The actual origin is not clear. The dance is practiced in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Israel and Iraq; in Iraq the dance is in dialect Chobi called, but also called Dabke / Dabka in Standard Arabic.

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Style and music

Dabke is often danced at family celebrations, weddings, circumcisions, on return or departure of travelers, on national holidays. It is a row dance, the contact is either by holding the hands or by embracing the shoulders.

Dabke means something like 'stamping your feet on the ground'. In the Dabke, a beaker drum is used as a rhythm instrument darbuka and a large cylinder drum table (from Arabic tabl, commonly "drum") used; the drummer can increase the dance tempo by drumming faster and louder. You shouldn't be blinded by the supposed simplicity of the dance, because the steps are given by the first dancer and varied in many ways. Traditional melody instruments are the double clarinet midschwiz, especially the related one in Egypt arghul or the longitudinal flute shabbaba.

From the 1980s onwards, at some events, the acoustic melody instruments were replaced by keyboards made usable for Arabic music with a few quarter-tone keys. With the use of these synthesizers, the new genre emerged electro dabke.[1] In the 1990s one was established in Syrian cities new wave dabke International pop music style called, in which samples of hip-hop beats with Arabic musical instruments such as the long-necked lute were introduced buzuq, the longitudinal flute nay and mixed with the usual Dabke instruments.[2]


The origin of the Dabke is believed to be in ancient times, when the houses in the Levantic villages were still made of tree branches and covered with clay. It was the time before today's tiled roofs, as the clay had been affected by wind and weather and had to be renewed every year before the onset of harsh winter. In the village community, which did not appreciate garden fences but rather working together, the respective homeowner asked neighbors and friends for help. The men held hands and pounded the clay, of course, to be effective this had to be done with a common pace and rhythm. When this work was later taken over by a stone roll, the tradition had already conquered its place as a dance.


In 2007, in Acre, Israeli Arabs formed a queue of 2,743 people who danced dabke for 7 minutes, breaking the previous world record of 1,700 people in Toronto.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ Nadeem Karbaki: Electro-Dabke: Performing Cosmopolitan Nationalism and Borderless Humanity. In: Public culture, Volume 30, No. 1, Duke University Press, 2017, pp. 173-196
  2. ↑ Shayna Silverstein: The Stars of Musiqa Sha'biyya. In: Norient, September 22, 2020

Categories:Dance of the Islamic cultural area

Status of information: 04/30/2021 1:45:50 AM CEST

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