Traditional Lebanese Dances

There is only one traditional Lebanese dance: it is called the Dabke. This dance represents a significant part of the Lebanese culture. Dabke is also famous in other Arab countries in the Middle East. This dance is always performed in joyous events such as weddings and others. A wedding will not be considered a Lebanese one if the Dabke was not seen, whether it was performed by a professional dance group, from the guests, or from the family. Dabke is a group dance where performers hold each other’s hands straight down, get their shoulders close to each other and move in one direction: from right to left in a rhythmic and repetitive order. The movement consists of six crucial steps: step, dip, step, dip, kick and stomp. The group is arranged in a form of a line led by the first person and all the performers follow his steps.
Back in time, where houses were built of stone, and the roofs with wood, straw and dirt, the roof needed to be compacted by stomping it evenly. Dabke originates from this tradition, which recalls unity in movement.

Since Lebanon is politically and religiously divided, Dabke has been modified in some regions but kept the same bases and atmosphere. Different forms of this dance are also found in regions surrounding Lebanon as it spreads to the Arab world.

The songs that are played during the Dabke are usually local songs, sang by men or women. There is no specific kind of songs for the Dabke dance, but usually emotional and energetic songs are chosen to keep up the spirit. One of the most famous songs for the Dabke is called “Dal Ouna” (let’s go and help). This song was later sung and modified by many but kept the same rhythm and spirit.

Many instruments can be used together to create music for the Dabke, and sometimes only one is used. The instruments are usually the Oud, the Mijwiz, the Tablah, the Daff, and the Arghoul.

When it comes to professional dancing, the customs differ from one region to another, according the to the culture. In Lebanon, the Sherwal is mostly used for men, and a long black dress is used for women.

The Dabke means a lot to all the Lebanese people. Despite all the political problems and the economical instability, the Dabke can still unite them and lead them in a certain rhythm. The dance itself has a lot to do with unity since the steps are performed at the same time holding each other’ hands, and moving in one direction.