Thursday, November 06, 2014

Traditional Dance at Souq Waqif

For the past while every weekend there has been a group of Qatari men performing traditional music and dance. It’s great that a group of men now gather to do traditional dances, I’m sure the historical culture of Qatar has been in decline due to all the modern influences and technology. Most times when I watch I see a dance that is unusual, one that I haven't seen before. I took a video of some of it and posted it below: (I had to compress the file so used a free downloader, sorry about the annoying watermark)

I've been to a lot of weddings and have never seen a dance like this performed. So I showed the video to some of the Qataris I know to see what they knew about it. Surprisingly, the answers varied a lot.

I don't think any had seen it performed in Qatar before. One said he had seen it performed in Bahrain and given that Qatar and Bahrain have a lot of cultural similarities there was every reason to believe it was a dance from the region of Qatar/Bahrain/Eastern Saudi. Another guy I spoke to thought it might have been an Emirati dance. Yet another thinks it may have Persian influence (many generations ago some Qatari families moved across the Gulf into what is now Iran, though most returned to Qatar in the last 50 years or so).

So there seems to be a complicated history here. If anyone knows more please let me know in the comments. Next time I get a chance I'll see if I can ask one of the dancers during a break if he knows the history.

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