Monday, May 9, 2016

The Traditional Emirati Ayala Dance

Dubai is a fascinating city overflowing with larger than life sky scrapers and crammed with people from all over the globe. But Dubai is also located in the desert, with an ancient Emirati heritage that you can only glimpse if you search for it, since native Emirati's are only about 10 percent of the population. One of the liveliest demonstrations of the culture was watching the Ayala dance during a desert safari. Versions of the dance are performed by people across the Arabian Peninsula but the Emirati take involves sticks used to goad camels. Originally, the Ayala, generally known as the stick dance, was a battle dance performed with swords to celebrate repelling attackers from the camp. The formation symbolizes a battle, with the men facing each other and chanting stirring poetry. Today, the dance is performed at weddings and cultural events. A local told me that the dance requires a lot of leg strength because the steps involve flexing up and down, which you can't see under the robes. These robed men chanting and playing traditional instruments greeted me as I entered the safari camp and I found it to be an exciting display of elusive Emirati traditions.


A Cuban In London said...

That's beautiful! :-) Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, as a dancer, I thought you would appreciate this!

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