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Emirati Folklore and Performing Arts: Celebrating Traditional Music, Dance, and Theater


Emirati Folklore and Performing Arts: Celebrating Traditional Music, Dance, and Theater ===

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The United Arab Emirates, with its rich cultural heritage, is a land of enchanting traditions and captivating performing arts. Emirati folklore encompasses a fascinating array of music, dance, and theater, each holding a distinct place in the hearts of the Emirati people. Passed down through generations, these art forms reflect the country’s deep-rooted history, celebrating its customs and values. Join us on a journey to explore the vibrant world of Emirati folklore and the joyous celebration of traditional music, dance, and theater.

Emirati Folklore: Echoes of Ancient Traditions

Emirati folklore serves as a bridge connecting the present to the past, echoing the ancient traditions that have shaped the Emirates. It is a treasure trove of stories, myths, and legends, preserving the wisdom and beliefs of the Emirati people. Tales of heroic figures like Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, are shared through oral storytelling, captivating audiences of all ages. Emirati folklore serves as a reminder of the rich history that binds the Emirati people together, fostering a sense of unity and pride.

Rhythmic Beats and Graceful Moves: Traditional Dance

Emirati traditional dance, known as Al Ayala, is a mesmerizing display of rhythm and grace. Dancers, dressed in vibrant attire, move in perfect synchrony to the beat of traditional music. Al Ayala showcases the pride and strength of the Emirati people, with dancers wielding swords that symbolize bravery and honor. The captivating dance movements, with their intricate footwork and graceful gestures, transport spectators to a world of elegance and tradition. From joyous celebrations to significant cultural events, Emirati traditional dance continues to be a cherished part of the country’s cultural fabric.

Melodies that Tell Tales: Enchanting Music of the Emirates

The music of the Emirates is a symphony of enchanting melodies that have been passed down through generations. Combining traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, and rebab, Emirati music paints vivid pictures and tells captivating stories. The songs often revolve around themes of love, unity, and the beauty of the desert. The hauntingly beautiful voices of Emirati singers, accompanied by the intricate melodies, evoke a sense of nostalgia and transport listeners to a bygone era. Emirati music not only entertains but also serves as a powerful medium for preserving cultural identity and promoting unity within the community.

Captivating Theater: Celebrating Emirati Heritage

Emirati theater, known as Liwa, is a celebration of the country’s heritage and cultural traditions. It brings together elements of storytelling, music, and dance to create a captivating theatrical experience. The performances often revolve around significant historical events, folklore, and moral lessons. Liwa showcases the talent of Emirati actors, who skillfully bring characters to life through their expressive performances. Audiences are transported to different worlds, ranging from the desert sands to bustling marketplaces, as the vibrant sets and costumes enhance the immersive experience. Emirati theater serves as a cultural cornerstone, fostering a sense of community and preserving the Emirati identity.

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Also accompanying the performance is a group of men known as yaweela in the Emirati dialect the name implies movement who move in a wide circle stepping in rhythm to the beat and waving canes Alabu the father sets and maintains the rhythm while drummers stand between the two rows of men carrying large drums HAVE YOUR SAYAyala dancing An embodiment of Emirati values and heritage the Al Ayyala dance sees male performers holding thin bamboo canes and moving to a steady rhythm of drums Perhaps the most wellknown traditional dance in the United Arab Emirates Al Ayyala is performed by men and boys at weddings national holidays and other celebrationsmaterial culture performing arts social folk customs and beliefs Hurreiz 2002 p37 Oral literature consists of two types that are folk narratives and

folk poetry Hurreiz 2002 argues that folk narratives are very few in quantity Studies conducted on this topic are rare as well as narrations and resources p38 Hurreiz 20029 min read The UAE has long been a melting pot of cultures with over 200 nationalities calling it home today As expats we have all heard of a few authentic Emirati traditions But in a country where so many communities and traditions coexist do we really know what the UAE customs and traditions areTaghrouda involves a poetry duel This art was practised in rural areas to hasten the search for a lost camel or horse Al Taghrouda which is popular at weddings is also performed on horseback to urge horses to speed up The equestrian taghrouda is usually about courage bravery and magnanimityTraditional theatre performances usually

combine acting singing dance and music dialogue narration or recitation but may also include puppetry or pantomimeArt is an expression of all characteristics of the human mind aestheticallyThese characteristics ie the varied human emotions are known as RAS In Hindi rasliterally means a sugary juice It signifies the ultimate satisfaction of aanand Human emotionscan be categorized into nine subheadings or navrasThe Qemam International Festival launched by the kingdom39s Theatre and Performing Arts Commission brings together 16 Saudi and 14 international folk artist groups and is a cultural spectacle dedicated to mountain performing arts Sultan AlBazie chief executive of the commission tells The National The Qemam International Festival for

Emirati folklore and performing arts offer a glimpse into the soul of the United Arab Emirates. They celebrate the rich traditions and customs that have shaped the country, bringing joy and unity to its people. From the rhythmic beats of traditional dance to the enchanting melodies of Emirati music, and the captivating performances of Emirati theater, these art forms continue to thrive, captivating audiences both locally and internationally. The Emirati people take great pride in their cultural heritage, and through their folklore and performing arts, they ensure that their traditions are cherished and passed on to future generations. So, come, immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Emirati folklore and be part of the celebration of traditional music, dance, and theater.

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