The Folklore Dances in Lahj [Archives:2001/47/Culture]

November 19 2001

Saleh Abdulbaqi
Cultural Editor
Yemen Times
Every Yemeni folk dance has its own flavor and taste. Even if they seem to be similar to one another, the different kinds of dance prospered and flourished in Aden and other regions such as Lahj. The many foreign communities that settled in Aden helped contribute to the variety of dances in this beautiful city. It is said that some of the folk dances are a mixture of Indian, Somali and other flavors. Despite the modern aspects of technology, all folk dances are still performed in the company of primitive instruments such as drums and pipes.
In Al-Maharah, there are some dances that are performed by a single dancer and others which are performed by more than one. Similar dances are performed elsewhere in the neighborhood, but their names are different.
There are many dances in which men and women dance together to the beat of drums, especially on happy occasions such as wedding ceremonies.
All kinds of dance in Yemen seem to be a reflection of the day-to-day life or the surroundings. This may explain the secret of the continuation of these kinds of dances until the present time. In this respect, we will talk about different dances in Lahj. The city of Lahj has a special atmosphere. It is characterized by love and peace, with its lush meadows and attractive landscapes. This city is famous for its palm trees and fragrant flowers such as Arabian jasmine and skew pipes. This strange beauty makes the city a tourist spot for all visitors. Al-Husieni, the famous botanical garden in the city, is famous for fruit production, and it is the place where its lovers sing the sweetest songs because of this fascinating wadi.
Undoubtedly, Lahj has still preserved rich folkloric heritage, and among its heritage are folkloric dances which have been preserved and handed down from generation to generation. In this respect, Lahj has diverse folkloric dances. Among these are:
– Askari dance is performed by two men during marriage ceremonies. Different traditional music instruments are still played, such as drums (Tabl). Table, as it is called, or Tasa which is put around the drummer’s neck and beaten by two special sticks called bamboos (Khaizaran), which have a resonant sound, together with a very old booming musical instrument called Murfa, a kind of musical instrument drummed by one stick. This kind of dance is performed during wedding ceremonies.
– The Indian dance is characterized by bravery and performed by two men. Each one carries a sword in his hand. The two dancers compete with each other.
– Al-Markah dance is a popular dance performed by two women only. This dance is characterized by slow ground music. Women dancers, in this case, have to wear the most beautiful clothes they have. A woman stretches her right leg and hits on the ground in accordance with drum beats.
– Al-Rakla Dance was popular in the past and began to disappear in a number of regions in the south.