Debke, Debkhe, Debka

Debke or any other spelling similar to this!

Always a happy dance of celebration and community from Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and neighboring countries. Of note, Egypt doesn’t have a debkeh per say…they dance balady! Different songs have their own steps, different families dance differently to the same song. People from Ramallah dance differently than other Palestinians and Jordanians and Assyrians have their own debkes.
Considered a folk dance if you will and is done in a line generally doing CCW counterclockwise, starting with the left foot. The leader(on the left) often will twirl a napkin or prayer beads/misbaḥah in his/her left hand raised.

Why debke? Well, as “bellydancers” we don’t really debkeh in our performances, but some of our movements are informed by debke. For some reason(which are a lot of reasons) they end up being intertwined and mixed in with Saidi steps from Upper Egypt. Remember I said Egypt doesn’t have a debke, but dances from the Said, particularly the tahtib often have exuberant steps and phrases that are similar to debke. To make it more confusing, you will see Arabs (regardless of regions) use a saidi like song to debke to. Or musicians play a debke song for a saidi (assaya) dance! (Ya Ein Moulayetin)

In social gatherings, either in a nightclub, wedding or other hafli/celebratory environment, you will see it as a social dance..and enjoy it as such! On the stage, with a debke group, you can expect to see very tightly choreographed and talented dancers.

Either way…check it out in the spirit of play! The next time you see a debke line, join in.

https://youtu.be/OciXryfpwL8 the basics

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVg6VKAZqQA a little fancier

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOMgc62HTx8 Ya Ein Mouleyetin Samira Tawfik a famous singer who sang in a Jordanian Bedouin style. You can see her here singing and her dancers are mixing bedouin style dance with a tiny bit of debke. The costuming is not Jordanian, so you can see this is for film only and not indicative of any real dance.

A professional Palestinian debke group, wearing the black and white keffiyah and tabl(drum) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFamVSP2V3c

And maybe you saw this debke flashmob at Beirut Airport dancing to famous song Huwara!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEp29GS1VXI

A little more casual debkeh line ( I think They are professional)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqODHIGqIQU

One of my faves

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYL1ws6OMeM

A dancer’s blog, with some good background.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqODHIGqIQU

Petra, Jordan January 2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petra   Check this link out for the historical significance dating back to biblical times.  Check out these photos which can give you an idea of its majestic proportions.JORDAN PETRA 069 These are taken on a brisk January day, where the wind was cool and the sun hot. Just a day after our arrival from Istanbul, where we were met with snow flurries, electrical outages in the Grand Bazaar and a hammam in a 15th century bath house, Petra offered us a respite of sorts. It is enough to take your breath away in delight and fascination, that something so big and grand in proportions, advanced in design could be remaining from so long ago.  Outside  the entrance to Petra, is a hotel formed out of rock, to complement the site. Appropriately named, “the Cave”  is it’s nightclub. Where you can smoke nargeely with the local Bedouins, enjoy a traditional mezza, drink alcohol, (which is a challenge to come by FYI) and dance rap and shaabi  infused debke!  What are two semi retired belly dancers, one who has brain cancer, the other who chronically burns the candle at both ends doing in Jordan? It just seemed like the thing to do!  It is one of the seven wonders of the world after all. Sateen.JORDAN PETRA 103