We, the people of the Middle East, sure do love to dance. 

We love dancing so much we've cultivated numerous styles and moves throughout the years.    

Since the Arab world is so diverse, and since dancing is an integral part of life and culture, we selected some folk dances from different Arab countries for your enjoyment. 


1. Dabke

This energetic group dance is native to Levant countries, namely Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine.

According to folk stories, the dabke originated in the Levant where houses were built from stone and roofs made of wood, straw and dirt. The dirt roof had to be compacted. 

This required builders and villages to get together and stomp the roof to a constant beat in what is referred to in Arabic as ta'awon (cooperation) or awneh, meaning 'help', which ultimately gave rise to the folk song Ala Dalouna (Arabic: على دلعونا‎‎), roughly translated, "Let's go and help". The dabke and the rhythmic songs keep the work fun and consistent. 

Dabke is about cooperation, community and celebrating life. It is widely performed at weddings and other festive occasions. 

2. Al Ardah

Al Ardah is a type of folkloric dance native to Saudi Arabia, particularly the Nejd region. Prior to it becoming a popular dance, it was once performed only by males of a tribe before going to war. 

Today, it is performed in various celebrations, weddings, national and cultural events, including the Jenadriyah festival. 

The dance is performed with two rows of men standing opposite from one another, wielding swords or canes. Drums and spoken poetry often accompany the dance.

3. Līwa

Līwa is a traditional dance of African origin performed in Eastern Arabia, particularly in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, and Oman, mainly within communities of descendants of people from the Swahili Coast (Tanzania and Zanzibar). 

4. Al Yowla

Native to the United Arab Emirates, Al Yowla is a traditional dance that involves spinning and throwing a rifle replica made entirely of wood and metal plating. 

Men dance to the rhythm and music by moving in an up and down step while spinning and throwing the rifle. 

It definitely requires great skill and concentration. 

5. Tahtib

Tahtib is a modern Egyptian term for a traditional dance that involves stick-fighting. 

It dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was considered to be a type of martial arts. 

The 4000-year-old folk dance, which brings together art and skill, is still very popular among people from Upper Egypt. 

Tahtib is performed at weddings, graduation parties and other festive occasions. 

A Nubian form of tahtib is regularly performed for tourists in Aswan.

6. Tannoura

The word Tannoura means skirt, and this dance is obviously about whirling the skirt worn by the performer. 

Originally inspired by Sufi whirling, this type of folk dance is extremely popular in Arab and Islamic countries. 

It's also one of the many highlights of the desert, particularly the Dubai desert safari trip or the Dubai Dhow Cruise. 

7. Buraa

This video of children from Yemen performing the Buraa dance is everything. Buraa is a word derived from Bara'a in Arabic, which means skill. 

It is a traditional dance native to Yemen and was once performed before tribal wars, with daggers and all. 

Now buraa is performed at weddings and other joyous gatherings.