Whenever the word Dal’ouna is mentioned I get goosebumps, and whenever the song Dal’ouna is played my goosebumps transform into energy that gets me pumped to do Dabke. Those are feelings and sensations that I constantly get every time I head for training or shows.
LISTEN, FEEL, JUST DO IT:
Let me tell you what exactly happens to me every time I am about to get on stage for a performance or simply to do Dabke with my group at a training session. My body involuntarily
become very focused on absorbing the beats and rhythms of Dabke.
LISTEN – I LISTEN very carefully to the speed of beat so that I program my body and senses to react to what I hear. Dabke is all about listening very carefully to the music and of course selecting the correct and most suitable beats are very critical if you want to do Dabke. Always take a moment and close your eyes when listening to Dabke just to test if the beats you have chosen are the right ones. How do you know which beats to choose or if they are the right ones? I will give you the biggest hint (or if you want to call it a RULE) you will ever come across in the Dabke world regarding choosing and selecting the right and most suitable beats for Dabke. I call it RULE D: Always follow the beats of Dal’ouna. Dal’ouna is a Dabke song that is very common across the Middle East and will lead you to the correct form and beats of Dabke. Though Dal’ouna song may vary in speed but you can always ‘speed up or slow down’ the pace of Dabka you are doing according to the speed of the song. So there it is, you have learned the most critical piece in selecting what to listen to. You may want to learn more about selecting the speed and pace of a particular Dabke song in accordance to the type of Dabke or workout you would like to train on. That you can only acquire through long experience and intensive knowledge in Dabke and all different styles and techniques.
FEEL – After making sure you choose the right Dabke song for your routine or training and listening carefully to the beats and rhythms of it, you let your ears absorb what you listen to and try to FEEL it. You have to let it sink in the back of your head so your body can adjust to it and facilitate coordination of your legs and body. Let me give you a very simple example of what I mean by ‘preparing your body and adjusting’. Imagine you are about to jump in a pool or go bungee jumping. Don’t you wait for some time to breathe in and think of what you are about to do. You are basically preparing your body for an intensive Sympathetic/Parasympathetic nervous system change. Same exact thing applies when you are about to do Dabke. It is a completely different system that we are working with here but I am trying to give you an idea about the necessity to FEEL before you do. It does make a difference when your body and mind are fully aware and alert to a specific beat and rhythm before you actually do it. I always tell my students to listen carefully and feel the beats before you do Dabke because you will become more coordinated and eventually leads you to a faster and easier learning.
JUST DO IT – Imagine you are about to drive a car for the very first time in an open parking lot space without previous training or experience = Imagine you are at a wedding and about to join Dabke with everyone else on the dance floor without previous training or experience. Here is another HINT that I will give out to you. ‘Reject the initial invitation to join Dabke’ (To those who don’t know how it works at Middle Eastern weddings, when people are doing Dabke, they normally and randomly come to you if you are sitting and invite you to join them). YES reject it, BUT don’t ignore the invitation. Here is what you should do. You will sit back and LISTEN carefully to the song that is playing. Try to focus on the Dabke moves most people are doing and FEEL it (imagine yourself doing it and let the beats sink in your stomach and brain). Then without any hesitation get up there and Just Do It. If you follow my steps you will be just FINE.
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