The biggest fun you could ever have is doing Dabke at Weddings with a bunch of guys who train with you to do same routines. I love performing at weddings; this is what I was born to do J! Last week, my Dabke group and I performed at a local wedding where most of our families and friends were in attendance. The hall was full of energy and fun prior to our entrance, and as soon as we entered people were very excited to see a bunch of guys kicking it with some beautiful Dabke routines.
Let me share with you as a Dabke leader at El-Awda group some of the tips and things that can help you improve your Dabke in general. I will also share some of the funny moments and bloopers that occurred with me and the group as we were performing at that wedding.
Performing Dabke at weddings is a very unique and a special thing. The feeling I had while waiting outside the hall is incredible. I got mixed feelings of stress (good stress) and excitement. This is very natural before going on stage and performing in front of an audience. There were around 500 people in attendance. As soon as we entered the hall, we heard a lot of screaming and cheering and people were engaging with us as we entered on the sounds of Yarghool (Musical Dabke instrument). The trick here is to not make eye contact with any of the attendees because that will throw off your rhythm whether by yourself or with a group. What I do is look at the audience as a whole or as one person as if I was watching a movie at the movie theater. There are so many factors that can throw off my rhythm, such as having one of my siblings scream out my nickname or shout out something that can get my attention! I have done many Dabke routines at many weddings and I have lots of experience in dealing with such situations. I just keep my composure and stay focused on the music and what comes after it. Being a Dabke leader at a wedding is a terrifying task. I can ruin the whole night in a blink of an eye. My whole group is usually looking at me and they’re trying to figure out what I’m about to tell them or when to switch to another routine or a sequence. Having all this in my ahead, I have to deal with the fact that some of the bride and groom’s relatives want to join in and constantly distracting our show…Kids were walking and playing around…The camera man is in my face…AND on top of all this, the music got cut off!!! It looked like the DJ system went off because somebody tripped over the wires and disconnected the music. Now this is exactly what was going on in my head: “Oh Crap, now we look like a bunch of grown up guys holding hands and standing in the middle of the hall trying to do Dabke without music”. The amount of sweat that I released at that moment is unbelievable. The rest of my group was looking at me in shock and confusion! All I said was relax and keep moving with Shamali. This is a big one, if you are able to do Shamali (which is the jumping version of Dal’ona) you are SAFE! Let me tell you this, you can get away with just doing Shamali at any wedding, any performance, and any Dabke celebration! The speed of it can differ, but as long as you know the moves to it you will SHINE anywhere you go.
At the last weddings we attended, we had some bloopers throughout the whole performance and even before we entered the hall. It was the very first performance for one of my new student at my group. He is a young but talented guy who was extremely stressed out. Prior to the show, his face was turning yellow as our time got closer and closer to perform! He kept talking about how nervous he was and that he is afraid he’s going to mess up the show. It was my job as a trainer and a leader to calm him down and make him feel good about himself. But this guy insisted on being stressed out Lol. As soon as our show at the wedding started, I looked at him to see how he was doing…He had the most straight poker face I’ve ever seen. I started laughing at him while we are doing Dabke. I kept calling his name and telling him to smile, but he wouldn’t look at me at all! Another blooper that we had on that wedding was when a piece of the uniform that is wrapped around the waist to hold the attire together fell off one of the guys. We usually hold it together with safety pin, and when it came off the safety pin was poking him while he was trying to hold the piece in place. He was right next to me in line and I tried to help him but the safety pin kept poking my hand as well LOL. Luckily this happened towards the end of the show as we were exiting the hall.
Over all, this is by far the most fun I’ve ever had with my group…it was at a wedding where we created fun out of performing some beautiful Dabke, though stress was present but it is a natural thing. Dabke was never a one-man-show; it’s always been about the group and what they can do as a unit. This is where all the fun comes to play.
Check out our blog frequently because we will be sharing some of the videos from this event with you once they’re available.