Let me begin by introducing myself and giving you some background about how this all started. I’ll let Samir introduce himself in his own post because students shouldn’t mix with teachers lol
My name is Youssef and I’m a young…shoot 32 doesn’t sound so young anymore, anyway I’m 32 and I love Brazilian JiuJitsu. I love BJJ so much that I actually volunteer at the local Mosque to teach basic BJJ. I’m not good enough to teach anything too advanced because I’m a blue belt, but I’m slowly working my up to the next belt. I’m sure you’re thinking “what the hell does BJJ have anything to do with a Dabke blog?” Well not much but here is how it ties in.
One day on my way to BJJ I was approached by Sifu Mohamad, owner of the Martial Arts program at the Mosque, regarding Dabke. He asked me if I wanted to join a new Dabke group. Two initial thoughts came to my head at this point
1 – I don’t have a clue how to do Dabke other than the one move everyone does at weddings.
2 – I would LOVE to be good at Dabke
3 – This better not be code for some sort of sleeper cell. (ok, that didn’t come to mind until now but it’s funny. )
I didn’t want to look like a wuss so I said “sure” and marked down the date for the next class. I swallowed my pride and went to class ready to make an absolute fool of myself. I was introduced to Sifu Mohamad’s cousin Samir, who would be the Dabke teacher. Samir had actually come to some of my BJJ classes so I knew him. That helped a little bit with the anxiety of trying something new with a group of people.
“ok, show me what you can do” says Samir. At this point I was like crap, here goes nothing and I proceeded to do (what I now know) the Lebanese Dal3ona. The two step move everyone does at weddings. I was waiting for him to kick me out of the class but he said “perfect! You have a lot of potential” and he started working with me. That class I learned a move called “Wahda o’nus” which basically means “One and a half” and learned my very first lesson about Dabke;
With a good teacher, Dabke is actually easy to learn!
Fast forward a few months of two practices per week, and now I can officially say I’ve danced at one Dabke show as part of a team. There were over 100 people there watching us. I attribute my success to Samir’s teaching abilities. Here is a little clip of that show:
I have so much more to learn, and I hope to use this blog in a few ways like;
- to walk you through my point of view as the student.
- to share with you some of the cool knowledge about Dabke that I’m constantly learning.
- to be a source of motivation for you to learn Dabke yourself
- to educate you so that you can truly appreciate good Dabke when you see it.
- to make you laugh once in a while with the funny crap that rolls through my head.
If you’re like me, you’ve looked up Dabke online a few times. There are some cool videos of good groups performing Dabke but it’s mostly repetitive crap videos. The only other source online is Wikipedia and their article seems to have been just copied and pasted all over. Wait, I did forget one other source; parents / grandparents. You know, they tell you stories about the guy who was the best at Dabke, he could leap over buildings and his shirwall was so big it could have been used as a sail for a ship. I guess size matters 😉 One day I’ll tell you the story about my first time actually wearing the Shirwal.
Anyway, inshallah this is one of many posts to come. Samir and I are working on a few great projects that I promise you’ll love. This will be a good source of information for you related to Dabke, one that you should not miss out on. Don’t be the last one to find out about new info, posts, videos and how-to’s so hurry up and join our mailing list now:
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There is one last thing I wanted to mention before signing off on the introduction post. This site is for EVERYONE that likes Dabke period. All countries included This is why we chose the name “Dabketna”. Translated, that literally means “Our Dabke”. Dabke doesn’t belong to a country or a people, it belongs to everyone. The “our” in “Our Dabke” includes you and anyone else who likes it.
Congratulations to the Dabke community. We finally have a place we can go!
p.s. I hope you signed up for the mailing list. There are some top secret things coming that we cant wait to share with everyone!!! Our mailing list followers will receive additional benefits is all I can say at this point. I wish I could tell you! So exciting!!!