Events

So You Think You Can Dabkeh: Dabkeh-Off: Dabkeh Showcase, Concert with Anas Tabash and More

Sat, October 13, 2012 3:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Start the fall off with a stomp! A day-long Dabkeh-Off concludes So You Think You Can Dabkeh, a festival celebrating and exploring the line dances of the Levant.


3:30pm / $10 - Workshop/demo by local dabkeh experts Jad Lebbos (Lebanon) and Mohammad Shaolodi (Palestine), teaches variations of dabkeh from rural homeland villages to New York City’s hip hop flavored neighborhoods. Learn dabkeh that remains a dynamic and vital part of everyday life.


5:00pm / $5 -"Staging Dabkeh: The Emergence of a Levantine Folk Art", presentationby ethnomusicologist Shayna Silverstein with discussant Christopher Stone, author ofPopular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon: The Fairouz and Rahbani Nation.

Shayna Silverstein addresses the emergence of dabkeh as a folk art throughout the Levant. From the formation of state folk dance troupes in the 1950s and 1960s to dance theater (raqs misrah) in the new millennium, she will look at how dabkeh has been staged for domestic and international audiences over the past fifty years. Folkloric dabkeh celebrates the cultural diversity of the Levant at the same time that it preserves the traditions and customs considered common to village life.

7:00pm / $15 - Dabkeh-Off citywide showcase and competition features local student and professional troupes such as Shabab Al Hurreyya, Nujoom, Nijmat Falsteen and students from the festival’s Dabkeh Workshops with Ramzi Edlibi.
The evening concludes with a concert by Palestinian singer, Anas Tabash, known for his folk style mawwawil and popular dabkeh tunes.
Tickets: Available at the door. $20 for a day pass (*buy now) / $15 for Alwan members (*buy now)

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout as your ticket)

Group DISCOUNTS available: nicole@alwanforthearts.org

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About Participanting Artists and Scholars:
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Jad Lebbos comes from Beirut, Lebanon and learned dabkeh in rural areas where it has been danced for generations. Lebbos’ debkah is inspired by the stunning footwork prowess of his grandfather, whom he visited on trips to the family village of Sara’een. In addition to honing his dabkeh technique at weddings and other celebrations, Lebbos has studied percussion, both derbekki and tabl beladi, the large two-faced drum used in Lebanese dabkeh, at Bab el Sharet conservatory in Beirut. Lebbos moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2003 and continued his dabkeh in diaspora. He is now the most in demand tabl player in the area, and recently returned from a tour of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe with Lebanese stars Najwa Karam, Ayman Zbib, Faris karam, Assi Helani, and others. You can admire Lebbos hard-hitting traditional village spirit and innovative fancy-footwork as he leads debkah lines and plays percussion at Arab music clubs, weddings and celebrations in the NYC area.
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Mohammad Shalodi was born in Brooklyn to Palestinian parents, and returned to live in Silwan, Jerusalem as a young boy with his family for 8 years. He began learning dabkeh from his mother’s side of the family in their town of Bir Nabellah, known for their fallahi or rural dabkeh traditions. There, dabkeh was an everyday part of celebrations and troupes performed regularly at weddings. But it was when Mohammad moved back to Brooklyn that he began to appreciate and develop his dabkeh. Beyond having fun at social events and local hang-outs, it became a way to celebrate his identity as a Palestinian and Arab American as he learned styles from Syria and Lebanon as well. In 2012, Mohammad founded the troupe Al Shabab El Hurreyya along with several cousins, maintaining traditional styles and mixing in new dynamic moves.
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Dr. Shayna Silverstein is a lecturer in ethnomusicology at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. Her ongoing research examines Levantine dabkeh in relation to gender and sexuality, globalization, nationalism, and performance studies. She has received substantial support from Fulbright-IIE, University of Chicago, and US Department of Education and her work has been published in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, and Middle East studies.Shayna consults for several arts initiatives in Chicago and New York, and has performed on 'ud and violin with members of the Silk Road Ensemble and the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago.
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Christopher Stone is the author of Popular Culture and Nationalism in Lebanon: The Fairouz and Rahbani Nation. He is currently working on a number of translation projects as well as researching the uses of Sheikh Imam's songs in post-January 2011 Egypt. He is Associate Professor and Head of the Arabic Program at Hunter College of the City University of New York. He is also on the faculty of the MA in Middle East Studies program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He will be an ARCE NEH fellow in Egypt for the spring 2013 semester.
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Dabkeh Troupes:
The Columbia Palestinian Dabke Brigade was formed as a means of artistic resistance to the cultural and physical occupation of Palestine. It is composed primarily of Columbia students from different parts of the world who are all passionate about Palestinian dabkeh. It started out with a handful of students who were members of the Students for Justice in Palestine group at Columbia in 2011, and has now become an ever-expanding dance troupe with more than 12 members.
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Shabab El Hurreyya was founded by Mohammad Shalodi and cousins in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 2012.Although the group maintains the older traditions of Palestinian dabkeh such asdell’aouna and shamaliyya, they specialize in new dynamic styles that reflect the energetic musical styles known as mijwizi, zamer and saidi. Look out for El Shabab el Hurreyya as their zeffah and dabkeh team take over weddings and festival events this year.
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Nijmat Falasteen is an all-girls dabkeh troupe based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where they hold weekly practices at Arab American Association of New York. Begun in 2008 by Youth Outreach Coordinator, Sayaf Rami, the troupe performs at community events such as Arab Mothers’ Day, Arab American Heritage Week festivals, and more recently at showcases such as “Arabs Gone Wild” and “Arab Americans Got Talent”. Led by Rema Bader, the team mixes local and national styles of dabkeh, such as Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian, and tosses in their own combinations such as “The Hip Hop” and “The Michael Jackson” that reflect their Brooklyn background. Nijmat’s dabkeh is strong and flashy, performed with an athleticism usually reserved for men, but maintains a feminine styling without becoming subdued.

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Anas Tabash is a young, talented, and in-demand Palestinian singer from the town of Tabash, nearby Haifa. His expertese in Palestinian village folk music stems from his musical family, as three of his uncles were professional singers and musicians. As a young boy, he bought his own keyboard and taught himself to play. By age 11, he had begun singing at weddings and was accompanying his uncles playing challenging wind instruments such as arghoul, shababah, and mijwiz that are fundamental to traditional dabkeh. In addition to his apprenticeship with his uncle Hani Tabash, whom he considers King of Mawwal, Anas studied maqamat formally with Tawfeeq Ghader from the neighboring village of Beir il Maksour.

Anas has become known and beloved for his heartfelt voice, feeling and knowledge of traditional fallahi (village) style dabkeh, as well as mawwal, ataba and mijana, difficult a cappella narratives. Now based in New York City, Anas is one of the most popular singers at Arab American events and venues. While expanding his repertoire to include the tastes of the Arab diaspora, he always integrates traditional Palestinian and village songs and styles, such as saHje, into his set. Anas has recently produced a music video to his single Falastineya and looks forward to embarking on a new album of mixed English-Arabic dabkeh tracks.

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Alwan for the Arts presents So You Think You Can Dabkeh, a festival celebrating and exploring the line dances of the Levant region of the Middle East through participatory and performative events from September 8 - October 13, 2012. The festival highlights dabkeh’s societal and cultural context, musical complexity and variations, and multiple significations to practitioners in the Levant and here in New York City, where dabkeh is one of the most publicly performed and beloved dance by Arab Americans.

Dabkeh is a music and danced social tradition. As a dance it is performed socially at celebrations, in choreographed floor patterns by troupes, and even in street protests. Dabkeh is rooted in village folk traditions and gatherings: performed in lines and circles, with rhythmic stomping, syncopated foot patterns. The music may involve a cappella vocals, (mawwal), wind instrument (mijwiz, shababe or nay) and a large drum, (tabl beledi).

FESTIVAL EVENTS

Saturdays, Sept 8- 29: Dabkeh Workshops with Ramzi Edlibi



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So You Think You Can Dabkeh is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

Last updated: 2012-10-13 15:23:56

Shabab Al Hurreyya at the annual Bay Ridge Arab American Bazaar. Photo: Nicole Macotsis
Shabab Al Hurreyya at the annual Bay Ridge Arab American Bazaar. Photo: Nicole Macotsis
Designed by Kirsti Itameri
Designed by Kirsti Itameri
Bay Ridge group Nijmat Falasteen, practicing at Arab American Association of NY. Photo: Nicole Macotsis
Bay Ridge group Nijmat Falasteen, practicing at Arab American Association of NY. Photo: Nicole Macotsis
Palestinian singer Anas Tabash known for his village style mawwawil
Palestinian singer Anas Tabash known for his village style mawwawil

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