UAE

Best Tressed

Passed down from mother to daughter, the Bedouin na’ashat dance is proud of its roots

Writer

Samia Qaiyum

Photographer

Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, UNESCO and Ministry of Heritage and Culture

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For many UAE residents, the na’ashat, or Khaleeji ‘hair dance’, is a familiar ritual – one marked by pounding rhythms and gently swinging hair.

Although, today, na’ashat performances are more likely to be seen on a stroll through one of the UAE’s celebrations during National Day, the na’ashat is traditionally danced by Emirati girls between the ages of eight and 12. The dance provides a colourful, vibrant accompaniment to the al-ayyala – a male combat dance involving sticks that’s also staged in many Gulf countries.

 

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Passed down from mother to daughter, the Bedouin na’ashat dance is proud of its roots
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