By Abdulaziz al Jahdhami -
As part of the year-long celebrations being held to promote Muscat as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2012, the Tourism Ministry has organised a series of folklore performances by local and international troupes.
All the shows were staged at Al Fulaij Castle in the Wilayat of Barka which started on February 13. The recent performance was by the Iraqi National Troupe for Public Arts.
Dance and musical shows are part of the cultural programmes being organised to involve other countries in the Sultanate’s celebrations and in a bid to promote their heritage, art and folklore traditions.
The Iraqi troupe staged a series of performances featuring the rich Iraqi traditional folklore. The troupe was established in 1971 with a view to encouraging and propagating Iraqi art traditions within and outside Iraq.
The troupe has staged shows in a number of Arab and other countries across the world. They have visited more than 60 countries and participated in festivals in Yugoslavia and Russia, besides Bork's Festival in Bulgaria and Agrigento Festival in Italy.
The performances staged here included 18 thrilling shows, some performed by men some others by women.
Among the shows were the Arabian Dabka, which is usually performed by men, and the Naiadas, which is a very spectacular traditional art form showcasing the beauty and tenderness of Iraqi women. It is well-known that this show is performed by women who dance in accordance with tunes.
The band also staged a fans show. It was a Baghdadian special folklore that presents the way of drinking tea in Iraq and carrying fans to beat the summer heat. This particular show was performed by women as it is their traditional art form.
They also presented the Shepherds show which presents the Iraq's rural life and it is very common in the countryside. Women perform this distinguished show with special traditional music and songs.
In a bid to present some of the morals and ethics of their daily life in this show, the Iraqi National Troupe staged a special dance called Arada.
This folklore dance in Iraq is known to reflect the significance of loyalty and politeness among the Arab tribes not only in Iraq, but in most of Arab countries. The Arada show in Iraq is performed by men holding swords while dancing.
What attracted the audience more was the Hisjaa show or what is called the Iraqi Gypsies Dance. Through this unique art, Iraqi women present the gypsy style of dancing in Iraq which is similar to the traditional female dances in the Gulf countries. The Gypsy dancers in Iraq are from a certain group of Iraqis called El Kauelieh.
Today, the oriental Gypsy dance has been improvised, its movements not being bound by any rules. It is a kind of violent dancing as the movements are full of power, earthiness, passion and a zest for life. Usually, the Gypsy dancers strive to keep their traditional dances alive by maintaining their simple lifestyle in clothing and music.
In a bid to present various traditions and folklore from different parts of Iraq, the Iraqi National Troupe staged several folkloric dances, one of which was Al Basrawyiah which is usually performed by both men and women from the south of Iraq. This unique art showcases the rituals and images of integrity and love among Iraqis.
Another interesting show was the Kurdis Dabkaa which was from the northern part of Iraq, Kurdistan, and performed by Kurdish people. It showcases the harmony in dancing between men and women and this kind of dancing is usually staged during celebrations in Iraq.
The Iraqi troupe also presented folkloric music and staged several dances with distinguished rhythms displaying unique traditions and customs.
Performers displayed Iraqi’s most attractive traditional costumes with a variety of patterns combining attractive representations of heritage.
They also represented modernity with the use of western and eastern instruments.
Throughout the 18 shows, the troupe reflected the harmony and unity of Iraqis, men and women alike. They also exhibited their devotion and love for their homeland, no matter how their life is hard and challenging.