Sword Dance of Qatar is a style of dancing, where the men of groove on the beats of traditional lyrics with their swords to showcase power and strength. Qatar has always been a nation that readily moves forward in the direction of change for the betterment, yet it hasn’t left its root. Sword Dance, locally known as Ardha is one such tradition of the country that is still followed by the citizens of the country. It is not said often that the country is absolute bliss. Here, in this blog, you will get to know all about this traditional dance form of the country.

Sword Dance Qatar: Meet the Tradition of the Country

Sword Dance Qatar: Meet the Tradition of the Country

Sword Dance/Ardha is a folk dance, dating back to the time when the Bedouin tribes predominated in Qatar and played before a conflict or struggle. The Sword Dance/Ardha is prevalent today at weddings, cultural and special occasions, such as the Eid - ul-Fits, Eid - al-Adha, and Qatar National Day, which every year takes place on 18 December and is an essential element of Qatar's rich and traditional cultural history. The term "Ardha" is said to be derived from the Arabic word 'ard' which may be interpreted as "parade" or "to exhibit."

Sword Dance: Meaning and Definition Behind the Name Ardha

Sword Dance: Meaning and Definition Behind the Name Ardha

The word ardha comes from the Arabic verb, Ard, which means "to display" or "to exhibit." This was because it aimed at showing a tribe's physical prowess publicly and at boosting the morals of the warriors before they engaged in military forces. Although regional variants of the Ardha are present, its function across the whole Arab Peninsula is almost the same. There are usually organized Sword Dance/Ardha dance groups that are equipped with authentic swords, daggers, and costumes. However, in the Qatari society, every individual has his own sword, which his grandfather is talented to or is maintained in the country for such usage.

As a seaside state, Qatar has opened up foreign cultures, which have helped diversify traditional traditions. In Qatari culture, there are various types of traditional dance, such as Matari, Tanboura, and Samri. Sword Dance/Ardha is one of the group dances. There are several sorts of solo performances, on the other hand.

Solo dances are more of masculine performance, perhaps with the weapon of a sword or musket, the dancer generally improves specific movements around the yard. Solo dances like Zarif, the dancer's gun swings about and he stamps his head upon the floor. Zaffan is another dance in which the dancer dances alone before a group of men that typically rivals another tribe in the past while singing his own poetry during a dance.

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Sword Dance or Ardha: What is it?

Sword Dance or Ardha: What is it?

This dance is thought to have been given the name ‘Ardha' because it was formerly done to publicly demonstrate a tribe's fighting ability before going out to battle, to display weaponry, and to bolster the spirit of the tribe and its members. It is now most commonly conducted to honor culture and tradition, demonstrate kinship, and foster unity among the people of the country and their leaders.

Even in contemporary times, males frequently utilize this dance to display their power by making their motions into a drumstick, reciting lyrics from centuries-old Nabati poetry, which in the Near East is also known as Beduin poetry.

The Show: Sword Dance or Ardha

The Show: Sword Dance or Ardha

Qatar's primary culture is based on the Bedouine tribes, who came here for the first time. In poetry, music, and even traditional dance, notably the famous Ardha, he is still alive. In Qatar, particularly during national occasions like marriages, this popular dance is still practiced. This is done only by males who think it a good chance to execute specific movements that demonstrate their power while singing native poetry verses (Nabatean poetry famous in the Gulf Region).

The dance is done by two rows of men, who may or may not be wearing a sword, standing opposite each other and accompanying drums and poetry recitals. The dance begins with a single line of poetry repeated by the baton in the background and by the swords. During the dance, the performers pivot up and down their adorned swords while delivering poetry to the leader and going back and forth a few steps.

People who perform generally wear a unique costume used by warriors, and the Mahzam, which is a leather strap that is wrapped around the waist shoulders, this hold swords and daggers.

The Ardha/Sword Dance was performed before the fighting warriors met their enemy in battlegrounds. The dance shows that the warriors are not afraid of combat and is used to increase the military or leaders' morale. The most common Qatari instruments, including the various drums, tambourines, and cymbals, are based upon percussive instruments. In Qatar are performed also stringed instruments like the Oud and the Rababa.

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Ardha or Sword Dance: How is it Performed?

Ardha or Sword Dance: How is it Performed?

A group of guys who face each other or stand in semi-classes execute the community Sword Dance/Ardha dance. Every group of guys stands side by side. It's a frequent sight to see those people clutching swords with themselves in their right hands when performing this traditional dance. Some may even hold canes or sticks while doing this traditional dance in Qatari.

Even today men often employ the dance in their rhythmic movements to display power by swinging with heavy swords to drums and tambourines, while reciting lyrics of centuries-old Nabati poetry, which is also known as Bedouin or the poetry of the people in the Middle East.

In the center of the two groups, there is generally a poet who is opposite one another and recites certain lines which are appropriate to the circumstance and the event. In ancient times, the poet used to be the head of the tribe or his military reader. The guys performing Sword Dance/Ardha repeat over and over the last phrase of this verse while dancing side by side and back and forth.

Sword Dance / Ardha: Attire for the Show

Sword Dance / Ardha: Attire for the Show

Sword Dance/Ardha artists generally wear one thobe — a white coloured piece of the cloth that is used in men's costume. It is wrapped around their arms all the way up to their wrists and thighs. You can also wear a mahazam which has a belt of leather on your tail that is diagonally over your shoulders so that you may keep your swords on the belt in specific holders. At various times these singers may also wear coats or coats like a colored maroon in solidarity with the white and maroon flag of Qatar.

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Sword Dance: Traditional Lyrics for the Art Form

Sword Dance: Traditional Lyrics for the Art Form

Poetry is a key component of Qatari culture, and it had a major role in various activities in former days, such as sailing or fighting. Singing was either during group activities carried out jointly by employees and sailors, motivated to haul boats onshore or to unload goods.

Group chants are frequently performed individually as well as performed during traditional dances, in particular, during the Ardha. The actors are divided into two groups in which the first group recites a section of poetry and the second recites it. The Qatari is accompanied by a particular rhythm of tapering between stanza of the song during Ardha performance.

Aboard perilous journeys, most vessels had a Nahham on the boat and he worked with the sailors who clapped on him to sing encouraging songs. This unique atmosphere is still performed today in the minds of every Qatari person.

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Qatar has always been a country of tradition and culture, and Sword Dance is one such tradition of the country. This form of dance is usually performed by men, to portray masculinity and strength. Even in today’s world, the country has not left its root, that is, this dance is still performed on special occasions such as weddings and others. So, are you intrigued by this dance? Well then, what better to enjoy it than in the country itself. Plane tickets to Qatar are easily available, so what are pondering over now?

FAQs

Q1. What is the meaning of Ardha?

The word ardha comes from the Arabic verb, Ard, which means "to display" or "to exhibit." This was because it aimed at showing a tribe's physical prowess publicly and at boosting the morals of the warriors before they engaged in military forces. This dance is thought to have been given the name ‘Ardha' because it was formerly done to publicly demonstrate a tribe's fighting ability before going out to battle, to display weaponry, and to bolster the spirit of the tribe and its members.

Q2. Which is the traditional dance form of Qatar?

Ardha is the traditional dance form of Qatar. Sword Dance/Ardha is a folk dance, dating back to the time when the Bedouin tribes predominated in Qatar and played before a conflict or struggle. The Sword Dance/Ardha is prevalent today at weddings, cultural and special occasions, such as the Eid - ul-Fits, Eid - al-Adha, and Qatar National Day.

Q3. What is Qatar famous for?

Qatar is famous for having a high income economy. Plus it is also the third largest country for producing a natural gas reserves and oil reserves. The country is also famous for many monumental sites and its tradition.

Q4. What is the dress worn during a Sword Dance?

Sword Dance/Ardha artists generally wear one thobe — a piece of white men's costume that wraps their arms all the way up to their wrists and thighs. You also wear a mahazam which has a belt of leather on your tail that is diagonally over your shoulders so that you may keep your swords on the belt in specific holders.

Q5. What kind of music is used to perform Sword Dance?

Group chants are frequently performed individually as well as performed during traditional dances, in particular, during the Ardha. The actors are divided into two groups in which the first group recites a section of poetry and the second recites it. Poetry is a key component of Qatari culture, and it had a major role in various activities in former days, such as sailing or fighting.

Q6. Who can perform Sword Dance?

Only the men of Qatar can perform the Sword Dance. A group of guys who face each other or stand in semi-classes execute the community Sword Dance/Ardha dance. Every group of guys stands side by side. It's a frequent sight to see those people clutching swords with themselves in their right hands when performing this traditional dance.

Q7. Which religion is followed in Qatar?

Islamic religion is followed in Qatar. It is the official religion of the country and all the events and festivities are performed according to the culture of this religion.

Q8. When is the best time to visit Qatar?

Qatar is best visited in the months spanning from November to December. This span is often called the peak season, as most travelers visit during this time. The weather is comfortable and the temperature is mild as well, and thus makes the perfect environment for visitors to enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer.