Our host told us that in addition to camel and horse races, there was an exhibition of “Omani Traditional Dance.” He asked if we would like to watch, so we walked down to the end of the camel race lanes – near the finish line – and saw this scene.
Note the loud speakers and microphones…and yards and yards and yards of carpets and rugs. Remember, the entire event is out in the middle of a field of sand and palm trees.
This was almost too mesmerizing for me to remember to take pictures! 🙂
I honestly don’t know what the story is that the singers and dancers tell. The voices are beautiful and harmonious and there is serious attention paid to the steps of the dance, to the direction they turn as they circle round and round, to their facial expressions, to the different ways they hold their “camel canes.” It seemed that certain men only danced part of the time – and periodically, some of the dancers were boys. I thought there was some self expression exhibited by the dancers, but, I don’t know if they were performing specific steps and hand motions or if there was an element of free expression. Ron thought they could dance anyway they wanted – I don’t think there was complete freedom of expression.
The singers repeated phrases over and over…one side would sing a phrase and (it seemed to me) the other side would repeat it. Occasionally, the singers would bow as a group – or gesture their canes in certain positions. For the singers, all words and actions were uniform.
Both singers and dancers were dignified and intensely concentrating on their performences.
I stopped a good distance away to take pictures, but our host assured me I could go closer, so I took off my sandles, walked as close as possible without being within the dance circle, sat down and started snapping pictures as quickly as possible. (Thanks to Ron for this picture.)
Attending this event – taking pictures – surely a privilege.
I hope the pictures speak for the eloquence of the Omani Traditional Dance.
About this time, our host said, “Mr. Ron, do you remember where you parked your car?” We took that to be a polite way of telling us not to wear out our welcome! LOL! So…I did not have time to learn the meaning of the songs and the dancing.
As we started toward the car, an older man stopped our host to speak with him. Our host looked at me intently and said, “This man wants you to take his picture.” So I did…