Egyptian Folk Dance – Raqs al Assaya
Location: Said, Egypt
This dance is from the Said region of Upper Egypt, and is called “Raqs al Assaya,” which means “Stick Dance”. This women’s dance traces its origins back to the men’s war dance called “Tahtib,” in which the men wield long, wooden staves in slow-motion combat moves. The men often dance in pairs and interact w/ each other to simulate a mock battle. As with so many styles of martial arts around the world, the “Tahtib” enabled the men to practice their moves in slow motion, so that they wouldn’t actually injure each other, and over time, evolved into a folk dance. The women use a much shorter cane and much livelier music. Women have also added many feminine movements to the dance, although many of the original men’s steps still remain in some form. Raqs al Assaya is one of the most popular folk dances in the Egyptian repertoire.