Saudi Arabian Women’s Dance – KhaleegyDSC_0041 (Small)

Location: Persian Gulf Region of Saudi Arabia

The women of Saudi Arabia have special dances that they do at their parties and celebrations where no men are present. These dances are fun and fully participatory, so that even women who are neither dancers nor musicians can contribute to the festivities with clapping, singing, and zaghareet (high-pitched ululation of the tongue against the roof of the mouth). The women’s dances are characterized by big shoulder movements, hair tosses, hip movements with no shimmies, and arm movements designed to show off the highly decorated front panel of the large, voluminous dress called a thobe. Unlike the music and costuming, the steps for the Saudi women’s dances are not regionally specific. The same steps are seen, with slight variations, throughout the various regions. These dances are named for the rhythm being used. The most common Saudi women’s dance performed outside of Saudi Arabia is Khaleegy, which means “of the Gulf.”