Palestinian dabke dance

This episode is an interview with Sharaf DarZaid, the artistic leader and choreographer of the new Palestinian Jerusalema dance challenge video.



Jerusalema dance challenge

The Jerusalema dance challenge that went viral on social media now has a Palestinian Afro-Dabke version. The global hit song by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode from South Africa went viral after a group of friends in Angola posted a video of themselves dancing a choreography to the song. Many people from all over the world started to do the same, sometimes adapting the choreography to their own styles.

130 Palestinian dabke dancers from Jerusalem, Gaza, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Jenin cooperated to produce this dance video that highlights their love for Jerusalem. Most of them are denied access to Jerusalem due to the Israeli military checkpoints and the separation barriers.


Balfour declaration

The video went online on Monday 2nd November, the day that Palestinians are reminded of the Balfour declaration of 1917. This declaration of the British government promised the Zionist movement a Jewish national home in Palestine.


South African solidarity

In this interview we talk about how this production came into being. South African Palestine solidarity groups suggested to the Popular Art Center in Palestine to produce a Palestinian Jerusalema dance challenge video.


Dabke dance and cultural resistance

We also talk about the traditional dabke dance in general and about dance as a form of cultural resistance. The podcast includes a poem about Jerusalem by Omar Barghouti.


Sharaf DarZaid

Sharaf DarZaid is an experienced Palestinian artist, contemporary dancer, trainer, choreographer and arts manager. Since 1999, he has worked with EI – Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe, Palestine’s leading dance company. Having been enriched by his participation in local & international professional dance productions and festivals, he passes this on to his students and colleagues in his dance classes, workshops, and the productions he is involved with. Passionate about cultural preservation, he works tirelessly in the development of dance in marginalized villages and refugee camps, with youth groups at Popular Art Center dance school, provides mentor ship and undertakes “Train the Trainer” courses, in traditional and contemporary dance.


Sharaf DarZaid dancing dabke



Sharaf is known for developing the “Afro-dabke” style, a fusion of traditional African dance moves (Cameroonian) with Palestinian folkloric dance (Dabke).

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