Hawiyya Dance Company & El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe curated a series of online dabke classes, and held a series of conversations discussing dabke and their current collaboration, ‘Curfew’.

The performance was meant to be part of our 2020 Liverpool Arab Arts Festival programme, but was delayed. We will still bring it to Liverpool in partnership with MARSM UK in the near future.

We have written about ‘Curfew’ here.

Instead of the live performance, in 2020 members of Hawiyya Dance Company & El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe wanted to reflect on dabke, its role in both contemporay dance and traditional Palestinian folkloric culture.

There are three conversations you can watch here…

1) What does Dabke mean to us?

2) Why is it important to fuse Dabke with contemporary dance?

3) What does ‘Curfew’ mean to us?


From Hawiyya: Shahd Abusalama, Sylvia Ferreira, Serena Spadoni, Nadia Sibany, Jamila Boughelaf, Miriam Ozanne

El-Funoun: Sharaf DarZeid, Mohammad Altayeh, Lure Sadeq, Khaled Abueram

Do you want to learn to dance dabke? Hawiyya Dance Company and El-Funoun Palestinian Dance Troupe have created a series of online dabke classes just for you!

Seven videos to take you through, step by step, the basics that any dabke dancer should master.

Lesson 1: Before you start – how to wear your keffyeh, make your own mesbaha, and dance with it!
Ever wondered how to keep the mesbaha spinning as you dance? Ever wondered how to tie a keffyeh on your head? In this video we will show you all you need to know to complete your ‘dabke look’ before you start dancing!

Lesson 2: Beginners class with Tayyara
These three videos are for beginners in dabke – those of you with no previous dabke or dance experience. We will take you through some very basic steps that you will be able to use to impress. We will then put them together in a sequence called Tayyara.

Lesson 3: Intermediate class with Shammalyya
These three videos are for intermediate dabke dancers – those of you who previously learnt Tayyara, or those who already have some dabke experience. We will take you through some more challenging but very fun steps! We will then put them together in a sequence called Shammalyya.


Hawiyya Dance Company was founded in 2017 as an all-women’s collective, based in London, who explore identity, culture and resistance through dance. The group uses folk dance ‘Dabke’ and contemporary dance to create narrative works that explore themes such as resistance, oppression, displacement, social justice, individual and cultural identity.

The members of Hawiyya are from diverse backgrounds and nationalities, and have experience in different forms and styles of dance training. The dancers unite in their commitment to anti-racism and anti-imperialism in all they do. The aims of the company is to empower people especially women, to build community, to raise awareness of human rights and to demonstrate solidarity to the causes they support through dance and culture.

In their short time Hawiyya have achieved much success with their own productions, such as full-stage production ‘Curfew’ in collaboration with El-Funoun PDT, performed over a two sell-out nights at Rich Mix London, and one in Ramallah, or full-stage production ‘Safar: Journey’, co-created and performed with refugee and migrant women at the Shakespeare’s Globe and V&A Museum. To date, Hawiyya have showcased their artistic work at major events, such as Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Migration Matters Festival, GreenBelt festival, Palestine International Festival, and partnered with leading artists.




El-Funoun Palestinian Popular Dance Troupe is an independent, non-profit artistic organization that is virtually entirely volunteer-based. El-Funoun was established in 1979 by a small number of enthusiastic, talented and committed artists. Since then, El-Funoun has been crowned as the lead Palestinian dance company in Palestine, as well as among Palestinians in exile. It holds an impressive track record of over one thousand performances locally and internationally. It also produced 15 productions and over ten dance scenes. El -Funoun has won several commendation certificates and awards over the years.

Since its inception, El-Funoun has aimed at expressing the spirit of Arab-Palestinian folklore and contemporary culture through unique combinations of traditional and stylized dance and music. The Troupe’s repertoire comprises folkloric dance forms, called “dabke”, in addition to more elaborate choreographed forms that embody El-Funoun’s own unique vision of Palestinian dance. El-Funoun is widely recognized as the cultural entity that has played the most significant role in reviving and reinvigorating Palestinian dance and music folklore.


Supported by Arts Council England.

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