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Jumping The Gun: Viral Video Shows Saudi Men Performing Traditional 'Taasheer' War Dance

The century-old tribal dance form is usually performed in western Saudi Arabian province of Taif. (Credit: SCMP News screen grab)

The century-old tribal dance form is usually performed in western Saudi Arabian province of Taif. (Credit: SCMP News screen grab)

The century-old tribal dance form is usually performed in western Saudi Arabian province of Taif. The dance, also known as fire dance, is performed at festivals, weddings and other special occasions.

Saudi men were recently seen performing their traditional war dance Taasheer, some men in western Saudi Arabia are taking the centre-stage to show their dancing skills, albeit dangerously, by shooting at their feet and creating an illusion that feels like they are being propelled off the ground because of the thrust.

The century-old tribal dance form is usually performed in western Saudi Arabian province of Taif as male members of the clan wearing traditional headgears load their guns with gunpowder without bullets and shoot in the ground as they jump over it. The dance, also known as fire dance, is performed at festivals, weddings and other special occasions.

A video of the dance has gone viral on the internet.

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It shows men pulling out guns from a truck and loading them with gunpowder and then firing them as they lift themselves up above the ground as spectators laud their skills. “It has existed since the time of our parents and grandparents. Thank God we still continue this tradition, so it will last forever,” says a man in the video who runs a coffee shop.

The tradition is kept alive by training young boys to load a gun with lesser amount of gunpowder and perform the dance, the video report said, adding that the teaching is made more intense as the boys grow up.

The video has received applause for the skills as well as criticism for the danger involved, with at least one Twitter user saying they would prefer Flamenco dance form from Spain instead.

The Taasheer dance form was originally designed to motivate fighters and intimidate opponents before battles. And the idiom “shoot oneself in the foot”, meaning to sabotage oneself by a silly mistake, finds its origin during the First World War. This waswhen soldiers would shoot themselves in the foot in a desperate bid to avoid going to the war.

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first published:April 23, 2021, 13:51 IST