Categories: Features

The Bravery Dance – Al Youla

Known as the dance of bravery, Al Youla is one of the oldest yet currently widespread art form from the UAE that takes pride in its culture and heritage. Mohammed Al Shehhi discusses the importance of Al Youla to the UAE culture.

In a country like the UAE, renowned for its shopping malls, beaches, and abundant sunshine, amid the rapid transformation brought about by a surge of skyscrapers and urban infrastructure, there remains a profoundly prominent element: its traditional dance. One of the most famous Emirati dances is Al Youla, also known as Al Razfa, often referred to as the ‘weapon dance of the UAE.’ This traditional dance is typically performed during special occasions, such as the UAE National Day, weddings, parties, and national events. The name ‘Al Youla’ finds its origins in the ‘Ayyala dance,’ symbolizing bravery, strength, and equestrian skills. Dancers must master and display their expertise in skillfully wielding the weapon used in the dance, demonstrating both dexterity and flexibility.  

I had the opportunity to speak with Mohammed Al Shehhi, a member of the Al Mukhaldi Al Harbiya group from Ras Al Khaimah, which specializes in Al Youla. When describing the dance’s movements, he emphasized particular elements, such as the subtle forward tilt of the head. The key is to synchronize with the rhythm of the Youla, making the dance performance flawless. This art form incorporates sticks, guns, and swords, and each performance is unique, depending on the weapon used. 

Al Youla with rifles differs from the style performed with swords, adding diversity to this tradition. Although this dance has its roots in the history of tribal conflicts, it has gained popularity through various international representations, including appearances at Expo 2020 Dubai, Ferrari World, Yas Water Park, Sea World (Abu Dhabi), Global Village, Al Watan Palace, and Qasr Al Hosn in the UAE.  Al Youla is considered an integral and ancient art form in both the UAE and Oman, reflecting a culture that has endured for centuries. This traditional dance is beloved by desert and mountain communities alike and has found a devoted following among the younger generation throughout the Middle East. According to Al Shehhi, Al Youla fosters a sense of joy and serves as a form of self-expression. 

It is a source of unity, bringing people of different backgrounds and ages together. Looking ahead, Al Shehhi aspires to teach children through dedicated courses. In the progressive UAE, while embracing change and modernity, traditions like Al Youla remain steadfast, preserving the nation’s heritage.”  This version enhances readability and maintains the integrity of your content.   

British Muslim Magazine

Recent Posts

Green Ramadan – A Call to Action in Islamic Environmentalism

Concern for the environment is a crucial part of Muslim life, and Muslims should be…

2 days ago

Honeymoon Hot Spot for 2024

From hillsides, rainforest to sea view resorts, we have carefully hand-picked a selection of resorts…

6 days ago

Zainab’s Journey navigating Autism in Religious Spaces

Attending the mosque can pose significant challenges for parents of autistic children, often leading to…

2 weeks ago

New Poll suggests Seeking Professional Support Improves South Asians’ Mental Health

A new poll by NHS England has found that over 3 in 5 (64%) South Asians have…

2 weeks ago

Javed Sheikh’s Nayab Marks a New Era in Pakistani Cinema

Fans of Javed Sheikh are in for a surprise when watching his latest film, Nayab,…

3 weeks ago

Vidnik’s Innovative Approach to Muslim Matchmaking in the UK

Finding the right marriage partner continues to be a huge challenge for many UK Muslims…

3 weeks ago