Dabke (Arabic: دبكة; also transliterated as debke, dabka, and dabkeh) is the traditional folk dance of the Levant, going back generations, and is also the national dance of Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Jordan, it's found also in Iraq there quite often under the colloquial term (Chobi).
It is danced by men, women, or both, with different steps and different rhythms being more common in different areas of the Middle East. Dabke is a dance of community, often performed at weddings and other joyous occasions. Like other folk dances of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Armenia, and Eastern Europe, dabke is a line dance.
However, it is also a dance of solidarity and a way of expressing nationalism and the age-old presence of art and culture in a positive way. The Dabke leader is supposed to be like a tree, with arms in the air, a proud and upright trunk, and feet that stomp the ground in rhythm, emphasizing their connection to their land. The meaning of "dabke" in Arabic is "stomping of the feet", and stomping, as well as jumping and kicking, are moves that characterize the dabke in a unique manner. The leader, called raas (meaning "head") or "lawwih" (meaning "waver"), is allowed to improvise on the type of dabke being danced, and he or she would also be twirling a handkerchief or string of beads known as a masbha (similar to a rosary), while the rest of the dancers keep the rhythm. The dancers also use vocalizations to show energy and to punctuate the rhythm. Many learn dabke as children, while others perform it as part of professional dance troupes. Dabke was popularized and modernized during the Twentieth Century by Lebanese composers Assi and Mansour Rahbani and singers like Zaki Nassif, Fairuz, Wadih el Safi, and Nasri Shamseddine and sooner by Wafik Habib and Ali el Dik, all who performed at the legendary Baalbek Festival. This was held at the ancient Roman temples of Baalbek, Lebanon. Some famous performers of various troupes in Lebanon included Alain Merheb, Kigham, and Hassan Harfouche. Lebanon's most famous dabke troupe was the Firkat el Arz. Some internationally famous dabke troupes today include Ibdaa, Sareyyet Ramallah, and El-Funoun, all based in Palestine.