Hair Swinging Dancers of Saudi Arabia

It is customary and traditional for many young and old women of Saudi Arabia to have long hair.  Long hair is cherished and a woman wears her mane with pride.  Many Saudi men request that their wives and daughters do not cut their hair.  And Saudi women usually do have magnificant long manes of healthy rich hair that is full of body.  The women also enjoy showing off their full mane of hair usually during ladies gatherings where they try to outdo each other with hair swinging dances.  Sometimes either one girl or several will line up together and swing their hair in a clock like rotation to the beat of the music.


And as we all know, a picture can easily say a thousand words so here is a short video which illustrates the “Arab Hair Dance”



29 Responses

  1. my neck hurts watching this.:)

  2. I was surprised to see a lady with blond hair! Naturally blond??? I have seen similar dance in Dubai and women had much longer hair.

  3. I tried this when I had longer hair and it made me dizzy!

    I’m not sure about the blond being natural or not but not all Arab women are necessarily brunettes.

  4. Hi, i have seen similar dances, head and booty shaking in youtube videos done by what looks like african tribes/ or possibe sahra nomads, do you think the dance shares the same roots? interesting non the less. thanks for sharing

  5. This is a middle eastern dance troupe from Estonia – hence the blonde hair and ‘shorter’ long hair and galabeyas with pants underneath – I would have liked to see proper khaliji dresses! I still think they do it well, though:)

  6. Well, they don’t look arab (not just hair color, but in features), cause they are not, the theater is made up of Estonian based belly dancers. But I think they do this in all of the gulf countries.

  7. forgot to include a comment from the person who put the video up:

    “this dance how we presented it, doesnt exist anywhere in the world as a tradition. But the movements are taken from various practses in North Africa and the Arab Peninsula.”

  8. I wish I’d known about this when I was a teenager… my mother always said my friends and I looked like idiots when we were “headbanging”! Could have said we were doing Saudi dancing. Pretty neat though. Thanks!

  9. Im a Saudi and am 19 … and this is the first year i decide to let my hait grow .. its all about the taste… if she looks better with long hair then she would probably grow it ..
    and this dance, im not sure, but i guess its Morrocan… however, when we dance we do other things😀 and the hair swinging would be a 10 sec kinda thing that a very few number of girls would do

  10. I hate to say it but these ladies do not give justice to the hair dancing, they are doing everything too fast and their movements are too jerky. When Saudi ladies do this it is much more graceful. Thanks for the post!

  11. Very rarely you will see much Saudi women dance that way, its most promininet in the UAE. The blond ladies who appear on TV doing that dance are usually immigrant ladies from east Europe..

    This looks like a dance you might see in a Saudi wedding..

  12. I’ve seen this movement at women’s gathering. The hair was longer, darker, and thicker, and the heads were swinging with such velocity that the hair stood straight out!

    This video was entertaining, though. I liked the blonde in the middle.

  13. Isn’t this a carry over from the “Zar” ??

  14. After watching, I’m wondering who’s their teacher? Choreographer?

  15. A fun and interesting post!

    I was once at a wedding held by a prominent Moroccan family which featured multiple types of entertainment including “swing hair dancers”–very impressive, excellent neck muscles, amazing vertigo control, and infinitely more lascivious than these! (American Bedu is modest, in the best sense of the word, in all things!:-) )

    I received stern conjugal advice, from a loving husband who knew I wanted to learn more Moroccan dance moves, not to try this now in mixed (family) company, or ever for that matter.:-) No worries, I would have been rapidly on my hands and knees , holding onto the floor and trying not to retch.:-)

    Fun cultural post and comments!

  16. PS Thank you DS for showing the wedding video, which is more representative of non-performance artists arab dancing.

  17. I remember watching festivities in Dubai the last few years. I saw “hair dancing” but usually it was much more restrained than this. What I saw seemed not to be European women, rather Arab women, which is maybe why it was more restrained.

    I have been lucky enough to see a lot of Dabke dancing and think it is really nice.

  18. European women were probably trying to impress, poor dears. Where the Arab women were probably like “you’ll take what you get and like it.” lol

    Dabke is great fun … saw a youtube one also:

    I used to have that energy! Oh my knees!

  19. I’ve been present at so many gatherings where at some point the women (younger generation usually) will perform and when I say perform, they are so graceful and coordinated! That’s why I tried…and ended up dizzy! (all in good fun)

  20. LOL omg don’t try this at home kids! I would love to hear from your other saudi readers…
    1. Hair is a sort of erotic thing in KSA and we would NEVER do this before a mixed audience.
    2. Only the brunette had a clue what to do.
    3. I hope the floor was clean.
    4. I’ve never seen it done so long – ouch. I was relieved to find out they were professionals.

    Thank you Carol for your nice compliments about our hair.

  21. Mariam–thanks for your Saudi insights and confirming my husband’s advice not to imitate the professionals in mixed company !:-)
    I met 2 saudi women (from Al Khobar) this am (applying to med school)–both mother and daughter had great hair: mother’s long blond and styled, daughter’s long black and loose. No swing hair dancing though!:-)

  22. The first time I seen this on TV, I’m sorry, but no offense, I laughed for a good 10 minutes and couldn’t find one thing about it that a man could possibly be impressed with. Sure, the ladies had long hair, but they didn’t have great bodies, and their faces were polluted with makeup.

    BUT I understand every culture has their own dances. I laugh at how Americans dance (or more like grind) and how when we dabke, it can ever look funny.

    I say grow your hair out if it looks good on you:) but the hair swing is just hilarious and you couldn’t catch me ever doing that, haha

  23. Thanks Carol… I’ve just started growing my hair out and seeing their hair long like that has made me feel a little sad!!:-)

    Oh well.. give me 3 years and maybe I can try it!

    It does look quite dangerous though… I wonder if many women bump heads while doing this??

  24. At the ladies gatherings I have been to, it is usually pairs of girls who will dance together and face each other. Fortunately I’ve never seen any head bumping but sometimes they are close enough that there hair while not getting inter-tangled, does mix together somewhat. It is fascinating to observe and especially when they know how to do it so well.

  25. I used to have long hair and I used to do the hair dance. It was good fun although its really dizzying and I wonder how do they managed to survive such an ordeal?

  26. My daughters for sure are naturals when it comes to the hair swing…must be an inborn thing…I on the other hand just cant get the “swing” of it…having short hair also doesnt really make for a sexy show…looks more like Im trying to get water out of my ear or something…sigh.

  27. Coolred – your comments always bring a smile to my face!

  28. miss arwa i think subject is about saudia and if you want defend your people dont bring morocco in the topic .

  29. Wow, Scheherazade ….:)

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