M'alayah

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The M'alayah (Arabic: معلايه or معلاية / ALA-LC: ma‘alāyah) is a kind of dance common in Eastern Arabia. The dance is usually misnamed by calling it various names such as um-alaya, dagni, etc.

The term and its origin is doubtful due to the obscurity of the rather taboo nature of the dance in traditional Islamic Persian Gulf societies. The M'alayah's contemporary equivalents on the neighboring African continent include the Makossa and Mapouka.

The dance is sexually suggestive in nature, with women tying up their lower torso with a piece of cloth or Keffiyeh, and performing sensual fast movements. There is no set pattern and method of performing the dance although some of its movements can be likened to those in bellydance, hip hop styled “booty popping”, Mapouka etc. It is known for its fast sensual movements of the buttocks and backside.

Primarily this dance is more often performed by groups that usually comprise singers, dancers and also backup musicians. These groups perform in special occasions such as weddings. The dance is accompanied by singing various songs that are unique to this type of dance. These troops or bands of musicians and dancers are usually outcasts and do not intermingle with the majority populace of the society.

The entertainers make out a living by charging an agreed upon fee in the range of $1000 USD to $3000 USD[citation needed] depending on the function they will be in, typically a marriage, an engagement ceremony, or a tribe celebrations, but usually end up earning much more in the form of tips either being thrown on the ground or on the dancers themselves.[citation needed] They are suspected to belong to Bidun groups of people.[citation needed]

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