Ardah (Arabic: العرضة / ALA-LC: al-‘arḍah) is a type of folkloric dance in Arabia. The dance is performed with two rows of men opposite of one another, each of whom may or may not be wielding a sword or cane, and is accompanied by drums and spoken poetry.
Originally, the "ardah" was performed only by males of the Shammar tribe of the central Nejd region before going to war, but nowadays it is done at celebrations, weddings, and national and cultural events by males all tribes, such as the Jenadriyah festival. There currently exists various types of ardah across the Arabian Peninsula.
The term 'ardah' is thought to derive from the Arabic verb ard meaning 'to show' or 'to parade'. It was so named because its purpose was to publicly display the fighting strength of a tribe and boost morale before an armed engagement. Although there are regional variations of the particular rendition of ardah, the purpose it serves is nearly identical throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Najdi ardah is the most common variant of ardah in Saudi Arabia. It is also the most practiced and highly televised male folkloric dance in the entire country. The Saudi government changed its name to Saudi ardah in the 21st century. However, there are numerous variations of ardah distinct from Najdi ardah throughout the country, notably in the regions of Najran, Asir and Jizan.
- Urkevich, Lisa (19 December 2014). "5". Music and Traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar (Google Play). Routledge. p. 131/689. ISBN 978-0415888721.
- Urkevich, Lisa (19 December 2014). "5". Music and Traditions of the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar (Google Play). Routledge. p. 133/689. ISBN 978-0415888721.
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