Yowla (Arabic: اليولة / ALA-LC: al-yawlah) or al yowla is a traditional weapon dance in the United Arab Emirates, and the UAE’s traditional victory dance. Also referred to in the press as the Yola or Yollah dance, the "Bedouin dance routine, which usually involves men spinning sticks, rifles or swords, is often used to celebrate the heritage of the UAE."
The dance involves boys and men spinning swords to traditional Emirati music. The performance also can involve spinning and throwing a dummy rifle made entirely of wood and metal plating. Men dance to the rhythm and music by moving in an up and down step while constantly spinning, throwing and performing several tricks with the rifle. This type of dance requires great skill and concentration.
In popular media and politics
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing since 2002 has organized the Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Championship, which includes the Al Yowla Championship.
According to the Guinness World Records, the largest Yowla dance took place in Fujairah on November 26, 2010, with 285 participants from three different tribes taking part in a traditional sword competition performed for the Crown Prince of Fujairah.
In 2017, a jail threat was issued by the UAE over a viral dance video meme featuring young people performing yowla. The videos, also filmed in cars and on roads, were set to "Mutsawe" by singer Eida Al Menhali. The Sheikhdom’s Attorney General Hamas Saif Al Shamsi said the videos of the dance were "damaging to Emirati society."
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