Saudi men and boys prepare to perform an ancient war dance with gunpowder known as “the Hijazi”, in the Taif governorate, in western Saudi Arabia.
The motive behind their pursuit of this is to preserve a cultural heritage that has been passed down through the generations.
Each dance participant takes a firearm known as a “funnel” from a nearby truck, and carefully charges it with gunpowder before advancing into the center of the arena to show off his showmanship.
Dozens of spectators, including women and children, stand near the square in the Bin Salman café in Al-Hada district in Taif, while some sat in tents in the café to watch the parade. Some of them carried cell phones to film the dance.
Folk music sounds as the dancers individually perform the dance in traditional Saudi dress with ghutra (shemagh), while the model holds his weapon in his hand before jumping and then pulls the trigger to shoot down.
This folkloric dance is currently performed at weddings, heritage festivals and other occasions.
Salman Al-Tuwairqi, who owns the café, explains to AFP that “the ta’zir dance is a popular heritage of the people of Taif, and it is one of the essentials on all occasions.”
Al-Tuwairqi explains that the dance, which was previously considered a “war dance,” is performed to arouse enthusiasm among the fighters and is transmitted from generation to generation.
And he explains, “It has existed since ancient times. We, praise be to God, are still conservative and continuous, so that this popular heritage does not disappear, with the grace of God.”
Boys also participate in dancing, but Al-Tuwairqi explains that “children are usually trained with the same weapon, but without any live ammunition, they are gradually trained.”
“This is a folklore … we try to teach children this dance, in order for them to train their children in the future,” he added.