A Desert Dabke dance

Dancer: Diane

Dance Location: Beaches and other expansive places

This is a dance that... has travelled through time.

When my sister and I are on our own on a beach somewhere this dance usually comes upon us. I can only remember two moves from it, but I can la the music and sing some of the words. We have to be in an expansive place. I don’t really know why. Though we did spend a lot of time in the Negev desert. The dance transports us.

It was 1974. Marilyn – the aforementioned sister - was running an international festival in Essex. A dance company came over from Israel and toured around the county. We watched them perform it on stage. One at a time they appeared from the wings, into a long line in a big circle. It’s a fast dance, all in the arms and legs. Just the men were doing it.

So then we had the opportunity to go to Israel, for two weeks, on an archaeological-themed trip. We took a group of youths with us from Basildon and visited the youth centre where the dance company originated from. We were just having a bit of a do with food – I had my first taste of hummus - and then we all joined in the dance. They used to go up on the roof and dance. We couldn’t imagine that happening at our youth club….

I’ve sung the song many times. I’ve got an ear for music. Later, when I was working at Beaumont College I became very interested in contemporary dance, going to see performances and inviting brilliant companies to work with the students – London Contemporary Dance Company and Adam Benjamin and Candoco.

It’s the only time I dance with my sister. We’re on the mudflats up here and the wind’s blowing. We always laugh.