Video: Dabke on wheelchairs in Gaza

This dabke team in Gaza is comprised of Palestinians who use wheelchairs.

Dabke is a Levantine folk dance often performed at weddings and other celebrations.

Abeer al-Herkali, 25, has loved the traditional dance since she was young.

“At celebrations, I would wait for the dabke segments and I would watch them. I wanted to do what they were doing,” al-Herkali told The Electronic Intifada.

She founded the team in January. It now has nine members and they train at the Peace Sport Club for Persons with Disability in Gaza City.

“People would look at me with pity, saying we wish we could help you,” al-Herkali said. “The pitiful looks made me determined.”

The team members were determined to learn how to dance.

Dabke traditionally relies heavily on leg movement, but the team came up with their own style.

“We substituted leg movements with our hands and we make some moves with the wheelchair,” dancer Ali Mohammed Jibril said.

“We care so much about Palestinian tradition and Palestinian dabke,” al-Herkali added.

“We work to improve it. Even though we’re people with disabilities, we’re part of this homeland.”

Video by Amjad Ayman Yaghi, Yousef Mashharawi and Ahmed Abu Hatab.

Thumbnail image by Mohammed Al-Hajjar.