Traditional Saudi War Dance Gives ‘Jumping the Gun’ a Literal Meaning

Taasheer is a traditional war dance performed by Saudi men and boys which involves spectacular, well-timed leaps that synchronize with the dramatic discharge of long muzzle-loading rifles.

Once performed before battle to motivate fighters and instill fear in the heart of the enemy, Taasheer is now performed at important social events, like weddings and festivals. Boys are trained to perform the traditional dance from a young age, first with an unloaded weapon, until they are ready to handle the gun powder. It is passed down from generation to generation, and the people of Taif hope to be able to preserve it forever.

Photo: video screengrab

Barefoot and wearing traditional headdresses, Taasheer performers dance to traditional music, bouncing up and down with their knees close together while holding their musket-like guns horizontally, before leaping into the air and firing their guns at the ground, for a stunning visual effect.


The fire dance, as Taasheer is commonly referred to, always draws large crowds, including women and children, which stand on the sidelines mesmerized by the spectacle.


It’s not clear whether firing the gun actually poses any threat to the performers or the bystanders, as the guns aren’t loaded with bullets, only gun powder, but it definitely looks dangerous, and that’s definitely part of the appeal.


Source: AFP