Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moroccan (Non-Berber) Dance Party Video

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of dancing in Morocco at a party that was held in 2007 to thank volunteer American doctors.

Although the title of this video includes the word "Berber", a number of commenters posted on its viewer discussion thread that this music and dance aren't Berber. A number of other commenters described this dance as one in which the men parodied certain dances that are performed by women only.

The content of this post is provided for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

I'm featuring this video in this blog not only for its music and dancing but to share a sampling of the comments that were made in the video's discussion thread. Some of these comments are followed by explanatory quotes from online sources.

Thanks to all those who are featured in this video. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post, and thanks to the publisher of this video on YouTube.

SHOWCASE VIDEO: Moroccan music dancing party Morocco travel Berber

Moroccan Videos from Morocco Uploaded on Jun 4, 2007

Moroccan music dancing entertainment Morocco to thank 60 American doctors for preforming free services.

These comments are presented in chronological order by year with the oldest comments given first. The comments are numbered for referening purposes only

1. loepy, 2007
"this dance is wellknown in morocco its origanel from a little city in morocco Khouribga. the name of the group is Abidat Erma. Myn parents are from this city and myn father dance the same. i love it its amazing!"
Khouribga (in amazigh letters : ⵅⵯⵔⵉⴱⴳⴰ ) (Arabic: خريبكة‎) is a city in Khouribga Province in the Chaouia-Ouardigha region of Morocco with a population of approximately 172,000. Khouribga owes its growth to the phosphate deposits nearby.

[Khouribga] is Located at least 120 km from Casablanca, 154 km from the capital, Rabat, 200 km from the city of Marrakesh, 99 km from the city of Beni Mellal and 60 km from the city of Settat, capital of Settat Province and the region Chaouia-Ouardigha which Khouribga Province belongs to."
The Wikipedia page on Khouribga indicates that it is located in North-Central Morocco.

2. mouleagateau, 2008
"just for peolple who want to know ,mo this is not the traditional marrocco dance those kind of group are very famous in marrocco , but the origine of those kind of dance is tha a long time ago women, to finish a long day of work , use to sing and dance but they usualy sing about men and make fun of them, mens didn't have the wright to go on those kind of party ,"

3. mouleagateau, 2008
"so they did the same think in there way making fun of women and they copy them so they dance like that to make fun of women who insult them"

4. ibnrushd , 2008
"this monkey danse aint berber culture, its more a kind of show to entertain silly tourists. berber muzic is music of a man's heart not jumping an acrobatics..these are Jebala from the north of morocco."
"Monkey dance" reads to me like an insult which may or may not have racist (or ethnic) connotations.

Here's information about the Jebalas:
"The Jebala (Arabic: جبالة‎, Moroccan Arabic:Jbala) are an ethnic group of north-western Morocco

The word Jbala comes from Arabic Jbel which means mountain. Thus Jbala means mountain people. A man or boy is called a Jebli while a woman or a girl is called a Jebliya.[1]


The Jebala are mostly of Berber origin;[2] they adopted the Arabic language between the 10th and 15th centuries, influenced by Arabic-speaking townspeople of northern Morocco and Al-Andalus and the fact that their land lies on the route between these places.[3] Before the arrival of the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym Arabs in the 12th century, the Jebala country was the only rural region where Arabic was spoken, and it still remains the only significant rural region where a non-bedouin Arabic dialect is spoken."...

5. Cece .Sihama, 2009
"wrong title , not berber"
The video uploader (who uses the name "moroccan treasures") commented that he or she added the word "Berber" to that video title as a tab, so that interested people would be aware of it.

In another video by the same publisher,, he or she gave his or her home town as Boujaad, Morocco.

6. landsker, 2009
in reply to moroccantreasures [the publisher of this video]

" "Berber" ... a tribe or region in the Northern part of Maroc.

It shouldn`t be used to describe these men from the South, who are presenting a very tourist-type kitsch mix of music and certainly the dance steps have little in common with traditional Berber dances.

" Berber" is more than just a word for search engines, it refers to a people , a tribe if you will, like the Sioux or the Pashtuns... a little bit of accuracy in semantics helps everyone.
>thanks for uploading ***
Notice that this commenter describes these performers as being "from the South". However, the other commenters who shared information about where this dance came from, indicate that it comes from the Northern part of Morocco.

7. barbar atlas, 2009
"this is darija a mix of early arabic from egypt libya sudan and french and spanish from the occupation and western african from the slaves that went to america. but its some words from berber"

barbar atlas, 2009
"all moroccans are the same but they talk diffrent. this is darija a mix of the early arabic from egypt and sudan and libya. and west african from the slaves and a little bit of berber words and french and spanish from the occupation. but they have startet teaching berber languige in schools now so everyone can understand eacother."
"Darija (Arabic: الدارجة‎), means "everyday/colloquial language";[1] it also appears as ad-dārija, derija or darja. It refers to any of the varieties of colloquial Arabic subsumed under Maghrebi Arabic. Like all colloquial Arabic varieties, it is generally used for everyday speech, in TV plays, drama, some advertising, social networking, etc., with Modern Standard Arabic (الفصحى (al-)fuṣḥā), French, or other languages used for formal speech and for written communication. Darija shares the majority of its vocabulary with standard Arabic, but it also includes significant borrowings from Berber (Tamazight) substrates,[2] as well as extensive borrowings from French, and to a lesser extent Castilian Spanish and even Italian (primarily in Libya) – the languages of the historical colonial occupiers of the Maghreb. Darija is spoken and to various extents mutually understood in the Maghreb countries, especially Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, but can often be unintelligible to speakers of other Arabic dialects. Darija continues to evolve by integrating new French or English words, notably in technical fields, or by replacing old French and Spanish ones with Standard Arabic words within some circles.

In contrast, the colloquial dialects of more eastern Arab countries, such as Egypt, Jordan and the Sudan, are usually known as al-‘āmmīya (العامية), though Egyptians may also refer to their dialects as el-logha-d-darga.

Darija can refer to:
Algerian Arabic
Ḥassāniyya, spoken by the Saharans in Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco and Algeria.
Libyan Arabic
Moroccan Arabic
Tunisian Arabic"

8. Yaz Ak, 2010
"Not berber at all

I'm half M'twiwia and half Riffia , I know what music is from where in the parts of Morocco since I'm Moroccan myself, so please correct you're video information before giving out wrong information in the first place, thank you"

achil2157, 2010
"Ce folklore s'appelle en arabe " 3bidat rma",c'est-à-dire les " esclaves des tireurs". Dans le passé ces gens sortent avec les chasseurs et les seigneurs, pour faire fuir les gibiers vers les tireurs qui les attendent avec les mains sur lesgachettes. Une fois au repos ils chantent et dansent avec joie pour eux et pour les maîtres.On les appelle aussi en dialecte marocaine " hayaha" c'est-à-dire " ceux qui font du bruit ".....Ils chantent en dialecte marocaine, leurs chants parlent d'amour, ..."
Google Translate from French to English:
"This folklore is called in Arabic "3bidat rm", that is to say, the "slaves of the shooters." In the past these people come out with hunters and lords, to scare away the game to the shooters awaiting them with hands on lesgachettes. After resting they sing and dance with joy for them and for the maîtres.On also called in Moroccan dialect "hayaha" that is to say, "those who make noise" ..... They sing in dialect Moroccan, songs about love, ..."
maitres = mothers (women)

This description of this dance seems to contradict the other descriptions of it as men's parodies of certain dances that women do.

9. samir amazigh, 2011
its darija+berber+african mix.......berber arabic mix = darija . darija is not arabic
I find it interesting that the commenter distinguishes between "Berber" and "African" in his description of Darija. Berbers are African. The commenter probable meant "non-Berber" or some West African ethnic group or groups.

10. Damian Leon , 2011
"From what part of Morocco is this dance from? I have read the comments and now know that this is not Berber. Who are these dancing? Is it a religious dance? Dance for pleasure/entertainment? Sorry I am an outsider, and doing some research for a school project. All the held is appreciate it."

11. moroccantreasures, 2011
in reply to Damian Leon
"@DamianLeon123 It was an even put on for about 100 volunteer doctors that visited a city near Boujaad Morocco because my filmer lives in Boujaad and works with the peace corp although I cant say specifically if they were peace corps doctors or what mission/group they came from. It was like a "thank you" party from the people they served. And with any area I am sure the people are from many palces and backgrounds."
"Even" is a typo for "event". "Filmer" is a typo for "family". In another YouTube video, this same publisher indicates that he or she is from Boujaad.

The book Welcome To Morocco by Mostafa Tawfik gives this information for Boujaad: (p. 68)
"Boujaad: Province Khouribga: Region Chaouia-Ouardigha"

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  1. The comment given as #9 in this post reminds me of a storytelling program that I was a part of in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1980s. (I'm an African American who at that time was hired by the Carnegie Library system to present adapted West African stories, mostly from Ghana and Nigeria).

    That particular program's description was something like "Stories From Around The World". My part in the program happened to be after a woman from Egypt. The hostess introduced me by saying "And now we'll have some stories from Africa".

    Before I began, after thanking the host for including me in the program, I asked the audience (of adults) whether they noticed anything wrong with that introduction. I then asked them which continent Egypt is in. I think that I did so respectfully, but I believe that I made my point that Egypt is part of the continent of Africa. Therefore, Egyptians are Africans.

    After the program ended, I gave the Egyptian woman a ride home. We talked, and I recall her saying that she and other Egyptians consider themselves to be from the Middle East and not from Africa.

    I didn't argue the point, but it seems to me that North Africans (and nations in some parts of East Africa) can be Middle Eastern in culture and African in location and in culture.

  2. This Moroccan dance party was just outstanding. I have never been to the Moroccan dance party but watching this video was really a great thing. I wonder if I can rent a space for an event in Florida that is based on Moroccan theme! Please friend share some suggestions if you know about such places!