Leaping the Gun in Saudi Arabia

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

Formerly performed before combat to motivate fighters and scare the enemy, Taasheer is now performed at important social events such as weddings and celebrations. Boys are trained to perform the traditional dance from a young age, first with an unloaded gun, until they are ready to handle the gunpowder. It is passed down from generation to generation and the people of Taif hope to keep it forever.

Photo: Video Screengrab

Barefoot and wearing traditional headdresses, Taasheer performers dance to traditional music, hopping up and down with closed knees while holding their musket-like weapons horizontally before jumping in the air and shooting their weapons at the ground for a stunning visual effect .

The fire dance, as Taasheer is commonly called, always attracts large crowds, including women and children, who are fascinated by the spectacle.

It’s not clear if firing the gun actually poses a threat to the cast or bystanders as the guns are not loaded with bullets, only gunpowder, but it definitely looks dangerous and that is definitely part of the appeal.

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Source: AFP