- Title: Wheelchair-bound Dabke lovers hit the dance floor in Gaza
- Date: 2nd July 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DANCER AND LEADER OF DABKE DANCE TROUPE, ABEER AL-HIRAKLI, SAYING: "People around me kept saying that it is impossible for me to do this because I'm on a wheelchair. Everyone gave me this look of pity, they all wanted to help me but it was difficult. Dabke depends mainly on the movement of the feet. However, the idea grew up as I grew up. After graduation from college, I started to think of how I can change the dependency on the feet to something that accommodates my disability and the wheelchair." VARIOUS OF TRAINING IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DABKE TRAINER, HANY FATAYER, SAYING: "Having people with disabilities on wheelchairs is positive and encouraging. People were astonished and reactions were really positive. People encouraged us and pushed us to perform in events and parties because it is such a wonderful show. It is new and different." HIRAKLI AND COLLEAGUE, NOUR ABU SABRA, GOING TO BEACH HIRAKLI TAKING SELFIE WITH MOBILE PHONE HIRAKLI APPEARING ON MOBILE PHONE VARIOUS OF HIRAKLI AND ABU SABRA ON BEACH (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DANCER AND LEADER OF DABKE DANCE TROUPE, ABEER AL-HIRAKLI, SAYING: "There are a lot of people in our society who criticise us and believe that what we doing is not important. They won't see what we do as something good. But there are other people who support us and encourage us to continue because they believe that what we do is important. In the end, we don't care about what people say, what matters is that I have a goal and a dream that I want to achieve no matter what the circumstances are." HIRAKLI DRIVING VEHICLE DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES HIRAKLI SEEN FROM CAR'S MIRROR / HIRAKLI DRIVING PAST CAR
- Embargoed: 16th July 2019 13:51
- Keywords: Palestinians Gaza Dabke People with Disabilities People on wheelchairs dancing dabke
- Location: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- City: GAZA CITY, GAZA
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA002AM34FV9
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Confined to a wheelchair, Gaza-based Abeer al-Hirakli is adamant to impress fellow Palestinians with her dazzling dabke moves.
The traditional Palestinian dance involves synchronised steps that depend mainly on the movement of the feet, but Hirakli's passion convinced a dabke trainer to replace them with shoulders and hand movements.
Hirakli is now leading a 10-member dance troupe of wheelchair-bound Palestinians in the besieged strip.
She met them and dabke trainer, Hany Fatayer, at al-Salam sports club, a facility offering its services exclusively for people with disabilities.
Founded in 2004, the non-profit club aims to integrate people with disabilities in sports.
For years, Hirakli ignored "looks of pity" from people around her and started fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a professional dabke dancer.
"They all wanted to help me but it was difficult. Dabke depends mainly on the movement of the feet. However, the idea grew up as I grew up," she said.
The 25-year-old university graduate and the rest of the troupe have been training for 10 months.
For trainer Hany Fatayer, adjusting the dance to accommodate their disability was a challenge in the beginning.
Hirakli's future plans involve performing in events across Gaza with the rest of her troupe.
(Production: Mohammed Shanna, Arafat Barbakh, Wafa Abu Mized, Suheir el Sheikh, Roleen Tafakji)
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