JEDDAH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has launched the second national Ardha dance competition as part of the authority’s endeavors to promote the ancient art form.
Ardha is on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list and DGDA stages the event so that young Saudis can train for and compete in a dance and poetry competition to celebrate the traditional folk dance.
During the Ardha, a poet and dancers wield swords or canes accompanied by drums — traditionally enacted to send soldiers off to battle and provide them with the determination and support they needed. Today, it is performed at weddings, national and cultural events and celebrations.
The initiative has two stages; the first includes providing training courses taught by the best performers for those registered to learn the arts of the Saudi Ardha. The second stage is to organize a competition for those who qualify in courses held during the first phase.
There will be four rounds this year, each with five participants who need to pass the sessions at the final round in line with standards — including those relating to uniform, sword and drums — set by the arbitration committee.
Registration for the first round is from May 27 to June 2 and training sessions will be held from June 3 to June 4. Registration for the second round will be from July 1 to July 22 and training will be from Aug. 6 to Aug. 7.
Registration for the third round is from Sept. 5 to Sept. 9 and training will be from Sept. 17 to Sept. 18.
Registration for the fourth phase will be from Oct. 5 to Oct. 12 and training is planned for Oct. 22 to Oct. 23.
The final festival will be held on Nov. 25 to award the winners who have been selected to take part in a final performance competition.
The initiative will be held in the historic Al-Turaif district in Diriyah, mainly at the Palace of Thunayan bin Saud, one of the most important historical sites in the district, with the aim of consolidating the history and culture of Diriyah, the land of kings and heroes, the jewel of the Kingdom and the cradle of the first Saudi state.
The Diriyah Gate Development Authority held the first edition of the initiative in 2019 at the Palace of Prince Thunayan bin Saud in the historic Al-Turaif neighborhood, where the authority’s CEO, Jerry Inzerillo, honored six winners out of 100 participants in the first phase after they had passed the training stages and participated in the competition.