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Lajee Dabka Troupe

Any heritage is always the proof of the people’s belonging to their homeland, since it carries the history, art, culture and feelings of those people for years and years, and passes them down from one generation to another. 

In the Palestinian case, heritage is all of the memories of Palestine, whether before or after the start of the Israeli occupation which is continuously attempting to erase that identity and even appropriate it.  

The Palestinian heritage varies in its forms and styles; from architectural heritage such as mosques, churches, shrines, etc., and there is the handicraft, such as oil soap and other industries. Finally, the most popular form of heritage for the youth generation is the Palestinian dress (Thaub), folklore dancing and popular folklore songs.
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The Palestinian popular dance (Dabka) is an integral part of the Palestinian folklore and the memory of the Palestinians. It is present in all fields and is still performed in all national and popular occasions.
Since 2001 till this day, Lajee Center in Aida refugee camp has been working on reviving and improving Dabka dance, for it to remain a standard for the Palestinian folklore and culture. Therefore, it founded the Lajee Popular Arts group which performs Dabka on local and international stages 
The group today has 55 members between the ages of 5 to 25 years, who all aspire to deliver the Palestinian word through the traditional art.  
Since the beginning of the year, the group participated in many events and festivals through extensive work and practice.  
For the first time, Al-Bara’im (Children Dabka Troupe) participated in the national festival in Hebron. The  troupe also participated in the first festival in Al-Eizariya, in which the group performed on theater and revived the hopes in a generation that can resist the occupation and its cultural appropriation. 
The group also participated in the commemoration of the Nakba events this year, as it did every year with its field and artistic participation, which presented some paintings that express joy and sadness, while reviving the heritage of the ancient Palestinian before 1948.
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 The group also took part in the Ninth Heritage Week in Birzeit, where participation came at the request of the festival coordinators and with the participation of all members of the troupe. 
Since its establishment until today, the group has been subjected to many violations by the occupation. Many of the group members have been injured and some were subjected to detention. Others were banned from traveling and taking part in performances. 
The group was also forced to cancel the daily practice several times due to the Israeli soldier presence in the area and throwing teargas or  sound grenades . 
The group has experienced many difficult experiences since its establishment till this day. Some of the members were even arrested two days before traveling, and some were targeted and shot in the legs. However, one of the worst experiences was when the group of 50 was detained, inside the little building of the center, when Israeli soldiers threw teargas grenades inside the building and closed the door. 

However, the group keeps performing beautiful art and represents cultural identity to prove that Palestinians will always belong to their land and will never give up the home or identity.

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