I was with two people new to the Middle East, and they most certainly had never even heard of the founder of the UAE, sheik Zayed (if you wonder what on Earth I am talking about now, you sort of understand how we felt last night). For a while we thought it was some allegorical play about Jesus. Since that might be a bit odd, we assumed it was probably about the prophet Mohamed, it being his birthday that day anyway. After all, there was a birth somewhere in the desert and wise men that showed up with advice, and a wise man – Merlin wizard style – who sort of spoke the scenes together. The English translation – from classical Arabic – did not help much either. In between these acts, that puzzled us for quite some time, these dancers ran around, making big leaps left and right, but other than that, no real choreography could be discerned. Nor a story line.
Finally, it dawned on us that this was a tribute to sheikh Zayed, whom I had never heard of before, but that is due to my own ignorance, and who is the one who united the warring tribes into the United Emirates as we know them today. The founding father, so to speak.
The plot was missing. And the Caracalla dancers failed to impress me. Except for the Dabkeh. But even there, I must say I have seen more impressive displays of (impromptu) Dabkeh at weddings here.
Luckily, a dance troupe from Russia, China (I think) and some hot dancers from Spain saved the day at the last 15 minutes of the show, which made up for the earlier confusion, so we all went home happy.