Where are the Lebanese dancers?

European dancers have always played a major role in Arab television productions. During reality talent  shows– like this one currently aired on Al Jadeed– the synchronized dancers often supplement the musical performance by Lebanese singers at the microphones:

In this case the European dancers are even doing the Dabke, a traditional regional line dance.

If the disconnect wasn’t obvious enough, the dancers fumbled attempt at lip synching while forever smiling proved they had no idea what was being sung or why.

But why is it so difficult for stations like Al Jadeed to find local dance talent, considering this is a local dance tradition they are preforming?

Thankfully I wasn’t the only one to notice.

One of the show’s judges was Ibrahim al-Amin, a columnist for the left-leaning Al Akhbar newspaper. Al-Amin, who has been viewed as a strong supporter of Hezbollah, was noticeably miffed by the lack of local talent on stage.

When asked nonchalantly by the hostess what he made of the performance, al-Amin surprisingly broke the atmosphere of mindless banter with a moment of honesty.

“Why do you use European dancers,” he asked, leaving the presenter speechless.

The producers have plenty of talented young locals to draw upon, al-Amin added, particularly for such a historically local dance.

“Where are the Lebanese dancers?”

I’ve always argued that there is too much pandering on Arab TV. Thanks to Mr. al-Amin for keeping it real for once.