Those Who Don’t Know Falcons Grill Them
4K video, sound, color, 00:07:01 - 2018

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In Those Who Don’t Know Falcons Grill Them, a cohort of young male dancers perform the Khabayti, a hybrid dance influenced by both Hejazi and Sufi traditions. The choreographed pageantry of swirling, sword-wielding men and boys was once used in preparation for war, and is now typically performed at social gatherings by male dancers. However, at segregated events, female dancers are able to perform the Khabayti for women-only audiences.

Donning custom-made garments patterned with falcons—the national bird of Saudi Arabia, which represents courage, power, and national identity—Alamoudi’s dancers are propelled by the hypnotically mastered sounds of the mizmar, a wind instrument common in traditional Arabic music. Appropriating the format of a music video, Alamoudi remixes references to traditional Arab culture and, as a woman director, subverts the male gaze typical of the genre by using only male performers.