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‘No dancing’: Saudi concert edict stirs ridicule

  • Tickets to pop concert in Saudi Arabia came with ‘no dancing’ instruction
  • The ban on moving to music has been widely mocked on social media 
  • The strict-Muslim nation has only recently begun to allow live music concerts

Saudi authorities banned dancing at a pop concert  held in the western city of Jeddah, a move which triggered an avalanche of mockery and ridicule on social media.

Tickets to Egyptian pop sensation Tamer Hosny’s upcoming concert came with a written instruction that dancing is ‘strictly prohibited’.

Women and men will also be seated in separate areas of the arena, ticket holders wrote on Twitter. 

Strictly no dancing: This photo, posted on Twitter, shows tickets to the Tamer Hosny concert bearing instructions to revellers not to dance

‘Ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts,’ one Twitter user said.

‘The corridors and seats will be equipped with sway detectors. Anyone who thinks about swaying will be kicked out.’

Another tweeted: ‘No dancing or swaying in a concert! It’s like putting ice under the sun and asking it not to melt.’

The kingdom’s entertainment authority did not respond to AFP’s request for comment about the instruction.

Old rules:  Tamer Hosny's concert will also see men and women seated separately

Old rules:  Tamer Hosny’s concert will also see men and women seated separately

With its new modernisation drive, the ultra-conservative kingdom has hosted a series of concerts in recent months by artists such as Lebanon’s Hiba Tawaji and legendary Greek composer Yanni.

Men and women are often seen breaking into dance at such events, in scenes that were unimaginable not long ago.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is leading the reform drive, is seeking to balance unpopular subsidy cuts in an era of low oil prices with more entertainment options – despite opposition from Muslim religious hardliners.

The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the kingdom reels from a protracted slump in oil prices.

Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see movie shows and visit amusement parks in neighbouring tourist hubs like Dubai.