Azerbaijani folk dances
Information on the history of the art of dance was obtained from “Avesta”, “Kitabi Dede Gorgud” and other literary sources, rock carvings in Gobustan and other monuments. These dances reflect the aesthetic value and daily life of the Azerbaijani people.
The project consists of compositions in which Azerbaijani folk dances are handlettering and pictures of dancers are combined. Elements reflecting the authenticity of each dance and ancient Azerbaijan carpet ornaments were used in the project.
Khanchobany belongs to a tribe that lived in Shirvan lands in XVII-XVIII centuries. They called themselves Khanchobany tribe. Created at the end of the 18th century, “Khanchobany” is performed in quick manner. While playing, elements are shown at a slow tempo, but technique is shown when played fast.
The dance is based on the mugam “Chahargah”. “Khanchobany” is a solo dance and is performed by men.
“Shalakho” is one of the oldest Azerbaijani dances.
“Shalakho” takes its name from the word “shala” in a single line of the song. Even now most people call this dance “Shalakho”, which previously was called “Shalakum”, “Shalagoy”. Performed by Azerbaijanis living in the ancient districts of Tbilisi, this dance was learned by Georgians over time. The name of the dance was adapted to the Georgian language and was called “Shalakho”. The dance is based on the typical 6-8 rhythms of Azerbaijani Turks.
Composer Afrasiyab Bedelbeyli used “Shalakho” music in the “Maiden’s Tower” ballet, giving it the power of expression and movement.
An ancient dance dating back to 19th century, dedicated to a beautiful mountain bird. There is a legend in Nakhchivan about the “Turaji” dance: Karabakh khan – Najafgulu had a very beautiful dancer, khan highly appreciated her beauty and talent. Once at the wedding of khan’s son this dancer woman demonstrates miracles of very nice and gentle art of dance. Khan astonished by the wonders of this art said aloud: “You dance like turaj”. Since then, this dance performed by the dancer is called “Turaji”. The dance reminds the flight of turaj. Turaj flies slightly. But suddenly hunter takes aim at her, wounded and weakening bird flutters across the stage, falls to the ground exhausted, then gathers strength again, flies joyfully and passionately. Every move of dancing woman is reminiscent of bird’s fly and float in the air.
“Uzundara” is a very old dance. In Karabakh, there is a valley called Uzundara between Ağdam and Göytepe villages. The elders confirm that dance is dedicated to this valley. They danced here as usual. According to a legend, when the bride was taken, they passed through that valley. She stays here for a while, women from the groom’s relatives play in front of the bride and wish her happiness, peace and health.
From that moment on, when you want to play that music at weddings, it is said, “Play the music that starts when we pass the bride through that long valley.” Thus, the atmosphere of the “Uzundara” game is created. The atmosphere of this game is a bit like Vaghzali.
The music of the Uzundara dance was used by the composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov in the operetta of Mashadi Ibad’s song “Mən nə qədər qoca olsam da …” “O olmasın, bu olsun”. Armenian artists also addressed Uzundara.
The rhythm of the dance “Gaytaghy”, the structure of the movements are close to a simple lezginka. Abasgulu Agha Bakikhanov shows in his book “Gulustani-Iram” that Gaytagh is one of the three provinces of Dagestan, located in the north of Derbent. It is known from history that in the previous centuries the population of both Azerbaijan and Dagestan migrated from one country to another with tribes. Azerbaijanis see the “Gaytaghy” dance as their dance, playing with the brotherly gaytagh people at holidays and ceremonies. In accordance with the “Gaytaghy” harmony, people in the northern part of the republic create their own dances. Uzeyir Hajibeyov applied for the first time “Gaytaghy”. After that, Niyazi, Tofig Guliyev, Rashid Efendiyev, Rauf Hajiyev and other Azeri composers wrote “Gaytaghy”. This dance owns a special place in the repertoire of Azerbaijan State and Dance Ensemble.
This dance is dedicated to “qochu” (social class in Baku) Ali. It was an entertaining dance and demonstrated the lifestyle of the “qochu” in Baku before the revolution. During the performance, the dancer satirically embodied “qoç” and turned “qoçu” into a target of laughter.
“Gochali” dance is performed in Absheron, at wedding ceremonies.
Yalli (Halay) is a ceremonial dance in Turkish and Altai folk culture. The original form of “Yalli” was in the form of a ceremony around the heat of fire, which is a source of warmth, light and hot food. At such events, they worshiped in a fire that had become divine. People understood that only together they can achieve success of the hunt, the victory in battles, the solution of important life issues. That’s why they represent this union in a symbolic way – hand in hand (Drawings on rocks in Gobustan prove this). Pictures of people dancing around the circle on mount Gamigaya in Ordubad area, human figures playing “yalli” on various objects found during archeological excavations, proved that the history of “yalli” in Azerbaijan, dates back to the 5th millennium BC.