The nature of the national choreographic culture of Karachay-Cherkessia is quite diverse and expresses the temperament, aesthetic ideals of the people, their attitude to human values ​​and the world, a sense of the substance of being. Dance in this case is a kind of link connecting a person with nature and God (gives rise to magical powers in himself).

The ancient dances of Karachay-Cherkessia are closely related to song, music, drama, prayer, and props. The ancient national dance always bears a multifunctional specificity: each generation left its features in it. Moreover, the ancient dance was noticeably transformed: some of the elements disappeared, enriched with new content. This proves the variety of dance options. The traditional art of dance has significant typical features and patterns that play a crucial role. One of these features is the presence of an internal dance rhythm, which is the basis for organizing dance movements, the basis of the idea of ​​their birth.

Ancient national dances of the region have many expressive means that make them meaningful and interesting. Performers of dances easily own their bodies, are deprived of stiffness, therefore they are free to choose these means: these include various gestures, movements of arms, legs, head, body. The content of these dances reflected the work of man, the animal and plant world, character, morals, history of the people, their way of life, which are transmitted by their movements in the pictorial and imitative form.

As noted above, a folk dance is periodically transformed, outdated elements disappear in it and new, viable, with a new content appear that give traditional movements a qualitatively different meaning. This is especially noticeable in the content of the dances. So, for example, the Suziulup dance is like flowing water, as it is performed very smoothly, the Atyp dance is swift, as if “shooting”, and “Typyrdap” is “twitching”.

The state ensemble of Karachay-Cherkessia "Elbrus" at his solo concert. Photo:
State ensemble of Karachay-Cherkessia "Elbrus" at his solo concert. Photo:

One of the most famous is the dance "Ashtotur". The performers of this ritual song - the dances lined up in one line and raised their hands up, then at the command of the eldest they dropped to one knee, tilting their heads down - to the god of the land of Teiri. Then the dancers leaned to the right, left, forward and backward, walked to the Ashtotur stone, finally stood on their toes. The senior hunter commanded "Ashtotur!" and everyone came back. In terms of dance options, Ashtotur stone is “performed” by a man, he sits on his knees, bending the body forward, and the rest dance around him.

Other folk dances of Karachay-Cherkessia that should be noted as the most famous and significant are the werewolf dance "Obur", the circular dance "Togerek tepseu", the ritual dance "Hychauman", the dance of the archer "Zhiya", the dance with felt lash "Kamchi", dance with a ring “Zhyuzyuk oyun”, dance of Yeryuzmek with demons “Yeryuzmek bla shaitanla”, dance of the harvest “Gallu” and winter dance “Bashilay”.

An integral part of the national holidays of Karachay-Cherkessia is ritual dances, the history of which goes back to ancient times and which are connected with the life of the people. Ritual dance has always been the basis of the function of the dance, the main idea of ​​the rite is concentrated in it. Without a dance, the rite will be unfinished. The content and specifics of such dances are multifunctional. For example: in the Hardar rite, the dance is dedicated to plowing, in Apsaty and Ashtotur to hunting, and in Kurek biiche to cause rain.

Today, folk choreography of Karachay-Cherkessia has great potential for harmonious spiritual and physical development, aesthetic improvement of the inhabitants of the region. Folk dance is the richest source of aesthetic impressions; it forms the artistic “me” as an integral part of the “tool of society”, through which it draws the most intimate and most personal aspects of a person into the circle of social life.

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