National dances of the Caucasus

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People danced and dance always and in all countries. The love of expressing yourself in dance was always natural and had a national identity. Dance harmonizes a person and increases the effectiveness of his thinking.

Dances of the peoples of the North Caucasus

The names “North Caucasian” dances and “highland” dances are a generalized concept of folk dances in the region, which are universally perceived as quick, fiery (mainly male) dances, with a demonstration of courage, masculinity and dexterity.

The peoples of the North Caucasus are strongly interconnected by cultural relations, but often also genetically. Historically, they have a commonality, because over the centuries, the interpenetration of cultures, life and life-culture of the tribes has occurred. These processes have always been reflected in folklore, including in dance culture. In choreography, the processes of interaction took place more intensively than in other genres of folk art, since the language of dance is international and there is no language barrier in it.

A moving circular dance is popular among many peoples of the North Caucasus, but it is called differently by everyone. If the Karachays call it “Stemey”, then the Dagestanis call it “Lezginka”, and the Balkars call it Tegerek Tepseu. Absolutely the same dance choreography for the Kabardins and Circassians is called “Islam”, among the Adyghe people it is called “Islam”, the Abkhazians like “Apsua”, the Chechens and Ingush also “Lezginka”, Ossetians “Zilga Kaft”, sometimes “Tymbyl Kaft”.

Many variations of the general dance have similar features, such as lifting on socks, throwing out hands, and those dancing - similar clothes, props and jewelry, the musical accompaniment and dance melody are common. Slow lyrical dances of the peoples of the North Caucasus also have historically established similarities. The dances of Karachais, Kabardians and Circassians are similar: “Tuz tepseu”, “Suziulup” and “Kafa”, respectively, the Adyghe “Zafak” and the Ossetian “Hong Kaft”. His girlfriend and boy are dancing in the distance, not touching each other.

It is easy to get confused in the number of names of another common dance, which has nine names among the Balkarians and Karachais: “Hychauman”, “Zhortul”, “Nikola”, “Abezekh”, “Abzek”, “Marako”, “Kysyr”, “Zhiya” and “Dzhezoka”. Its general name is “Handy”. By nine we add four more names: “Uj-pu” and “Uj-hasht” (“Under the arm” of Kabardians and Circassians), “Uj-khurai” (dance of the Adyghe people) and “Simd” (as it is called among Ossetians).

The largest choreographic community is among the peoples who are most closely related geographically and genetically. These are Balkars, Karachais and Circassians. Noticeable analogies can be defined between the dance works of Ossetians and Ingush, Ossetians and Balkars, Ossetians and Karachais, Balkars and Kabardins, Circassians and Karachais, Ossetians and Circassians, as well as Balkars and Svan. Examples of analogies: the Balkarian “Altyn Hardar” and the Ossetian “Khordar”, the Balkarian “Tepana” and the Ossetian “Chepana”, the Balkarian “Apsats” and the Ossetian “Apsats”.

Since the Balkars, Karachais and Ossetians had close contacts and mutual influence for a long time, choreographic co-creation followed the path of creative assimilation and creative processing, and not the path of mechanical borrowing.

Today, the national choreographic tradition of the North Caucasus is widely known and revered throughout the world. Since the nineteenth century, the interest in the highlanders' national dances has not diminished, and in the twentieth century it was even significantly strengthened by Soviet cinema, television and major international music events. We know not only the restaurant “Lezginka”, but also “Naurskaya”, “Bazar”, “Dance of Shamil” and “Polka Oyra”. In addition, the national choreographic art of the North Caucasus, namely national dance schools, today form, with the help of the language of dance, the tolerance of people from different countries to each other, increase their interest in studying the culture of the region.

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