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Posted 3/10/2017

TURKMEN NATIONAL DANCES. Kushdepdi dance originated at the beginning of civilization takes its sources in original traditions and rites of early arable farming culture, cult preferences of the ancient people worshipping to natural disaster forces and tending to merge with the native nature by means of harmonious body movements echoing various phenomena of wildlife and habits of animals.

Kushdepdi is a dance of youthful energy, grace, fast and plastic movements and therefore it is mainly performed by the youth. But sometimes the mature age and even elderly age people join a dance with their fun and enthusiasm not surrendering to the youth at all. The dance begins with melodious songs  of the first chords of genre national singing “gazal” in performance of a young man and a girl thus doing the first smooth dance steps. The people around them watch their movements accompanying them by measured, rhythmical clapping of their hands. At the end of each “gazal” quatrain they cry traditional “hey-ha”, “uh-hu”, “kusht-kusht”, as though cheering up each other and being gradually involved in a dance rhythm. While dancing the dancers’ hands should not be in a contact. In particular cases, a unique “kernel” is formed in the dancers’ centre, in which a man and a woman usually set the pace for all remaining dancers.


Gradually, the dance rhythm starts calming down. The young dancers, without being noticed, let the skilled dancers with wooden spoons to take the centre of a circle. The melody of spoons in their hands merges together with fine dancing movements and tambourine rhythms waken everybody all around them. Sometimes, at the height of the dance some women start singing traditional “hi, oleng”. Such kind of dance is called “kashik tansy”.


The other kind of “chapak” dance - “khekte byokysh” – by its rhythmical choreography it reminds “magpie’s” swift movements: the dancers’ jumps in a circle are performed on one foot.


 “Sallanan gyozel” - “a maiden beauty” is the most graceful part of the dance. The young dancers’ movement reminds a gentle swaying of weeping willow twigs bending down its top in light breathing of a warm spring breeze. “Chapak” dance is performed at weddings as whell, when the bride’s and the groom’s relatives compete in singing “yar-yar” and “oleng” standing against each other.


It is necessary to note a similarity of the hands’ movements in chapak and kushdepdi dances remotely resembling a ritual of “exile of evil ghosts” in ancient shamanism. They resemble ritual dances of ancient shamanism, which expelled devildom. The unusual grace and plastic of these ancient dances finds new sounding in a bright palette of a modern Turkmen choreographic art taking in the best samples of original folk art.