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Armenian Dance

 Armenian Dance 

The Armenian dance heritage has been one of the oldest, richest and most varied in the Near East. From the fifth to the third millennia B.C., in the higher regions of Armenia there are rock paintings of scenes of country dancing. These dances were probably accompanied by certain kinds of songs or musical instruments. In the 5th century Moses of Khorene (Movsés Khorenats'i) himself had heard of how the old descendants of Aram (that is Armenians) make mention of these things (epic tales) in the ballads for the lyre and their songs and dances.


One of the most energetic Armenian dances is the martial dance Yarkhushta. Yarkhushta is believed to have its origins in the early Middle Ages as it is mentioned in the works of Movses Khorenatsi, Faustus of Byzantium, and Grigor Magistros.
Yarkhushta has traditionally been danced by Armenian soldiers before combat engagements, partly for ritualistic purposes, and partly in order to cast off fear and boost battle spirit.


Kochari is an Armenian traditional and, probably, the most popular national dance and it is usually a men and women group dance. Kochari has a very famous tune played on "zurna” and "dhol” (traditional Armenian music instruments).
It is widely spread across Armenia. Almost every one knows this dance,no matter the age. The dance consists of impulsive and slower parts, that come one after another.
Kochari goes back to the pagan culture of Armenia, when Armenians worshiped animals.


Shalakho is an ancient Armenian dance. Men would initially perform shalakho during various gatherings in order to win a woman’s attention. However, with time women started dancing shalakho as well!
Nowadays, this dance can be performed by one person or a group of dancers, both men and women.


Berd (translated as "fortress”) is also an ancient Armenian dance, derived from a historical city of Armenia, Vaspurakan.
Berd is a circle of men standing on the shoulders of one another and rotating. If you have the chance to see this dance, you will notice that the dancers’ shape resembles a fortress.
The dancers wear ” taraz” (Armenian national costume) during the dance!

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