Lezgian dance

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Painting by famous Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin "Lezginka" which after visiting southern Dagestan and Elisabethpol Governorate wrote the scene, observing the customs and traditions of the Lezgins. (1867)
Photo "the Lezgins, dancing lezginka", the beginning of XX century, the village of Akhty, Dagestan region. (1900)

The Lezgian dance (Lezgian: лезги кьуьл, Russian: лезгинка), also known as the Lezgi dance, is a national dance of the caucasus peoples, common among many peoples in the Caucasus region. Azeris, Chechens, Ossetians, Circassians, Karachays, Balkars, Abkhazians, Kabardins, Ingush, Ingilos, Mountain Jews, Georgians, Armenians the Russian Kuban and Terek Cossacks and the various ethnicities of Dagestan such as the Avars, Dargwa and Kumyks have their own versions.

The Lezgian dance is a solo male and pair dance. The dance is usually performed in national costumes and accompanied by musical ensemble. The music has a 6/8 rhythm; the melody is clear and dynamic and the pace is fast.

The dance uses a two image. The man moves in the way "eagle", alternates between a slow and rapid pace. Trudnosmyvaemye and the most spectacular movements are dance movements of men, when he is on his toes, throwing his hands in different directions. The woman moves in the form of "Swan", bewitching graceful posture and smooth hand movements. The woman increases the tempo of his dance after the man. Not surprisingly, the dance, common among all the Caucasian peoples, was named in accordance with the ancient totem of the Lezgins: the word "Lek" (Lezgian: лекь) means eagle.

Types of dance[edit]

There are two types of Lezgian dance as a whole, the types might variate from one people to an other. Some types of dances originates from one nationality while a different one might originate from an other, but yet both dance it (This is a frequent thing with Caucasian dances).

The "Lezgian dance" fast dance is the only dance common to all people of the Caucasus, but each nationality dances it differently.

The two types are: Mountain dance or Highlander dance and Lyrical dance

Mountain dance originates from people of the Caucasus originally from mountain parts, every nationality has their own little variation. There are a very few variations of this type of dance. It is probably the hardest and one of the most beautiful dances of all. It is a dance where you change positions, literally, in less than one second, one often breaks down to sit on the knees and the jumps back up to a different position and then changes again.
In North Caucasus this is a pure mans dance. But in Georgia women have a version of this dance which is not at all alike what the men do, but they dance in pairs.

Lyrical dance can be dealt into two, Eastern Dance and Western Dance.

Eastern dance is rather traditional and also originates from Vainakhs.
The dance progresses with a pair of a man and a woman represent Sun's route in pursuance of Moon. The man holds his arms spread in a cruciform position to symbolize the rising and setting sun. His bent arm with the hand pressed to his chest, the other arm outstretched to the side designates The Sun in its movement. When he tiptoes with arms lifted above his head, the man personifies the sun in the zenith. He embraces his partner's waist without touching her to depict lunar eclipse.
Violations of the dancing etiquette brought not only moral consequences. The man could not touch the woman while dancing, even when she was his close relative. Both kept upright. The man started the dance, and the woman finished it. In pair dances, the man could not leave the site the first lest he be accused of disrespect of his partner. Women's dancing was ornate with gestures of the arms and shoulders, while men's dance required the utmost subduing of the expressive force. The male dancer expressed his feelings only once, when the dance reached its peak in the middle—the instant which Chechens termed "Bokh' BogIar". That is when he would get of his toes and does different moves.
There is a visible difference between the Vainakh and Dagestani in this dance and that is a set of moves the Dagestani often do, while Vainkahs don't do as often.

Western dance originates from Circassians and is known as Qafa, and the fast dance as Lhaparise/Shishen/Qajeh.
Traditionally the dance progresses relatively the same as Eastern dance, but with the huge exception that one does not break down from the dancers' toes, this is as a sign of modesty and respect and that the dancers' love is always as strong and everlasting and that there is no point where the dancers will love more. It is also far slower. Though today, it is not so common and it is rather normal to dance the Northern-Eastern dance just with a few of their own sets of positions and moves.
The Ossetian "Simd" is a truly the "Qafa" just named differently.

Video[edit]