‘Rhythm’ Series – Azerbaijani Folk Dances

Dancing is one of the most common types of Azerbaijani folk music. The dance scenes reflected in Gobustan rock paintings can also prove that Azerbaijani folk dances have an ancient history. Shahin Aliyev designed famous national dances with modern elements in his illustrations.

`Gaytagi` is one of the traditional Azerbaijani dances with a dynamic tempo. Great composers Said Rustamov and Tofig Guliyev created new `Gaytagi` dances based on the motifs of the original version of this dance. Tofig Guliyev’s `Gaytagi`  was one of the soundtracks of the film `Where is Ahmed?`.

“Gochali” dance, which is more popular at Absheron weddings. It is performed at a heavy tempo and special with its musical content and rhythm.

“Khanchobani” is one of the domestic dances associated with labor and household. It is said to be related to the name of a tribe of `Khanchobani` that lived around the 17th-18th centuries. Dance performed by men collectively is staged in a theatrical form.

`Shalakho` is one of the ancient dances that considered special composition in Azerbaijani and Georgian choreography. The structure varies by region. This dance was also used in the ballet “Maiden Tower” (1940) by composer Afrasiyab Badalbeyli.

`Turaci`, a lyrical dance performed by women, is one of the national dances of Azerbaijan of the 19th century. This dance is based on mahur mugam.

`Uzundere` is a national Azerbaijani dance performed by women both solo and collectively. Uzeyir Hajibeyov used the melodies of this dance in his famous operetta ` If Not That One, Then This One` in his music “No matter how old I am …”.

Yalli is one of the most popular and traditional collective dances with ancient history. Rock carvings in Gobustan, human figures dancing hand in hand on Mount Gamigaya in Ordubad, and human figures playing yalli on various objects found during archeological excavations show that the history of yalli dates back to millennia BC.

In 2018, it was included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Protection under the title `Yalli (Kochari, Tanzara), traditional group dances of Nakhchivan`.

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