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INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
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Wood Carving in Armenia

Wood Carving in Armenia Element not inscribed in the National Registry of ICH оf Armenia Domain: Skills and knowledge related to...

Urban Dances

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Urban dances (Caucasian or Asian dances). By the end of the 19th century a new kind of dances had developed in the big cities of Transcaucasia. In particular inTbilisi, then the central hub of Transcaucasia, numerous workers’ guilds were established embracing craftsmen of all nationalities of Transcaucasia living there. The latter introduced elements typical of their own national dances, and in the course of time concocted a new type of solo male dances which were later dubbed Caucasian or Asian dances. The core of those guilds was made of Armenian workers. Which is why Armenian national dance components prevailed in these dances. However, these dances began to be performed to the tunes and arrangements created by new musicians. Initially they were danced within the confines of the workmen’s guilds, but later their attractive and competitive appeal gained them a way into the programs of state and amateur dance groups of all the nations of Transcaucasia. Shalakho, Lezginka, Kinta’uri, Mirza’I, Tarakyama and many other dances were most popular with the audiences, and very soon they passed on to be performed by women (in older times women were not allowed to dance men’s dances). These were now called female duo dances.

Caucasian or Asian dances travelled from stage to stage with some little modifications, and then the magnetism of their competitive and infectious performance brought them back into people’s everyday life. This style of Caucasian or Asian dances was adopted in Armenian life as a new kind of national dances, in spite of so many steps borrowed from Georgian or other national dances. The latter were replaced by Armenian dance steps.

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