Armenian dances show thousand years-old traditions, rituals and depth of the Armenian culture. Even thousands of years later, Armenians still preserve most part of their traditional dances and passed it from generation to generation.
Armenians love their culture and traditions. It doesn’t matter whether they live in Armenia, or outside, Armenian dances are a big part their life. Today there are many dance ensembles within and outside Armenia that preserve and develop ancient dances.
We’ve prepared a list of 10 most famous Armenian dances that you may definitely come across during any Armenian occasion that includes music and dance.
Armenian Dances 1) Kochari
Kochari is one of those Armenian dances which is performed during almost every occasion. This dance has rougher, more pronounced movements. It has its roots – like many other Armenian dances – in ancient, pagan culture.
However, kochari is not easy to define. Each part of Armenian Highlands has its own interpretation of kochari. There is a kochari of Alashkert, kochari of Karin, etc.
In all cases, dancers form a closed circle, put their hands on each other’s shoulders. Nowadays, the dance is performed by both men and women.
Actually, there are also some differences between the regional variations, which you can see in these videos.
You can enjoy the amazing kochari of Alashkert here.
Armenian Dances 2) Yarkhushta
Yarkhushta is one of the Armenian dances where women have nothing to do. It is completely men’s domain. This folk dance is a military one, which comes from historical Sasoun city of Western Armenia.
It appeared in Middle ages. Yarkhushta was performed by Armenian soldiers before battles. The idea was to get rid of fear and boost the military spirit.
If you watch the dance, you will absolutely understand those reasons. While dancing, men face each other in pairs. Then rapidly approach each other and vigorously clap onto the hands of one another.
The music of the dance is provided by Armenian zurna.
Armenian Dances 3) Berd
This dance is probably one of the most beautiful Armenian dances. However, it’s very difficult and dangerous at the same time. To understand it you should know the meaning of the word “berd”. It’s an Armenian word,meaning “fortress”.
Now do you understand the essence of the dance? The dancers who are men only, construct a fortress while dancing. It is pretty cool. This military dance comes from Armenian Vaspurakan.
Dancers wear traditional costumes and are supposed to make fortress by standing on each other’s shoulders. The dance is performed in honor of victories of Armenia. It symbolizes strength.
Armenian Dances 4) Ishkhanats Par
In Ancient times, dancing was typical of not only citizens but lords and kings as well. Ishkhanats par or Dance of Lords comes to prove it. It is said that Ishkhanats Par belonged to the group of holy Armenian dances.
Actually, it was too difficult to dance. This was why only young people performed it. The princes, the lords and powerful people stood in front of the dance line and made donations to the drum and zurna players.
The poor also participated in dancing. The Armenians performed the dance during the pilgrimages, at the churches in Van and all celebrations and weddings.
Staying loyal to the name, this dance is a very solemn and noble, still technically one of the most complex dances in Armenian dancing culture.
The dancers hold hands with crossed palms. They stand in a line. But keep in mind, this line is never arched. The line moves forward, then comes back making a turn. Then moves to the right and back.
Gradually the music and the dance become more lively and energetic. The internet is just overwhelmed with the music video of this dance. Check the one performed by “Karin” folk dance and song group.
Armenian Dances 5) Ejmiatsin
Ejmiatsin is the spiritual center of Armenia. It is here that the Holy See is located. To honor it, Armenians dance “Ejmiatsin”. This dance belongs to the group of “circle dances” and is characterized by mystery and uniqueness.
It’s very a very ancient dance. The raised hands in this dance symbolize the Sun. However, in Christian era, some traditions changed.
Nowadays the very same position of hands symbolizes the dome of holly Ejmiatsin. Both men and women perform this dance. It’s suitable for different celebrations. Besides, there is a song dedicated to the dance. So, discover the religious side of Armenian dances.
Armenian Dances 6) Tsaghkadzori
In fact, there are some dances in Armenian dance art that do not belong to any ritual or national holiday. They can be performed any time you want.
“Tsaghkadzori” is one of that dances that has its roots in the Armenian city of Vaspurakan. Initially, it was mainly performed during pilgrimages.
The name itself refers to a place in Vaspurakan, where there were several chapels. This easy dace is associated with fertility. Everybody can perform it. While dancing you feel the flow of energy inside. Do not hesitate to try to learn it with this music video.
Armenian Dances 7) Trtrug
Probably trying to figure out the name? It’s really difficult to understand even for Armenians. Actually, it is an Hamshen word for “shock” or “tremor”.
This Hamshen –Armenian dance is for the brave ones. Footsteps have attacking and defensive military dance elements. The dance is performed by men only.
The dancers are shaking their shoulders. This interprets the vibrations of a bird’s wings, which tells us the name of the dance. The Armenians living in Hamshen(Turkey) danced it on New Year’s Eve, Christmas and Barekendan (nearly similar to American Thanksgiving).
The traditions go on even today. Wedding ceremonies are also included in the list. The dance is really inspiring. Make sure to watch it.
Armenian Dances 8) Khosh Bilazik
This dance comes from Karin, Western Armenia. It is one of the labor dances and highlights the high level of Armenian culture.
“Khosh Bilazig” is specific with its steps, depicting work process and ceremonies. The steps seem to repeat the movements of the crochet when knitting a bracelet.
The feet make rotating movements which remind the work of the crochet. “Khosh Bilazik” means “Golden Bracelet”.
Armenian Dances 9) Uzundara
Girls, ATTENTION! Are you getting ready for your wedding and want to perform something special for your future husband? Here is a good opportunity. Learn Armenian Uzundara.
Uzundara or Bride’s dance is one of the most beautiful and feminine Armenian dances. This is performed only during weddings.
As you guess, the bride is supposed to dance it alone or with a group of women. The word “uzundara” means “to crown secretly”.
Enjoy the sounds of Armenian duduk and amazing dance of Armenian girls.
Armenian Dances 10) Tamzara
Tamzara is a famous Armenian folk dance which was widespread in historical Yerznka, Arapkir and Malatya. There are many versions of Tamzara, with slightly different music and steps, coming from the various regions and old villages.
Tamzara is a dance for man, with one or two women standing shoulder to shoulder, facing the same direction with their arms around each other’s waists.
Check Out Other Posts Related to Armenian Dances Date Back to Thousands of Years: Discover Armenian Dances, Songs & Music Videos
- Armenian Dance, Explore the traditional music & dancing together!
- 10 Facts about Armenian Culture & Tradition You May Not Know!
- Armenian Patriotic Songs | 10 Selected Armenian National Songs with Videos!