Armenian danceThursday, February 24, 2022
The Armenian dance heritage has been considered the oldest and most varied in its respective region.
From the fifth to the third millennia B.C., in the higher regions of Armenia, the land of Ararat, there are rock paintings of scenes of country dancing. These dances were probably accompanied by certain kinds of songs or musical instruments. In the fifth century Moses of Khoren (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.
Traditional dancing is still popular among expatriate Armenians, and has also been very successfully exported to international folk dance groups and circle dance groups all over the world. All dancers wear the traditional costume to embody the history of their culture and tell their ancestors stories. The design of these costumes are influenced by many factors, such as religious traditions, family methods, and practicality. The traditional coloring and exquisite beading of the costumes ties the dance and the tradition together. The beautiful movements of the Armenian cultural dance are adored by all audience around the world.
The origin of religious dancing is ancient, an expression of the inner feelings of those who participated in such performances. It is of interest to note that dance never occurred alone, but was always accompanied with song, clapping of hands, and musical instruments. As with music, so too the dance expressed a person’s internal spiritual emotions and personal disposition.
During the 1920s and 30s, three Armenian dance teachers moved to Iran from the Soviet Union and opened dance schools. Their names were Madame Yelena, Madame Coronelli, and Sarkis Djanbazian. They taught ballet and character dance. Most of their students were members of the Armenian community in Tehran, but their classes were also attended by students from diverse backgrounds including Muslims, Jews, Baha'is and Zoroastrians.