Ferghana: The valley of Ferghana is situated in the eastern part of
Uzbekistan. It was called the Khanate of Kokand in pre-Soviet days.
The classical dance of Ferghana is a lyrical dance with expansive, serpentine arm and hand
movements. The style is ornate, the dances performed to classical texts while soft and
tender expressions of the face, representing goodness and purity are prized. Arm movements
like those of classical Uzbek dance are also encountered in Iranian, Afghan and
Women enact TANOWAR and MUNAJAT sequences which are intensely spiritual and full of pathos
and longing. Munajat, which literally means a dialogue with god, is primarily a music form
but is also depicted in dance. The Tanowar is a dance performed by women to songs in
Eastern Uzbekistan, Northern Tajikistan and western Xinjiang.
Bukhara: The style of Bukhara, like the Tajik, has heavier steps
"danced into the ground" as it were. The movements show the clothes and
ornaments of the dancers to their best advantage. Dancers wear bells on their wrists. The
dances are joyful and sprightly in expression, and they include knee flexions.
Choresm: The joyful style of Khorazm, often danced with wrist bells, is
fast and widely liked. The style is linked to ancient shamanistic and fire worship
traditions. Dances like the "Lesgi" are ecstatic in expression. The
"spirit" enters the dancer who shimmies parts of the body as well as the hands
indicating the spirit's presence. It is said that the movements draw upon the wriggling of
fish or the wagging of bird's tails as well.
These days this form is often choreographed but the ability to improvise is the hallmark
of a good dancer.
Surkhandaria: Surkhandaria and Kashgadaria are regions in southern Uzbekistan.
Folk dances of these regions are joyful. Archaeological findings reveal a well developed
theatre and dance tradition as far back as the era of Alexander the Great. The costumes
are somewhat similar to those in southern Tajikistan but wide variations are seen in
colours and embroidery from town to town and village to village. Dances are often
performed with spoons and wooden sticks to the music of the Cheng (Jew's harp).
Tadjikistan: The Tajik style is somewhat similar to the Bukhara style. Before
being absorbed within the Soviet Union, Bukhara, with its adjoining regions and
Tajikistan, used to be part of the same Khanate. In the Kulyabian style of southern
Tajikistan, the dancers wear robes with long sleeves which in earlier days used to cover
the hands completely. The dances also came to be called "Oston Bozi" (dances of
the sleeves). In Pamir movements are slower and softer.
Uyghur: The Uyghur style is largely similar to the classical Ferghana
style. There are dances for a variety of social and festive occasions. In Kashgar, for
example, men dance the SAMA at HAIT, marking the end of RAMADAN. The dances are performed
in front of the EIDGAH mosque in Kashgar.
In the northern part of the territory, though dances are not performed to classical music,
women dance also to TANOWAR and MUNAJAT sequences (look at Ferghana).
In the south and east, the Dance of is performed often. In these regions, common folk even
dance to NAKHSHAS which people never do in the northern part, the Ili Valley. The Naksha
is performed in settings as diverse as parks, on buses and in soirees.
SANAM refers to both, a classical dance performed by women as well as a rhythm peculiar to
Uyghur dance. The dance has regional variations. Dances with cups balanced on the head are
famous and are danced to MUGHAM (classical music modes) passages. The Dolan people, men as
well as women, dance to MUGHAM music in a circle.
In TURFAN, the typical dance is the NASERGUM. This is a courtship dance performed by boys
and young men to win the favour of their lady-loves. At the end, they pick up a flower
from the ground.
In East Kumul, men and women dance as cock and hen respectively.
Persia: There are many kinds of Persian dance styles and folk dances
varying from region to region. The old court dances are characterized by graceful arm and
hand movements, and have more similarity with centralasian dances.
Village dances are very various from region to region.
Dances from Aserbaidjan and Caucasus:
Aserbaidjani and Caucasian women dances are famouse for the glorious aristocratic character.
Dances of Afghanistan: Afghanistan has a rich dance culture, the folk dances like Attan and other group dances in the circle, which are performed on wedding parties and other festivities. But also the professional Zang dances, dances with bells on the ancles of hand and feet, are very special. These dances are also famous for their difficult turns and stops in between.
And other eastern dances