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Caucasian (lezgi people) national folk dance - Lezgi dance

Lezginka or Lezghinka (Russian Kuban and Terek Cossacks and the various ethnicities of Dagestan such as the Avars, Dargwa and Kumyks have their own versions. A dance of the Lezgian people of Daghestan and Azerbaijan.[1]

The name derives from the Lezghin people as they were probably the first Caucasian group the Russians saw dance this dance, but it misleads and Russians called all Caucasian dances as "Lezginka".

Lezginka can be a solo, couple or group dance. Men and women are dressed in traditional costumes; men wear a sword adorned on their side and women in long, flowing dresses. The man, imitating an eagle, dances in quick, concise steps; falling to his knees and leaping up quickly. The woman dances quietly, taking light, small steps—giving the appearance of her floating around the floor. When the dance is performed in pairs, the couples do not touch; the woman acknowledges the man, and dances discreetly about him.

Aram Khachaturian's 1942 ballet Gayaneh features a Lezghinka, as does Mikhael Ippolitov-Ivanov's Second Caucasian Suite ("Iveria"), op. 42. Ayna's rock version of the melody (Ceylan) made it to be known more in the Balkans and the Middle East.

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  • Types of dance 1
  • Video 2
  • Tutorial 3
  • References 4

Types of dance

There are two types of Lezginka as a whole, the types might variate from one people to an other. Some types of dances originates from one nationality while a different one might originate from an other, but yet both dance it (This is a frequent thing with Caucasian dances).

The "Lezginka" fast dance is the only dance common to all people of the Caucasus, but each nationality dances it differently.

The two types are: Mountain dance or Highlander dance and Lyrical dance

Mountain dance originates from people of the Caucasus originally from mountain parts, every nationality has their own little variation. There are a very few variations of this type of dance. It is probably the hardest and one of the most beautiful dances of all. It is a dance where you change positions, literally, in less than one second, one often breaks down to sit on the knees and the jumps back up to a different position and then changes again.
In North Caucasus this is a pure mans dance. But in Georgia women have a version of this dance which is not at all alike what the men do, but they dance in pairs.

Lyrical dance can be dealt into 2, Eastern Dance and Western Dance.

Eastern dance is rather traditional and also originates from Vainakhs.
The dance progresses with a pair of a man and a woman represent Sun's route in pursuance of Moon. The man holds his arms spread in a cruciform position to symbolize the rising and setting sun. His bent arm with the hand pressed to his chest, the other arm outstretched to the side designates The Sun in its movement. When he tiptoes with arms lifted above his head, the man personifies the sun in the zenith. He embraces his partner's waist without touching her to depict lunar eclipse.
Violations of the dancing etiquette brought not only moral consequences. The man could not touch the woman while dancing, even when she was his close relative. Both kept upright. The man started the dance, and the woman finished it. In pair dances, the man could not leave the site the first lest he be accused of disrespect of his partner. Women's dancing was ornate with gestures of the arms and shoulders, while men's dance required the utmost subduing of the expressive force. The male dancer expressed his feelings only once, when the dance reached its peak in the middle—the instant which Chechens termed "Bokh' BogIar". That is when he would get of his toes and does different moves.
There is a visible difference between the Vainakh and Dagestani in this dance and that is a set of moves the Dagestani often do, while Vainkahs don't do as often.

Western dance originates from Circassians and is known as Qafa, and the fast dance as Lhaparise\Shishen\Qajeh Traditionally the dance progresses relatively the same as Eastern dance, but with the huge exception that one does not break down from your toes, this is as a sign of modesty and respect and that your love is always as strong and everlasting and that there is no point where you will love more. It is also far slower. Though today the dance traditional dance is not so common and it is rather normal to dance the Northern-Eastern dance just with a few of their own sets of positions and moves. The Ossetian "Simd" is a truly the "Qafa" just named differently.


  • Avar sample — folk dance Khurdi (Avars in Balakan Rayon of Azerbaijan).
  • Azerbaijani sample - folk dance Qaytağı by state dance ensemble of Azerbaijan.
    • Iranian Azerbaijani sample - folk dance Azeri version by ensemble “Tabriz Dance Group“ of Iran. (performance in Toronto, Canada)
  • Chechen sample — folk dance Khalkhar by ensemble “Vaynakh” (Chechnya).
  • Kumyk sample — folk dance Biyiv by ensemble “Lezghinka” (Dagestan).
  • Lezgi sample — folk dance Lezginka by ensemble “Suvar” (Azerbaijan).
  • Ossetian sample — folk dance Simd by ensemble “Alania” and “Goretz” (North Ossetia).
  • Kabardian sample — folk dance Islamey by “The Narts Dance Ensemble” (Kabardino-Balkaria).
  • Adyghe sample — folk dance Qafa by ensemble “The Narts Dance Ensemble” (Adygea).
  • Georgian sample — folk dance Lekuri by ensemble “Sukhishvili-Ramishvili” (Georgia).
  • Turkish sample — folk dance Şeyh Şamil by state dance ensemble of Turkey.
  • Mountain Jewish sample - Juhuro Festival of the Jews of the Caucasus


  • How-to dance the Lezginka


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