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There are a number of Georgian dances (Georgian: ქართული ცეკვა), these folk dances of the Georgian people have a number of purposes. Two of these folk dances, Perkhuli and Khorumi, are inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list.
Types of Georgian Dance
- Kartuli (ქართული) - The dance Kartuli many times reminds the audience of a wedding . Kartuli is a truly romantic dance. It is performed by a dance couple and incorporates the softness and gracefulness of a woman and dignity and love of a man. It shows that even in love, men uphold their respect and manners by not touching the woman and maintaining a certain distance from her. The man focuses his eyes on his partner as if she were the only woman in the whole world. He keeps his upper body motionless at all times. The woman keeps her eyes downcast at all times and glides on the rough floor as a swan on the smooth surface of a lake. The utmost skill, which is necessary to perform Kartuli, has earned the dance a reputation of one of the most difficult dances. There have been only a few great performers of Kartuli. Some of these are Nino Ramishvili, Iliko Sukhishvili, Iamze Dolaberidze and Pridon Sulaberidze.
- Khorumi (ხორუმი) – This war dance originated in the region of Achara, which is located in the southwestern region of Georgia. The dance was originally performed by only a few men. However, over time it has grown in scale. In today’s version of Khorumi, thirty or forty dancers can participate. Although the number of performers changed, the content of the dance is still the same. The dance brings to life the Georgian army of the past centuries. A few men who are searching the area for a campsite and enemy camps perform the initial "prelude" to the dance. Afterwards, they call the army onto the battlefield. Its strong, simple but distinctive movements and the exactness of lines create a sense of awe on stage. The dance incorporates the themes of search, war, and the celebration of victory as well as courage and glory of Georgian soldiers. Since Georgia has seen many wars throughout its history, Khorumi is a call from the past and reminds us that in order to have peace, we must have war.
- Acharuli (აჭარული) – Acharuli has also originated in the region of Achara. It is where the dance gets its name from. Acharuli is distinguished from other dances with its colorful costumes and the playful mood that simple but definite movements of both men and women create on stage. The dance is characterized with graceful, soft, and playful flirtation between the males and females. Unlike Kartuli, the relationship between men and women in this dance is more informal and lighthearted. Acharuli instills the sense of happiness in both the dancer and the audience.
- Partsa (ფარცა) – Partsa has its origins in Guria (another region in Georgia) and is characterized by its fast pace, rhythm, festive mood, and colorfulness. As a performer, I can say that during a partsa performance, a dancer feels like a bird in the sky, flying across the stage barely touching the floor. Partsa mesmerizes the audience with not only speed and gracefulness, but also with "live towers." This dance creates a mood and a desire to party.
- Kazbeguri (ყაზბეგური) – Kazbeguri takes us to the Northern Mountains of Georgia, which is marked by a diverse culture and traditions. The relatively cold and rough atmosphere of the mountains is shown through the vigor and the strictness of the movements. This dance is performed by only men and portrays the toughness and endurance of the mountain people.
- Khanjluri (ხანჯლური) – Historically, Georgians tend to strive for excellence. This trend is portrayed in our folk dances. Thus, many Georgian dances are based on the idea of competition. Khanjluri is one of those dances. In this dance, shepherds, dressed in red chokhas (traditional men’s wear) compete with each other in the usage of daggers and in performing complicated movements. One performer replaces another, and the courage and skill overflow on stage. Since Khanjluri involves daggers and knives, it requires tremendous skill and practice on the part of the performers.
- Khevsuruli (ხევსურული) – This mountain dance is probably the best representative of the Georgian spirit. It unites love, courage, and respect for women, toughness, competition, skill, beauty, and colorfulness into one amazing performance. The dance starts out with a flirting couple. Unexpectedly, another young man appears, also seeking the hand of the woman. A conflict breaks out and soon turns into a vigorous fighting between the two men and their supporters. The quarrel is stopped temporarily by the woman’s veil. Traditionally, when a woman throws her head veil between two men, all disagreements and fighting halts. However, as soon as the woman leaves the scene, the fighting continues even more vigorously. The young men from both sides attack each other with swords and shields. On some occasions, one man has to fight off three attackers. At the end, a woman (or women) comes in and stops the fighting with her veil once again. However, the finale of the dance is "open" –meaning that the audience does not know the outcome of the fighting. As a characteristic of Georgian dances, Khevsuruli is also very technical and requires intense practice and utmost skill in order to perform the dance without hurting anyone.
- Mtiuluri (მთიულური) – Mtiuluri is also a mountain dance. Similar to Khevsuruli, Mtiuluri is also based on competition. However, in this dance, the competition is mainly between two groups of young men. It is more like a celebration of skill and art. At first, groups compete in performing complicated movements. Then, we see the girl’s dance, which is followed by an individual dancer's performance of amazing "tricks" on their knees and toes. At the end, everyone dances a beautiful finale. This dance truly reminds us of a festival in the mountains.
- Simd and Khonga (Ossetian: симд, хонгæ) – They have much in common but are also significantly different from each other. The costumes in both dances are distinguished with long sleeves. In addition, the headwear of both the women and the men are exceptionally high. However, in Khonga or Invitation Dance (Ossetian Wedding Dance) men dance on point, which is particularly difficult but is a beautiful sight. Khonga is performed by a few dancers and is characterized by the grace and softness of the movements. On the other hand, Simd is danced by many couples. The beauty of Simd is in the strict graphic outline of the dance, the contrast between black and white costumes, the softness of movements, the strictness of line formations, and the harmony created by all of the above.
- Kintouri (კინტოური) (Armenian: Շալախո Shalakho)(Azerbaijani: Şələqoy, Shalakhou) – Kintouri is one of the city dances portraying the city life in old Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. The dance takes its name after "Kintos" who were small merchants in Tbilisi. They wore black outfits with baggy pants and usually carried their goods on their heads around the city. When a customer chose goods, a kinto would take the silk shawl hanging from his silver belt and wrap the fruits and vegetables in them to weigh. Kintos were known to be cunning, swift and informal. Such characteristics of Kinto are well shown in Kintouri. The dance is light natured and fun to watch.
- Samaia (სამაია) – The dance Samaia is performed by three women and, originally, was considered to be a dance of Pagan times. However, today’s Samaia is a representation of King Tamar and her glory. King Tamar in many sources is mentioned as a Queen of Georgia. However, she was considered to be the king of the United Kingdom of Georgia in 12th-13th centuries and was the first woman king in Georgia’s history. There are only four frescos that keep the much-revered image of King Tamar. Simon Virsaladze based the costumes of Samaia on the King’s clothing on those frescos. In addition, the trinity idea in the dance represents King Tamar as a young princess, a wise mother and the powerful king. All these three images are united in one harmonious picture. Moreover, the simple but soft and graceful movements create an atmosphere of beauty, glory and power that surrounded the King’s reign.
- Jeirani (ჯეირანი) – This dance is built on the hunting episode on a doe and is beautifully choreographed by Nino Ramishvili. The dance incorporates not only classical ballet movements but also paints a picture of a hunting scene. Everyone who saw Jeirani performed by Nino Ramishvili cannot forget the beautiful body movements, unique dance steps and the dancing spirit charged into the audience (The Georgian National Ballet).
- Karachokheli (ყარაჩოხელი) – Karachokheli was a city craftsman and generally wore black chokha (traditional men's wear). They were known for hard work and, at the same time, for a carefree life. His love for life, wine (which Georgia is famous for) and beautiful women is well represented in the dance Karachokheli.
- Davluri (დავლური) – Davluri is also a city dance, but unlike Kintouri and Karachokheli, it portrays the city aristocracy. The dance reminds us of Kartuli. However, the movements in Davluri are less complicated and the male/female relationship is less formal. The dance is performed by many couples and with the music and colorful costumes, paints a picture of an aristocratic feast on stage.
- Mkhedruli dance The word "Mkhedari" means cavalryman and the Mkhedruli is, therefore, a cavalryman's dance. The dance begins in a raging tempo, becoming more and more violent. The legs of the cavalryman imitate the fast movements of the horse, while their body and arm movements impersonate the battle with enemy.
- Parikaoba - A warrior dance from the far northeastern region of Khevsureti. A girl enters, looking for her beloved. He appears only to encounter others, precipitating an energetic battle with sword and shield. When the girl throws down her headdress, the men must stop according to tradition, only to renew their battle soon after.
- "არამატერიალური კულტურული მემკვიდრეობა" [Intangible Cultural Heritage] (PDF) (in Georgian). National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "UNESCO Culture for development indicators for Georgia (Analytical and Technical Report)" (PDF). EU-Eastern Partnership Culture & Creativity Programme. October 2017. pp. 82–88. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Georgian folk dances desrciptions". www.barynya.com. Retrieved 11 February 2017.