Meanings behind famous Georgian dances

Georgian dance (Georgian: ქართული ცეკვა) is a celebration of life and of Georgia’s rich and diverse culture. Each dance portrays the characteristics of the region in which it originated. The mountain dances, such as Khevsuruli or Mtiuluri, are different from valley or lowland dances — e.g. Acharuli and Davluri. The costumes are different for every dance and resemble the clothing of the past in different regions of Georgia. The dances perfectly capture the natural gracefulness and beauty of Georgian women and the courage, honor and respectfulness of Georgian men. The male dancers perform spectacular leaps and turns, incredible spins  and can also boast a highly original technique for, unlike any other dancers in the world, they dance on their toes without the aid of “block” shoes. The female dancers “glide” like swans.

Georgian dance owes a huge debt of gratitude to Iliko Sukhishvili and his wife Nino Ramishvili, founders of the Georgian National Ballet. It is due to their efforts that Georgian national dancing and music has become known in many parts of the world.

In today’s blog I would like to introduce you to some of the most important Georgian dances and its meanings.

Georgian National Dances: Kartuli

Georgian dance kartuli is one of the most famous in the country. This gentle romantic graceful dance is performed by two partners – a male and a female. Kartuli is a wedding dance which originally was not created for the stage. But despite that it is performed in accordance with clear rules sequence: a man invites a woman, a dance together, solo male dance, solo woman dance, a dance together. During the dance, the partners show the incredibly beautiful relationship between a man and a woman. The man throughout the dance keeps himself at a certain distance from his partner, showing her respect and recognition. While he looks only at his partner showing that she is the only woman in the world, the girl, in turn, looks only down. At first glance, kartuli may seem rather easy to implement, however, in practice that is not the case. It requires great effort and skills, that’s why kartuli is considered one of the most difficult.

Georgian National Dances: Khorumi

Khorumi is another no less famous dance. This war dance is impregnated with courage and bravery of Georgian soldiers. Initially, it was performed by a small number of men, but in the modern interpretation usually take part in 30-40 or more dancers. The dance begins with a prelude in which several men take the stage and look for a place to break a military camp, then they call their other “colleagues” on the stage. After tracking down the enemy and some military actions, the “warriors” celebrate their victory. Khorumi is a dance that expresses the courage, bravery, and love for the motherland. Some dance movements have passed from generation to generation, from father to sons, and came to us from ancient times.

Georgian National Dances: Samaia

The dance Samaia is performed by three women representing King Tamar, the first woman king in Georgia’s history. Samaia is a dance characterized by graciousness, kindness, and feminine beauty. The dance is accompanied by a song. Traditionally, the dance was performed by men and women, but over time it changed, and what you see today’s ensembles performing features only three women. The dancers move harmoniously – their movements are well synchronized as if only one person is dancing.

Georgian National Dances: Adjaruli

Adjaruli also originated in Adjara, which is where it gets its name. Adjaruli 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. Adjaruli dance is one of the favorite dances to perform at gatherings of friends, weddings and other celebrations.

  • Tamuna Bichiashvili

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