Lezginka versus Dervish dance

A lousy all-inclusive holiday may surprise you with an interesting performance.

This New Year’s Eve and some attempts at dancing brought the memory of the Black See region dance performance.

It was actually a little unexpected as being in Turkey you watch a traditional dance which in fact is pertinent to Dagestan, Azerbaijan, Georgia – in general to the countires of the Caucasus region.

The dancer’s figure is always straight, the head is turned upwards, his arms in an open position.

It is the man’s performance. He is strong and brave. His tightened fists represent his readiness to protect the woman.

The woman is delicate. She moves with small, gentle steps, as if she was floating. She acknowledges the man.

It resembles a courting ceremony.

But… in some aspects Lezginka is similar to the Dervish dance, although with a different purpose, message and intensity.

The open arm movements which are shared by the dancers of the two “styles” , in Sema the whirling dervish keeps his open arms in position. His right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth.*

In Lezginka, 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.**

Not knowing this, I saw this as a representation of man’s pride, strength and bravery but goodness at heart.

The revolving is shared by the two dances. For dervishes it symbolizes embracing the whole humanity with God’s love. After all All loves are a bridge to Divine love (Rumi).

In Lezginka, revolving resembles a fight and is often accompanied by throwing the knives or actual fight with swords and shields.

There’s plenty to watch on You Tube, there are even tutorials.

Some of my favourites are this and this.


* http://www.turkeytravelblog.com/istanbul-whirling-dervishes/

** wikipedia

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