July 10, 2018 @ 3:24 PM
The Armenian picnic and festival season is upon us. My six week course (July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8, 15) will focus on dances popular at these events.
Kharbert Jurjena features shuffle steps in the unique 10/8 rhythm.
Vana Loorke has this region’s krnkatahp (hop step step) and looreh (rocking) movements.
Alashgert Kocharee, among a long list of Kocharee dances, evolved from the movement and even gait of the ghooch or aits. The horns also played a part. Armenians from Eastern Anatolia use the name Halai. The dance is performed shoulder to shoulder.
Bitlis Popoori (other regions have claims to Popoori with distinctive style differences). The title refers to the stamping in some variations and there are rhythm changes from 2/4 to 6/8.
Duren Tomzara (Erzerum region) has its unique 9/8 rhythm. The title is broken down to Tomzu ara. Over the decades I’ve danced over 20 variations including my father’s side (Alashgert before 1828) and mother’s side (Palu traced to before 1912). There are even variations for couples.
Khuhmkhuhmah from Vaspurakan brought by Van Armenians to Detroit, Michigan in the early 1900’s. The title evolved from Khimkhimeh, a Kurdish woman’s first name.
The above list of dances are traditional (in Armenian Avantakan). There are others going back to 1945 that I learned as a child in Fresno, CA. Over the years there are many dances that have been created plus choreographed dances for stage presentation.