International Dance Festival “Raqs sehri” was held in fabulous UNESCO heritage city Khiva from 15 to 17 July 2016. The whole city was involved into festival, and whirled in dance, spilled with colours on the streets of ancient city and filled it with pure Uzbek beauty. It was the debut of the festival, which was held at the highest level and did not leave anyone behind.
Festival “Raqs sehri” began with the opening of the photo exhibition, where rare photographs of Uzbek dance titans were presented. The exhibition was held at the local hotel and was open to the public throughout all festival days. The photos of the exhibition were collected in one time line by two soloists of the legendary dance ensemble “Bahor”.
It was created to visually tell the story of the Uzbek dance, so that the pioneers of this school were not forgotten and have been honoured by their contemporaries. History of well-known dancers was presented there, those who stayed at the root of folk Uzbek dance including Tamarakhonim, Olim Komilov, Mukarram Turgunbayeva and Sakhar Akilov.
Looking at the art of dance through photographs opens the soul of the creators of this fantastic world. Incredibly complex steps, weave hands, folk costumes, special stances and in-depth look – all of this can be observed in Uzbek dance. These women have given their lives to dance and now they share experience with young generation and public as whole.
“Where diplomacy can not handle, dance can help. Our dancers, performing in front of huge audiences abroad, tell about our culture more than any words “ –said ensemble Bahor soloist Kari-Yakubova Elena Anatolyevna.
In the evening on July 15 in the main square of the city of Khiva the grand opening of the festival took place. Dance groups from 12 regions of Uzbekistan have come together to share experiences and show their skills.
Khiva streets turned into a giant stage on which carriers of dance culture performed. It is difficult to convey in words, what joy and excitement were in the eyes of the dancers. It should be noted that in this whirlwind of dance whirled even Khiva guests, who were able to catch the rhythm of Uzbek music and join the dance.
Ensembles from Bukhara, Namangan, Karakalpakstan, Samarkand and Khiva were presented at the festival opening. Among the dancers representing Khorezm, were two giant dolls that with a friendly and welcoming smile, looked at the guests of the festival. The event was open to the public and tourists, who managed to visit the festival and happily sharing their emotions, noting mastery and beauty of the Uzbek dance.
In addition to dancing, the city was filled with various presentations that were given directly on the streets of Khiva. Right in front of proud Kalta Minar the puppeteers gave their performance. The puppet art is traditional for Khiva and the best representatives of this trend showed their skill in all its glory. Dance of Puppets was no less expressive and exciting for the audience than the real one.
In the back yard of the Museum of Applied Art, located in a mausoleum Kazi Kalyan rope path were constructed. Darboz (tightrope walkers) with a certain elegance and courage overcome narrow lane rope in front of stunned onlookers. This view made breathless even the most daring observers.
As part of the festival “Raqs sehri” a fashion show of young and talented designers Atabayeva Shoira and Akhmedova Nazokat was held in Restaurant on July 16. Sophisticated oriental fabrics in vision of young talents have acquired a brand new, modern look. The collections presented in Khiva on the dance festival are the course works for The National Institute of Arts and Design named after K. Behzod, where the designers study on the 4 year.
The predominance of yellow and brown colors in their unusual combination sets the tone for the entire collection. A special feature of the collection is the natural fabrics and the complexity of its decoration, which was done manually. Among fashion show audience was Hannelore Bendsen, author of the book “Khorezm – a bit out of the ordinary”:
“I loved this collection, dresses look luxurious and modern. As well as I should note the beauty of the girls participated in show as models»
In the evening on July 16 master class of Uzbek dance was held on the main square of Khiva city. On the background of grandiose buildings, well-known dance teachers gave their lesson to huge audience. As part of the master class basic elements of Lazgi dance, inherent to Khorezm dance school, Bukhara dance, Fergana dance were shown. Collectives from different areas gladly tried themselves in an unfamiliar dance technique. The bravest guests of the festival just could not resist and took an active part in the study of Uzbek folk dance.
The next day, streets of Khiva from the early morning were filled with dance groups. There were sounding folk music, shining paints of Uzbek patterns on national costumes, shining smiles and eyes. In the shadow of the walls of the Ichan Kala were stretched carpets and dancers started their performances. With all the dedication they have demonstrated their skill and involved in the dance spectators.
July 17 was a formal dinner with festival organisers, they expressed their gratitude to all participants of the festival in person. Festival administration noted the importance of such events for the culture of the country and the preservation of national heritage immutable values.
In the evening Khiva again filled with folk music and closing ceremony passed on the setting sun light. Dance troupes met again in the town square and showed the highest level of Uzbek dance. It was their last meeting on this year festival, the closing ceremony followed by a farewell which was the same as all these three days – fabulous and loud.
Folk costumes, dances and architecture of the city-museum Khiva for three days completely changed the course of time and created a fairy tale. Festival “Raqs Sehri” showed how high the culture of Uzbek dance is, how spiritual and artistic folk dancers are and how centuries-old traditions can bring together hearts and make them beat together to the rhythm of dance, the rhythm of life.