Dancing Across Uzbekistan: An Interview with Expert Helene Eriksen (video)
Every few years, internationally respected dance ethnologist Helene Eriksen leads a group of enthusiasts to a different region of the world to explore its traditional dances, costumes and music.
A teacher, dancer and choreographer of women’s traditional dances of the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, Helene has teamed up with MIR for her 2020 trip, Dance Tour Through Uzbekistan –March 17-29, 2020.
On this tour, participants will:
- Attend a presentation of traditional Uzbek silk clothing.
- Visit a small private museum to hear typical Central Asian instruments.
- Learn to make Uzbekistan’s signature dish, plov, in a family home.
- Learn Central Asian dances from a renowned Uzbek dancer and teacher at private master classes in Bukhara, culminating in a public performance, a centerpiece of the program.
Helene has studied, lectured, performed and directed in Europe and the U.S., and currently directs her Seattle project, Helene Eriksen’s Traditional Dance Theater, and her dance troupe, ANAR DANA.
Intrigued by the itinerary of this one-of-a-kind tour, we sent these questions to her to learn more.
- How and when did you first become interested in ethnic traditional dance?
“When I was 15. I studied Dance Ethnology at UCLA and danced in the AVAZ International Dance Theatre. I first fell in love with Central Asian dance in about 1977. My love for Uzbek dance in particular has fueled my career for all these years.”
- Why did you choose Uzbekistan as your tour destination?
“Since I first fell in love with Uzbek dance, I have wanted to go. I’ve done field research in many countries, I speak Turkish and Russian (among other languages) and studied the Uzbek language for 2 years at the University (without speaking it…), as well as Central Asian dance for decades, but this will be my first opportunity to go there.”
- What sets this region’s costumes and dances apart from other regions’?
“Central Asian dance is both lyrical and expressive with beautiful hand gestures and dramatic turns. The costumes of Khan Atlas (ikat silks), velvets, gold embroideries and exquisite jewels are a feast for the senses.”
- You seem to love the costumes as much as the dances themselves. Can you talk about that a little?
“I’ve always been fascinated with traditional dress, as well as the interrelationship between movement and dress. I’ve collected traditional costumes from many countries for decades, and also curated a museum exhibition and wrote a book on traditional costumes of the Balkans.”
Want to Dance Your Way through Uzbekistan?
Join Helene on a journey to the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan, to luxuriate in the dances, costumes and music of the Central Asian desert region. This specialized journey, Dance Tour Through Uzbekistan, is handcrafted for people who are ready to learn the dance movements of the Silk Road and who love the arts and handicrafts of the people who call this region home. Benefit from the knowledge that your host has accumulated throughout 35+ years of researching, dancing and teaching the dances of Uzbekistan.
Our Tour Manager, Abdu Samadov, shared some stories from the trip on our blog. Here’s another one of the many exceptional moments from Helene’s 2016 Dance Tour Though Uzbekistan tour – a visit to a master dance class in Bukhara.
Contact MIR today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-424-7289.
Other Ways to Travel with MIR to Uzbekistan
MIR has 30 years of travel experience in Uzbekistan, and has an affiliate office there. We have a roster of contacts that can take you to places that you didn’t even know you wanted to go.
Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality and destination expertise has twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
Learn more about MIR tours that travel to Central Asia and to Uzbekistan, where you can experience Central Asian dance traditions for yourself. You can also book a custom private journey to Uzbekistan.
Top photo: Helene Eriksen performing in traditional dress
PUBLISHED: December 14, 2015