Dancing in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (VIDEO)

Dancing in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan (VIDEO)

Turkmen people love to dance. As a scattering of nomadic tribes, they reserved dancing for gatherings and special occasions. Today, everyone from young children to the elderly will find any excuse to flaunt their best moves at festivals, weddings, holidays, and national performances. It’s not just a fun outlet, it’s a way to express pride for their country and cultural traditions.

A playful scene between the dancers <br> Photo Credit: Michel Behar

A playful scene among the dancers
Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Turkmen TraditionalTurkmen folk dances are characterized by dizzying turns, chanting, incredible acrobatics and flowing movements. Women and men often dance together, though rarely touch, in highly choreographed performances.

The brilliant costumes dancers wear today are modeled on traditional dress worn centuries ago. Men don riding boots and fur caps, as horsemen did in the past, and women wear vibrant embroidered dresses and caps. Some may wear pointed hats that resemble traditional Turkmen helmets.


Watch a Dance Performance

This video, taken by MIR Tour Specialist Marina Karptsova on a recent trip to Ashgabat, shows some of the most famous Turkmen dances.

OneThe first clip in the video shows three women performing a chapak, a slow dance with graceful movements inspired by nature. Here, their waving hands and clapping motions are meant to symbolize the flittering of birds during springtime.

Two female dancers performing a chapak <br> Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Two female dancers performing a chapak
Photo Credit: Michel Behar

TwoThe second dance, performed at a faster pace, features both men and women in a circular formation. This dance, known as the kushtdepdi, has its roots in the ancient Turkmen ritual of dancing around the fire, and is often performed during Navruz, the festival celebrated all over Central Asia to welcome the arrival of spring.

The wild, dizzying turns of the kushtdepdi <br> Photo Credit: Michel Behar

The wild, dizzying turns of the kushtdepdi
Photo Credit: Michel Behar

ThreeThe final act in the clip features only the men. This is their chance to show off their most impressive moves. Each male has a chance to perform his best set while the others clap and cheer each other on in the background, all in good fun.

Male dancers show off their best moves <br> Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Male dancers show off their best moves
Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Go: Travel to Turkmenistan with MIR

MIR has nearly 30 years of travel experience in Central Asia and has an affiliate office in Uzbekistan. 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 have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

MIR has unparalleled destination expertise in creating immersive cultural experiences in our destinations, including lesser-traveled Turkmenistan.

You can see a traditional Turkmen dance performance on MIR’s popular small group tour, Journey Through Central Asia: The Five ‘Stans. You can also book a custom private journey or a tour extension to Turkmenistan based on your interests and schedule.

Take a bow! <br> Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Take a bow!
Photo Credit: Michel Behar

Top Photo: Dancing the days away in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Photo Credit: Michel Behar

PUBLISHED: March 31, 2016

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