MIR Moments: Dances, Dinners & Delights in Uzbekistan
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.
Since 2016, Helene has teamed up with MIR for an unconventional journey to the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan, to explore the dances, costumes and music of the Central Asian desert region. Each handcrafted custom trip is open to members of Helene’s dance troupe, ANAR DANA, as well as to MIR travelers with a passion for the arts and the expressive dance movements of the Silk Road.
Tour Manager Abdu Samadov shares some favorite highlights and surprise moments from the most recent trip.
Join the March 17-29, 2020 departure of this special tour with Helene Eriksen and ANAR DANA.
We went up to the balcony, where we had great views of the snow-peaked mountains around the city. We also shared a meaningful conversation with the imam in charge of maintaining the mosque. He invited us in and chatted about the architecture of the mosque and shared some of the history of Samarkand. Before we departed for Bukhara, he gave our group special blessings for a safe journey.
There were more than 300 guests at the party. As the party also coincided with Navruz, there were several special holiday dishes on offer such as halisa (slow-cooked meat and wheat porridge) and sumalak (a sweet dessert made from germinated wheat and flour), as well as a large variety of meat dishes, fruits and drinks.
As the guests arrived, they greeted Firuza’s son with gifts, money and well wishes. Once everyone gathered around the table, the local oksakol (the oldest and most experienced man in the community) began the ceremony, bestowing blessings to the young man and the host family.
Festivities continued with an amazing dance performance by Buxorcha, a local dance troupe. The ANAR DANA group members gave their special greetings and wished health, prosperity and happiness to the host. Helene also gave a special impromptu performance of Bukharan dance accompanied by a doira drummer.
Firuza’s mother and mentor were being honored, so as a gift, she organized the Sallabandon Tuy ceremonies for them. The two women were presented with a special white cloth, called a salla, that was wrapped around their heads as guests chanted Bukharan folk songs. They were also given traditional Bukharan dresses, peshonabands (headdresses) and veils. Relatives, neighbors, friends and colleagues brought presents and congratulated the two women.
We were later treated to a special performance, where the students at the center displayed five different Uzbek dance styles: Khorezmcha Lazgi, Bukharacha, Samarkand, Andijan and Tashkent. After watching the performances, we shared tea and sweets with our hosts, exchanging conversation and good wishes.
Travel to Uzbekistan with MIR
MIR has more than 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.”
Join our March 17-29, 2020 departure of this special tour with Helene Eriksen & ANAR DANA.
- Backstreets & Bazaars of Uzbekistan
- Once Forbidden Lands of Central Asia & Iran
- Journey Through Central Asia: The Five ‘Stans
- Silk Route Odyssey: Caravan Across Uzbekistan
- Chinese Turkestan & Central Asia
You can also book a custom private journey. MIR specializes in personalized, private journeys, and we love to take your ideas and weave them into a trip tailored especially for you. Travel wherever, however, and with whomever you like, relying on our expert assistance. Contact us to find out more about our custom and private travel expertise – each trip handcrafted to your interests, dates and pace.
Contact MIR today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-424-7289.
(Top photo: U.S. dance troupe ANAR DANA poses with Uzbek dancers after their performance in Bukhara. Photo credit: Abdu Samadov)
PUBLISHED: May 24, 2016