Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Azeri Dance Experience: Georgian Treasure and The Azerbaijan Ballet

The origins of dance go very far back for the people of Azerbaijan. We got a healthy dose of dance during our first weekend in Baku. Friday we saw a performance of Georgian dancers, and then Saturday we visited the ancient Gobostan caves that had depictions of people dancing. That night we also saw a wonderful performance at the Azerbaijan Ballet Theater.

The Georgian dancers gave a good glimpse of the dance culture in the Caucuses. We were very entertained at the women gliding about the stage and the men leaping and bounding. I learned about another culture of dance that has a different technique, presentation, and abilities. I was also interested to learn that this dance style heavily focuses on the male dancers. It seemed like the men dancing were having more fun than the audience.

Our trip to the ballet was surprising. It was a modern ballet performance of a classic piece accompanied by a live orchestra, which is what I was not expecting. The performers wore soft ballet shoes (not Pointe shoes), which is unusual for a professional company in the US. These performances would be more cutting edge in the US and would be mainly presented with modern music and mainly attended by other dancers. The choreography was modern in the style and the dancers used props like chairs. There was a live classic orchestra playing. The acts of the show were quite short, but it was enlightening to see modern Azeri take on classic Bolero ballet. No matter what style of dance they are doing, the Azeri people love dancing. Dance is a force of nature here that one has to experience.

*Click here to see the Georgian national dance.


  1. This is great! How many students are participating in the program?

  2. This is our first year and we have three students participating. We anticipate enrollment will continue to rise as more American university students find out about the program.

  3. Great to hear about the culture. So many people would assume that Baku was just another 3rd world city.