The Armenian dance (Armenian: Հայկական պար) heritage has been considered one of the oldest and most varied in its respective region. From the fifth to the third millennia B.C., in the higher regions of Armenia, the land of Ararat, there are rock paintings of scenes of country dancing. These dances were probably accompanied by certain kinds of songs or musical instruments. In the fifth century Moses of Khoren (Movsés Khorenats'i) himself had heard of how the old descendants of Aram (that is Armenians) make mention of these things (epic tales) in the ballads for the lyre and their songs and dances.
Traditional dancing is still popular among expatriate Armenians, and has also been very successfully `exported' to international folk dance groups and circle dance groups all over the world. All dancers wear the traditional costume to embody the history of their culture and tell their ancestors stories. The design of these costumes are influenced by many factors, such as religious traditions, family methods, and practicality. The traditional coloring and exquisite beading of the costumes ties the dance and the tradition together. The beautiful movements of the Armenian cultural dance are adored by all audience around the world.
The origin of religious dancing is ancient, an expression of the inner feelings of those who participated in such performances. It is of interest to note that dance never occurred alone, but was always accompanied with song, clapping of hands, and musical instruments. As with music, so too the dance expressed a person’s internal spiritual emotions and personal disposition. By its very movements dance is able to bring out and make known a person’s grief and joy.
Traditional Armenian Dance
Traditional Armenian Dance
- Kochari (Քոչարի) - Kochari is one of the most popular dances of Armenians. Kochari is danced in a group of men and women and is known for its tune played on the zurna.
- Shalakho (Շալախօ) - A dance for men from Ancient Armenia. It is performed in dance studios by men, but danced at public gatherings by women as well.
- Tamzara (Թամզարա)
- Yarkhushta (Յարխուշտա) - Yarkhushta is a martial dance from the Taron and Aghdznik regions of Western Armenia.
- Berd (Բերդապար) - Berd is a dance famous for having a circle of men stand on the shoulders of another circle and rotate. Berd means "fortress" in Armenian and is named accordingly because of the shape the dancers make.
- Shirkhani (Շիրխանի)
- Harsnapar (Հարսնապար) - Harsnapar comes from the Armenian hars which means bride, and par which translates to dance. The bride is shown dancing a solo and may possibly feature the bridesmaids.
- Gorani (Գորանի)
- Gyond (Գյոնդ or Գյովնդ)
- Menapar (Մենապար) - Menapar translates to "solo." It may feature a man or woman. Normally, if a man is the one dancing, the music will be fast-paced and in the case of a woman, a slower, more elegant music will play.
- Nazpar (Նազպար)
- Shurjpar (Շուրջպար)
- Souserapar (Սուսերապար)
- Papuri (Փափուռի)
- Zuykpar (Զույգապար) - Zuykpar is a duet done by a man and woman. It features a liveliness to it and normally includes both dancers doing symmetrical movements.
- Ververi (Վերվերի)
- Msho Khr (Մշոյ խըռ) - Originated in the region of Մուշ (Moush).
- Lorke (Լորկէ)
- Tsakhkadzori (Ծաղկաձորի)
- Karno kochari (Կարնոյ քոչարի) - Very similar to Kochari, originated in region of Կարին (Karin).
- Ishkhanats par (Իշխանաց պար) - Also known as the "Lords' dance".
- Fndzhan (Ֆնջան)
- Kertsi (Քերծի)
- Kajats khagh (Քաջաց խաղ)
- Tamour agha (Թամուր աղա)
- Trtghouk (Թրթռուկ)
- Srabar (Սրաբար)
- Asdvadzatsna (Աստուածածնայ պար)
- Tars par (Թարս պար)
- Loutki (Լուտկի)
- Yerek votk (Երեք ոտք)
- Tchotchk (Ճոճք)
- Khnamineri par (Խնամիների պար)
- Khosh bilazig (Խոշ բիլազիգ)
- Arabkir (Արաբկիրի Պար) - A dance from the Armenian city of Arabkir.
- Kesabian (Քեսապական) - The Kesabian dance came from the city of Kesab, Syria.
- Laz bar - originated among the fishermen of the Black Sea
- Moosh (or Muş, or Mus, Մշո Պար) - is a mixed dance from the district of Moush/Taron, west of Lake Van.
- Sasnapar (Սասնապար) - Sasnapar is a more popular dance common at weddings and other cultural gatherings. It originated in the city of Sasun.
- Vagharshapatian (Վաղարշապատյան)- The Vagharshapatian originated in Vagharshapat now known as Ejmiatsin.
- Zeytouni (Զեյթունի պար) - Zeytouni originated in Zeytun.
- Varaka Lerneri Bar
- Clips of authentic Kavaragan Armenian Folk Dances from Historical Armenia: Tamzara, Popouri, Laz Bar, Arapkir Bar, Akheltskha Vart, Govduntsi, Bijou, Kessab Bar, Haleh, Shushan, Suleimanli,Shavali. (Archived 2009-10-25)