The majority of non-Kurdish speakers are familiar with the Kurdish dance and some can even perform its basic movements. But why is this dance familiar and popular among Iranians?
Similar to instruments such as Daf and Tanbur, Kurdish Dance has a long historical background and early signs of the dance have appeared on excavated potteries. On the other hand, the Fahlaviyat rhythm (form of sung poetry in Persian dialects) in the Kurdistan region dates back to the pre-Islamic period. It is evident that rhythm and movement are inseparable in performing a dance. In the Kurdish dance, all dancers hold hands and the movements of the legs and shoulders are in perfect harmony.
An interesting feature of the Kurdish dance is the dance leader who is usually considered to be the best dancer of the group and thus determines the dance movements for others. The dance leader is locally referred to as Sar Choubi Kesh. In festivities and celebrations, men and women hold each other's hands and perform a dance of "wheat and barley”. In adding further excitement to the celebration, the leading dancers of the groups perform the handkerchief dance which is another demonstration of their mastery of the movements and the rhythm.
In performing the Kurdish dance, women are dressed in colourful clothing and glittering jewellery while men wear a formal and simple Kurdish dress. During performances such as the wheat and barley dance, the simplicity of men's clothing further enhances the glamour and visual appeal of women's dresses. Traces of the Sama dance can also be seen in the dance culture of Kurdistan.
Sara Feili, Graduate Student of Ethnomusicology
Fine Arts Campus, University of Tehran
12th May, 2021
Photo Source: Tourism of Persia Website