A large number of ethnic groups are formed in the Middle East. Many different ancient cultures formed the Kurdish ethnicity through which derived the Kurdish culture. It was in the Medieval era when people from different origins and tribes came together to form the Kurd group. Since then, the Kurdish culture extended to such an extent that it came to be known as the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East after the Arabs, Turks and Persians. To understand this group, one can have a look at the Kurdish Dance. It is a complete reflection of the past history of the Kurdish people. Kurdish dance have rooted themselves through the religious beliefs of the people, national festivals and celebrations, local games of war and defence and spiritual and inner feelings and moods. Kurdish Dance is a traditional hand–holding dance performed in a circle with a single or a couple of figure dancers.

How did the Kurdish dance originate?

Over the past thousands of years, the Kurdish dance has reflected rhythmic and elegant movements called Halparke. In Kurd’s culture, it simply means knowing about the needs of the deep and valid slight of the viewers who watch the dancers’ sing and express their gratitude in Hoshar, which is fighting against the cruelty in Zangi. In Garyan, it means joy and happiness. The dancers dancing hand–in–hand reveal their unity in history. However, most of the rhythms have been forgotten through the passage of time. A majority of the people mainly perform the Halparke which is easier and simplest of all. 

How is it performed?

The dance is led by ‘Serchopi’ who falls or comes to the head of the circle. He holds a colourful or symbolic object in his/her right hand. The dance group is led by him/her and it is a general tradition that no one should take his/her place till she/he completes at least one circle. The rest of the performing dancers are called Gawani who are also primarily called as the last dancer of the circle. The dance is so unique that one can find a 3–year–old and an 83–year–old in the same line at a performance. 

What are its variations?

Variations of the Kurdish dance include:

  • Dilan: In this variation, men and women alternatively hold hands along with colourful handkerchiefs called ‘desroke’ and move around the circle with leading and trailing persons. The leading dancer begins customary steps and motions displaying more energy.
  • Sepe: It is a motion towards the centre of the circle and hitting the foot to the ground.
  • Chapi: Derived from the word ‘chep’ or ‘chap’ meaning ‘left’, it is one of the simple variations of the Kurdish dance. It basically involves stepping forward on the left foot twice and stepping back on the right foot while moving in a circle.
Are there any gender roles associated to Kurdish dance?

Despite the fact that the Kurdish dance is a traditional dance of the Middle East, it is performed by both men and women. A circle is formed and Kurdish dancers sing and dance in all festivals, birthdays, New Years, Newroz, marriages and ceremonies. One peculiar characteristic of the Kurdish dance is that it is a mixed–gender dance which is a noteworthy feature, unlike the other neighbouring Muslim populations.

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