Sari Gelin – A Caucasian Folk Song

Für die deutsche Version, click hier.

My dearest cousin Laleh appeared on Turkish National Television performing to a Caucasian folk song and I am so unbelievably proud of her!

The song is about a presumably muslim man who falls in love to an unreachable Christian girl (sari stands for blond) and tells about his sadness.

Actually my cousin lives and works in Iran. All her life she has been a dancer and a teacher of traditional Caucasian dances but government restrictions hindered a real take off. In Iran it is not allowed for women to dance publicly if to dance at all. So professional dancers perform and teach on private bookings only, like on feasts and weddings. Iranians are crazy in that matter. They are addicted moving their body to music. This allows professional dancers a base for moderate success while due the unofficial status it stays a shady profession for women though every mother tries to get her daughter to get some lessons.

I mean this art form is highly enjoyed and valued in Iran but the performer is still not much appreciated in society!

Luckily the situation in geographically surrounding countries is the opposite and offers opportunities. The more the borders open people get invited to festivals to show off their traditional moves. And now in the fall of Laleh’s career she stands there and I am finally able to see her in TV.

In Iran we have a variety of traditional folk dances and the northern people do the Caucasian dances. Foreigners often mistake it for being Russian (it’s the kind where males dress up as Cossacks).

The men have combat like movements with lots of jumps and splits while the female ideal is to move elegant like a swan on her tippy toes. Sounds familiar? Yeah, you’re right. It’s kind of an archetypical form of ballet. There are also couple pieces where the male part tries playfully to woo the lady of his choice and it is so enjoyable to watch.

I hope you can enjoy the clip, too. Upload quality is not the best.

Still I like the idea of opposing oppression with dance. I think my cousin is really brave and she has taught so many girls this important aspect of our culture who then go out and teach others again. Women are bearers of traditions and we shouldn’t allow anybody to look down on that.


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