History of Kochari Dance
History of Kochari Dance History of Kochari Dance

Kochari (Armenian: Azerbaijani: Greek: Kotsari, Kurdish: Koceri; Turkish: Kocari), is a Armenian and Azerbaijani folk dance, danced today by Armenians, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Pontic Greeks and Turks.

Kochari is a type of dance, not a concrete single dance.

Each region in the Armenian Highlands had its own Kochari, with its unique way of both dancing and music.

"Haleh" or "Yalli", a dance common to Azerbaijanis, Assyrians, and Kurds has different forms known as Kochari.

"Govand" is also part of this family of dances.

In Armenian, Kochari literally means "knee-come". Koch means "knee" and ari means "come".

In Pontic Greek, the 'kotsi' refers to the heel of the foot and the Greeks consider the heel to be the main part of the foot which the dancer uses. The Pontic Greek term for limp is 'kotso' and the Pontic Greek kochari is considered to contain a number of limps.

In Kurdish, the word for nomads is Kocer, thus the name Koceri makes it "Nomadian" (Nomadian dance).

Koceri, Koc, and Kocer are Turkic words. Camo orm koc- "to migration".

John Blacking describes Kochari as follows:
"Group dancing, when dancers imitate jumping goats, is known as kochari. Dancers stand abreast, holding each other's hands, The tempo of the dance ranges from moderate to fast. Squatting and butting an imagined opponent are followed by high jumps."

Armenians have been dancing Kochari for over a thousand years. The dance is danced to a 2/4 rhythm. Dancers form a closed circle, putting their hands on each other's shoulders. This may symbolize the alienation that this minority community felt at the time of the dance's birth.

The dance is danced by both men and women and is intended to be intimidating.

More modern forms of Kochari have added a "tremolo step," which involves shaking the whole body.

It spread to the eastern part of Armenia after Armenians were driven out of Anatolia because of the genocide caused by Turkey. This movement is appropriate for its name, which in various Turkish languages signifies "nomad"

It is one of the widely spread dances known as Yalli (Halay) in Azerbaijan, especially in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and surrounding areas. This dancing is included to the dancings of the Azerbaijani people. The "Kochari" dancing, consisting of slow and rapid parts, is of three variants. In the men or women lining up one after another or one woman after one man position, a yallihead (holder) holds a stick in his / her hand. This stick isn't to punish the dancers but factually it has a dancing importance.

Today this dancing is played in the ancient Nakhchivan land of which Sharur, Sadarak, Kangarli, Julfa and Shahbuz regions' folklore collectives and it gives a stimule to the weddings.

Kurdish Koceri
Koceri is a special form of the "Delilo" or "Sêxani" kurdish dance, and as the name says, it is very common and more frequently danced by the Kurdish nomads. Koceri simply means "nomadian" in Kurdish, where "Kocer" means nomad, thus the term is used by Kurds for the dance that nomads dance. Among Kurdish nomads however, this is a specialty, not the only dance they know of.

Pontic Greek Kotsari
The Pontic Greeks and Armenians have many vigorous warlike dances such as the Kochari.

Unlike most Pontic dances, the Kotsari is in an even rhythm (2/4), originally danced in a closed circle.

The dance is very popular today; however, it is often danced differently from the original. There is a consistent, vicious double bounce, also referred to as tremoulo. It is danced hand to shoulder and travels to the right. There are few variations which may be added to the step. It's a dance that tries to scare the viewers. At the start, it is danced by both men and women. Then, men go in front and do their figures.

Elia, Anthony J. (2013). "Kochari (Old Armenian Folk Tune) for Solo Piano". Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
Vvedensky, Boris, ed. (1953). Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in Russian) 23 (Second ed.). Moscow: Soviet Encyclopedia. p. 170.
Yuzefovich, Victor (1985). Aram Khachaturyan. New York: Sphinx Press. p. 217. ISBN 9780823686582. "..and in the sixth scene one of the dances of the gladiators is very reminiscent of Kochari, the Armenian folk dance."
Gottlieb, Robert (26 July 1998). "Astaire to Zopy-Zopy". New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
BetBasoo, Peter Pnuel (30 April 2003). "Thirty Assyrian Folk Dances". Assyrian International News Agency. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
"Kotsari". Retrieved 6 November 2013.
Hambardzumyan, Viktor, ed. (1978). Soviet Armenian Encyclopedia Volume 4 (in Armenian). Yerevan: Armenian Encyclopedia Publishing. p. 476.
"Kocer" (in Swedish). Swedish Language Council. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
Blacking, John (1979). The Performing Arts: Music and Dance. p. 71.
"The National Dancings". Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
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