Abayi dance is a traditional folk dance of Azerbaijan performed mainly by ‘middle aged’ men and women. This South Caucasus region dance is said to have originated from the Shaki and Zaqatala region located in Azerbaijan. Traditionally though, this form of dancing was mainly performed by women.

A. History/origin of Abayi dance:

According to the cultural history of Azerbaijan, this dance style was created in the Shaki and Zaqatala regions within the country. Furthermore, it was developed initially basically for middle age women. However, gradually over the years middle age men have also performed this dance style.

B. Costumes used in the Abayi dance:

Traditional Azerbaijani costumes are used by the male and female performers respectively. They are as follows:

1. For men:

The attire worn includes a colourful long jacket, a trouser, and pair of shoes.

2. For women:

The attire worn includes a colourful dress that includes a skirt, a colourful overcoat, and an elaborate headgear.

C. Music involved in the Abayi dance:

Traditional Azerbaijani musical instruments such as tar i.e. a skin faced lute, a kamancha i.e. a skin faced spike fiddle, the saz i.e. a long lute, tutek i.e. whistle flute, daf i.e. frame drum etc are used in this dance style.

D. Training availability and technique involved in the Abayi dance:

In terms of technique, the performers in this dance style make use of “exaggerated” feet movements. Furthermore, this dance is usually performed to a slow tempo. As for training centers/schools, there are none available since this “traditional” dance is mainly performed in Azerbaijan.

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