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Lyazgi dance – the soul of the Khorezm folklore


One day after the evening reception, the governor of Khorezm gathered his concubine wives to dance for him. Among the wives, he singled out one who had a natural grace, the ability to charm the dance. The other wives did not want to remain in the shadow of beauty. One of the contestants threw beads and candy at her feet during the dance. Shah’s beloved wife slipped, fell, and broke her leg. In order not to upset her lover, she danced without unbending her fingers. The Shah was very pleased, mistaking the girl’s strange movements for a new dance. So, according to the legend, there was a peculiar style characteristic of the Khorezm dance “Lyazgi” – “broken” movements of the hands and feet.

The legendary Khorezm dance "Lyazgi" is not just a dance. It is a special way of expressing feelings, emotions, worldview, and the people’s soul. The distinctive features of the “Lyazgi” movements are the half-bent legs, the predominance of small shaking of the shoulders and arms, the elusive “fluttering” movements of the hands, the accentuated key of the feet and the famous movement of the neck and head from right to left and from left to right. The facial expressions when performing Khorezm dance are incredibly expressive and emotional.

Dance costumes are also unusual. An integral part of the male Khorezm dance costume is a rough fur cap-papakha, and the female headdress on the contrary is very elegant. Costumes of dancers are always decorated with numerous coins.

The legendary Uzbek dancers, Tamara Khanum, Mukarram Turgunbayeva and Gavhar Matyakubova, perfected every movement of the folk Khorezm dance and conquered the world stage.

The archive of the honored artist of Uzbekistan Gavhar Matyakubova contains a lot of interesting documents from the archive of the ensemble "Khorezm", which formed the basis of her recently published book — "the History of Khorezm dance", which contains invaluable materials about the history of the development of the dance of Lyazgi.

On December 12, 2019, the legendary Lyazgi dance was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as an element of the cultural heritage of Uzbekistan. A resolution on this issue was adopted in the capital of Colombia, Bogotá, at the Intergovernmental Assembly for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage of UNESCO.

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