Sunday, August 13, 2006

TDI Journal

Aug. 10th, 2006 | 04:23 am

Tajik Dance Initiative news from Badakhshan:

Hello Ballet Afsaneh community,
We are writing you from the heart of Badakhshan in the striking city of Khorog. First and foremost we apologize for the delay posting to our blog. The internet has been extremely shaky and we were not able to find a way to post until now. We have been in Khorog for just over two weeks, and already we have been exposed to a wealth of extaodinarily rich and diverse traditional Badakhshani music, poetry and dance. In the past few weeks we have gone on field expeditions daily into various local districts surrounding Khorog. Each village is about an hour or two driving (and often a bit more by foot because the terrain is very coarse in the mountains) and we have visited the villages of Roshkala, Ghund, Siyov and Charthem. So far we have seen traditional Maddoh (devotional and poetic music), Rappo (more vigorous and often danceable music) and Fallak music (ghazals with sung with gloteral vibrato).

Already we have had the opportunity to interview and speak with a diverse range of exceptionally talented musicians and dancers and have seen some of the greatest masters of Pamir dance and music such as: Ali Akhbar, Barodar Khan, Kurbon Shah and Sultan Nazar to name a few. One spectacular dance in particular we saw was a couple dance called Raqs-e-Asp (the dance of the horse) a courtship dance between male and female dancers. The dancer’s costumes were vibrant colors of red, blue and green and they performed dozens of rigorous spins with extreme fluidity, agility and grace. Along with our field expeditions we have also been invited to a number of traditional and modern Pamir weddings which have been a blast! Aliah, Sonja and myself (Tara) have been taking daily dance classes (before and after our field expeditions) from 8am to 10am with Master Badakhshani performing artist Mahingul and night dance classes from 8pm to 10pm with the incomparable Zaragul Iskhandarova. In the next few weeks we plan to visit the region of Ishkashim and the Bartang Valley. Stay tuned to hear more about the TDI team, our adventures and stories from Badakhshan!