The Tatar national dance was reconsidered on the platform of the MOÑ theater

Photo: A summer edition of a performance on MOÑ. Photo ::

The MOÑ theater platform launched a series of performance evenings starting with two projects trying to reconsider Tatar folk dance. Two heroines of the Evening Dance, Saida Minubayeva and Gulsina Galimullina, talk about their relationship with this phenomenon and the possibilities of its development.

“Even our parents don’t recognize us at concerts”

Saida Minubayeva was an artist of the National Song and Dance Ensemble for nine years, she left in May. His performance How much? is laconic: it is a long preparation for the performance and for the departure itself. Saida invented it during the Inclusive Performance Workshop project when her teacher, choreographer Nurbek Batulla, suggested that she create a folk dance campaign.

“I thought for a long time about what I could talk about. And I wanted to show how much time I spend preparing for a show, ”explains Minubayeva. “Our performances as a whole are sometimes not solo concerts but a single performance. And that’s why you come early in the morning, do a rehearsal, then wait, then the girls make up for an hour, turn into traditional Tatar girls. They are all carbon copies, even our parents don’t recognize us during concerts, everyone has very similar makeup. We dance for three minutes, and that’s it. I wondered if the viewer was thinking about it. Should the viewer be aware of this?

A Tatar dance scene is not as conservative as an artificial phenomenon, notes Minubayeva, and then begins to think about how to say nicely not to insult anyone.

“I don’t feel that when I dance or watch there is a story, the power of the people is there because all these movements considered traditional Tatar were recorded by folklore expert Gaynulla Tagirov less than 100 years ago. No one knows what was before. The Tatars had existed, they had danced, what was their dance like? That’s a question for me. In Yarmek dance, we try to find the authentic movement by improvisation by turning to the memory of our body.

Saida Minubaeva. Photo courtesy of Gulsina Galimullina

Why not bring flamenco passion to Tatar dance?

Minubayeva wonders why people are so excited about Caucasian dances. Why are there several flamenco schools in every big city? Gulsina Galimullina has been dancing flamenco for 12 years, but recently she is busy with projects where she combines her knowledge with Tatar traditions. Yarmek is a dance of the inhabitants of the homonymous village of Samara Oblast, which appeared as a farewell party ritual for young men before going to the army. In the dance, the old people strike the legs of the young with a whip, while the latter try to catch the whip with their foot. Now all the locals dance it in the village of Yarmek.

Vladislav Utkin and Aynur Faizov (artists of the National Song and Dance Ensemble) take part in Galimullina’s performance alongside Minubayeva. Bayan player Rustem Rafigullin and guitarist, kuray player and percussionist Aydar Abdrakhimov accompany them. Two dances, yarmek and flamenco, are mixed.

“I am often asked why not bring the passion of flamenco to Tatar dances. And I came to think that they could be mixed,” says Galimullina. “No one taught me how to perform Tatar dance, I saw parents, grandparents dancing. I am not a specialist here. But I dedicated 12 years to flamenco. In my native country, Baltasi , we have the Bast Shoe dance, its meter is not typical, the time sixfold. There was a performance during the project Life is in motion. But the dance itself was remembered more, it seemed that we hadn’t finished the show. When I was offered to do it one more time, I decided to find a new dance talking with Saida. Yarmek has a story, there are many times, he there is passion, which coincided with my flamenco dancing.

Gulsina Galimullina. Photo:

A Tatar dance cafe now!

A dance is a language, continues Galimullina, explaining that she expresses her feelings more precisely through flamenco. While the Tatar dance is considered something ancient, which must be performed in costumes.

“It’s a means of communication,” continues the young girl. “Before, when girls and boys couldn’t say something to each other, they expressed it through dance.

Improvisation is the gimmick of performance. There is a melody to the dance, but there is no structure, no patterns, everything appears on stage.

“Once before the show, we thought people were going to the army, dancing, but what did girls say about boys for 25 years?” Galimullina gives an example. By the way, in MOÑ the performance was shown indoors for the first time.

“10 years ago, Tatar dance was a conservative phenomenon,” explains the choreographer. “You go to concerts, you see how people dance, you don’t like something. I thought maybe I had been dancing flamenco for so long that I didn’t like Tatar folk dances.

Galimullina then compared the situation with Andalusia where people from all over the world fill a 70 square meter dance hall, festivals are held, flamenco is popular, people are proud of it even if they don’t dance it.

“Because unlike our folklore, flamenco has continued to develop, new waves, new movements have appeared. While here the dance is put in the chest and taken out on vacation.

Tatar dance turned into a product, says Galimullina, for an event, to welcome guests. But these melodies provoke emotions, we want to dance. However, when she showed her mother what she was doing in performances, her mother said that Tatar girls did not dance that way.

“I am Tatar, won’t I be Tatar if I raise the skirt more?” reflects Gulsina remembering the masters of flamenco who showed it to the world as Carmen Amaya. She began touring overseas, with live musicians promoting her love for dancing alone.

Galimullina concludes that there must be a place or places where people could come knowing that Tatar dances are performed there as it happens to tango or flamenco.

“When we had events in embankments and parks in the summer, people would join us and then ask where they could come and dance. While there is no such place.

Radif Kashapov

Analytics Tatarstan