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Ashatagi Shoror

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BACKGROUND

Information: A dance.

Translation: Swaying dance from Shatagh

Region: Armenia


COMMENT

Shatagi Shoror means 'Shoror from Shatagh'. A Shoror is a type of circle dance with steps which sway – 'shororal' means 'to sway' and 'shoror' is related to the word 'oror', to rock or cradle (as in a baby).

Shoror is (rather obviously) a women's dance, so if you are a group of women performing it you would wear Armenian women's costume: in general, this is a dress with very close-fitting sleeves and bodice; long full skirt reaching the floor so that feet are hidden; sleeves also long and may have an extra bit of material that hangs down from the wrist to emphasise arm gestures. The sleeves have an extra gusset in the armpit so the arms can be raised overhead without rucking or pulling. There might be a waistband low on the hips, coming down slightly in front; there could be a small apron and/or close-fitting waistcoat. There must be a veil and a 'kot' or headdress. The kot is a strip of material reinforced with buckram which encircles the top of the head like a crown. The two ends are sewn together flat, so they can be pinned against the back of each dancer's head, and the front comes down over the forehead – it needs to be seen! Basically the front of the kot should be lower on the head than the back. The veil, which can be as short as reaching the middle of the back or as long as reaching the hips, is cut in a semi-circle and the straight side placed across the top of the kot, covering only the back half of the kot. Two stitckes can hold it in place. The veil should frame the dancer's face and arms from behind, without getting in the way of the movements, which is why you don't wear the veil too far forward.

If you have men in your group and insist on having them dance this dance, they can wear ordinary Armenian men's costume – leggings, short tunics, belts or sashes, knee-high soft black boots. Typical colours are dark and understated: midnight blue, forest green, pomegranate red especially. Gold and silver are used a lot.

I hope this is of some help to you. If you want to ask further advice, you might try any Armenian in your local community. There is also the East European Folklife Center (EEFC) list where you can ask a general question like that. As far as I know, Tineke van Geel is the 'source' for this dance, so it is probably a choreography based on folk dance steps from Shatagh; she probably learned it in Yerevan with one of the state or factory ensembles or at the pedagogical institute there. I am sure she could tell you much more.

Good luck,
Laura Shannon


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