Circassian Dance





Amjad Jaimoukha



Dancing has always had a special place in the life of the Circassians. In mythical times, the Narts held annual festivals and tournaments in which dances were held. No public or family festivity was complete without a round or more of dancing. It also kept the male dancers in tip-top shape thanks to the energetic tunes. It is nowadays the most popular kind of folk art.


Dance was initially a religious rite, a kind of spirited prayer. Later it turned into a form of festive celebration, keeping some of its ritual significance. It was only in recent times that dance turned into a pastime devoid of religious meaning. All dances are based on the rich material of Circassian folklore. Cossacks, Georgians and other Caucasians adopted many Circassian dance forms and some melodies.

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The Adigean State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble ‘Nalmes’.

Established in 1936, ‘Nalmes’ sees itself as ‘the collector,

guardian, and interpreter of Adigean folk music and dancing’.

For a selection of dance tunes, visit <>

Джэтэгъэжьхэ Iэгъурбий и гъыбзэ; Jeteghezchxe ’Eghwrbiy yi Ghibze (‘The Elegy of ’Eghwrbiy Jeteghezch’) – Vladimir Bereghwn (Baragunov).



This is a well-known Kabardian lament. The words of the elegy were composed by the residents of the Kabardian village Yislhemey (currently part of Upper Kurp), the music by either the Kabardian Bile Wezir, or by the famous (female) Ossetian accordionist Kubata Tugan. The words (in Kabardian with Russian translation and comments) and music sheet of the dirge are found in V. H. Bereghwn and Z. P’. Qardenghwsch’, 1990, pp 114-20.


The hero of the song is the Ingush abrek ’Eghwrbiy Jeteghezch, who lived in the second half of the 19th century. For a long time he managed to evade capture by the tsarist authorities, but in the end he fell into an ambush and was struck down by a bullet in the back.

Interesting links:

Adighastory's Dance Page

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