Contributions of Scholars & Artists in the Development of Lazgi

       Dr. Shamenaz Bano

Lazgi is one of the oldest and the most popular dance forms of Uzbekistan which is becoming famous globally due to the efforts of the government as well as some artists and scholars. The dance form, Lazgi, became an immaterial world heritage in 2019. It is the most popular dance because of its unique performance style and charm. It is a type of dance  belonging to the region of Khorezm which is energetic and full of passion performed by both male and female dancers which is usually accompanied by instrumental and dancy melodies. Some Lazgi dancers have used various poetic texts in the form of songs and have incorporated it in their dances making it more charming.

Lazgi has a special place in the history of Uzbekistan because of its artistic quality. It belongs to a region known as Korezm so it is also called “Khorezm Lazgi Dance”. The first   manifestations   of   the   ancient   culture   of Khorezm,  the  cradle  of  civilization,  are  vividly reflected  in  the  art  of  dance. It is believed that the history of Lazgi dates back to three thousand years. The origin of the dance is connected with the creation of the world and humans. There is a disagreement as to exactly where the religious text of Zoroastrianism, Avesta, was written, but most scholars believe that it appeared on the territory of modern Khorezm.

 Because of its unique quality it has been included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. With the support and policies of the government and cultural agencies of Uzbekistan, Lazgi dance is becoming popular around the globe, thanks to the efforts of artists, scholars and government officials.

There are many scholars and artists who have dedicated their lives to the global popularity of Lazgi dance. Among them, Gavhar Matyakubova is a name which is highly respected because of her contribution to the dance form and its popularity beyond Uzbekistan. Gavhar Matyokubova was born on 18th October 1947 in Kushkopir district of Khorezm region of Republic of Uzbekistan. She is a people artist of Uzbekistan, Professor of the Theory and History of Art of State Academy of Choreography of Uzbekistan, Tashkent and an honorary academician of the Eurasian Dance Academy. She is the owner of the Order of “Labour Glory”, the medal of “Friendship” of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Winner of “Golden Heritage”, “Spiritual devotee”, 1st degree “Veteran of Labour”, skilled dancer-ballet master, famous artist-art critic, ethnographer, scholar, senior researcher and promoter of Uzbek national dance art. Till date, she has staged about 200 dances in Uzbekistan and other parts of the world.

She is the author of books, pamphlets, dictionaries and monographs such as “The Master of Khorezm”, (2023) “History of Khorezm Lazgi Dance” (2023), Khorezm Lazgi Dance: History and Description” (2022) “Lazgi: Love and Heart Dance” (Cairo, 2022) “Khorezm Dance Movements” (2021), “Devotee of Art” (2018), “Lazgi” (2017) and “Ofatzon Lazgi” (1993). She has also published “Uzbek-Russian-English-French-Turkish” short explanatory dictionary of the names of Khorezm dance movements in 2021. All these books are published in many languages in her native country, Uzbekistan and other countries like India, Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Germany, USA and Thailand. She is the author of more than 100 scientific-theoretical articles published in France, Turkey and India. In recent times, the People’s Artist of Uzbekistan, Gavhar Matyokubova is conducting scientific research on the monographs “Uzbek and Indian Dances” and “The Roots of Lazgi related to Avesta”.

Another Professor, who is also contributing to the popularity of Lazgi dance worldwide is Hulkar Hamraeva. She is a Doctor of Philological Sciences (DSc), Associate Professor of the State Academy of Choreography of Uzbekistan. She is the senior editor of the Uzbekistan Radio channel of the National Television and the Radio Company of Uzbekistan. Her creative works are often featured in local and international newspapers and magazines. She is also a member of the Writers Union of Uzbekistan.

Born in the Samarkand region, she graduated from school with a gold medal, and from the National University of Uzbekistan with honours. She is a member of the Union of Writers of Uzbekistan, senior editor of the Uzbekistan TV and radio channel of the National Television and Radio Company of Uzbekistan. Friendship Ambassador of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan in Uzbekistan. Her “Research of terms of Uzbek national dance art”, The monographs “Integration of creativity and knowledge” were published in the USA (in Uzbek and English), the monograph “Lazgi” – the dance of love and heart” (co-author Prof. G. Matyokubova) was published in Egypt in English and Arabic, and the textbook “The Art of Oratory” was published in Kazakhstan. She is the author of manuals such as “Teachers of the Teacher Ozod”, “The Responsibility of the Word”, “Philosophy of Sacrifice”, “National University Philological Scholars”, and monographs “Uzbek Children’s Folklore Dances: Traditionality and Modernity” and “Uzbek Children’s Folklore Dances” (co-author Prof. Sh. Tokhtasimov).

H. Hamraeva is a participant of international scientific and theoretical conferences held in Moscow, Cairo, Istanbul, Baku, Alexandria, Turkestan, Delhi, Agra, Astana, Shymkent. More than 200 of her articles on linguistics, literary, art, spiritual studies were published in scientific collections of Uzbekistan, Russia, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Kazakhstan, India, China, Turkey, France, Poland, Japan and Indonesia. She was awarded the “Friendship” and “Algys” medals of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan, the “Culture and Art Sacrifice” badge of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Both Gavhar Matyakubova and Hulkar Hamraeva are trying hard in the development of Lazgi worldwide. For this purpose, they have traveled to many countries like Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India and many other countries. In all these countries they have organized events like Conferences, Literature & Cultural festivals, Dance performances etc to promote lazgi. They are publishing books, articles and research papers in different countries on the dance Lazgi which are being translated by the native writers into different languages to reach the masses. For example in India, they have published two books, History of Khorezm Lazgi Dance, authored by Gavhar Matyokubova, edited by Hulkar Hamraeva, Tumaris Azam & Surayyo Istamova and translated in English by Tumaris Azam and in Hindi language by me (Shamenaz Bano). The second book is The Masterpiece of Khorezm which is Monograph by Gavhar Matyokubova and Hulkar Hamraeva, translated into English by Tumaris Azam and in Hindi by me (Shamenaz Bano).

I got an opportunity to meet these two legends in “Indo-Uzbekistan Literary & Cultural Fest held at St. John’s College Agra, which was organized in collaboration by St. John’s College, Agra, Progressive Literary & Cultural Society & State Academy of Choreography, Tashkent Uzbekistan. In the event, Lazgi dance was performed by artists like Gulmira Kurbonova and Dildora Tuxtayaeva and supported by other Uzbek delegates. Their dance performances spellbound the audience. On 28th January 2024, my organization, Progressive Literary & Cultural Society in collaboration with State Academy of Choreography, Tashkent, Uzbekistan had organized “An E-Seminar on Lazgi- The Dance of Love and Soul” in which the speakers were Dr. Gavhar Matyukova, Dr. Hulkar Hamraeva and myself, Dr. Shamenaz Bano. The online Seminar was very much liked and viewed by the Indian community.

Dr. Shamenaz Bano is a Author Editor & Translator of 44 Books, Founder & President, Progressive Literary & Cultural Society

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