Yarkhushta (Armenian: Յարխուշտա) is an Armenian folk and martial dance associated with the highlands of the historical region of Sassoun in Western Armenia. Yarkhushta belongs to a wider category of Armenian "clap dances" (ծափ-պարեր, tsap parer). The dance is performed by men, who face each other in pairs. The key element of the dance is a forward movement when participants rapidly approach one another and vigorously clap onto the palms of hands of dancers in the opposite row .
Yarkhushta is believed to have its origins in the early Middle Ages as it is mentioned in the works of Movses Khorenatsi, Faustus of Byzantium, and Grigor Magistros.
Yarkhushta has traditionally been danced by Armenian soldiers before combat engagements, partly for ritualistic purposes, and partly in order to cast off fear and boost battle spirit.
The tune of the dance is played intentionally very loudly by two zurna hornpipes and one or more double-headed bass drums, each struck with a mallet and a stick from opposite sides of the drum's cylinder.
It has been demonstrated that the combination of zurna's high-frequency tone and the bass drums' deep, low-frequency beat create a combination of sounds with wide peak-to-peak amplitude that is capable of placing the dancers in the state of euphoric trance. This factor amplifies the effect of adrenaline/epinephrine rush that the dancing of yarkhushta usually produces.
In modern-day Republic of Armenia, yarkhushta is popular in settlements populated by resettlers from Sassoun, especially in villages around the towns of Talin, Aparan, and Ashtarak.
The dance was popularized in the late 1930s by Srbuhi Lisitsian who taught at the Yerevan Dance College. In 1957, the dance underwent further choreographic refinement by folk culture enthusiast Vahram Aristakesian and performed by folk dance troupe from the village of Ashnak.
The dance was revived in the 1980s by the folk group Maratuk and, later, by the folk ensemble Karin. There are attempts to introduce yarkhushta into curriculum of dances and songs of the Armenian Army.
There are several poems and samples of visual art that touch on the theme of yarkhushta. Among them is the poem "Dance of Sassoun" («Սասունցիների պարը») by Gevorg Emin published in 1975. The feature films Men(«Տղամարդիկ», 1972) and Yarkhushta (2004),produced by Gagik Harutyunyan.
During the 10th session of UNESCO committee of Intangible cultural heritage there were discussed 35 applications, including the application of Armenia to include the traditional national Armenian dance “Kochari” in the list of Intangible cultural heritage.
In the result of the discussions among the members of the committee, experts and the representatives of Armenia, UNESCO committee of Intangible cultural heritage approved that the traditional dance Kochari is a manifestation of national identity and it is spread both in Armenia and in Diaspora. Artur Poghosyan, Deputy Minister of Culture of Armenia, informed the aforementioned at a press conference on Wednesday.“It happened this morning,” added Poghosyan. “The Azerbaijanis attempted to hinder, but [they] did not succeed.
Let us mention, that the dance “Kochari” was performed by the Armenian soldiers in 1945 in Reichstag, Berlin. Related to this event, there was written the poem “Dance of Victory”. The picture with the same name was donated to “Poklonnaya Gora” museum.
“It happened this morning,” added Poghosyan. “The Azerbaijanis attempted to hinder, but [they] did not succeed.”
The next Eastern Partnership summit will kick off in Brussels on November 24 . For once, it will be of special importance for Armenia as the sides are expected to sign a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement.
How it all started
The Eastern Partnership, presented by the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Poland in 2008, aims at building a common area of democracy, prosperity, stability and cooperation between the EU and six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The EU invited some countries, among them Armenia, to conclude an Association Agreement, which was to be initialed, and ratified by the parties. Armenia and the EU entered into negotiations on the Association Agreement, including the establishment of a deep and comprehensive free trade area back in July 2010.
Armenia announced its accession to the Customs Union in September 2013 and refused to conclude an agreement with the EU. Despite the refusal, EU decided to develop further relations with Yerevan. On 12 October 2015 the Foreign Affairs Council authorized the European Commission and the High Representative to open negotiations on a new, legally binding and overarching agreement with Armenia, and adopted the corresponding negotiating mandate. Negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement were successfully concluded on 26 February 2017.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov does not feel excessive optimism about the possibility of a quick settlement of the Karabakh conflict.
At a joint news conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, the Russian minister recalled that during his visit to Baku he had already noted the presence of all the components necessary for the settlement.
The elements are on the negotiations table, the components are formed into a package, and it is difficult to take one, two or three and to agree on them. Lavrov said in this case the balancing elements fall out and there will not be the desired result.
Russian Foreign Minister emphasized that it is already good that the presidents spoke positively about the results of the meeting in Geneva. But it is important that this help move forward, Lavrov added.
The Russian minister noted that now the Russian co-chair together with the American and French colleagues in the OSCE Minsk Group will analyze the situation. However, the minister stressed that he would not have expressed excessive optimism. This is a complex problem, and the negotiations will not end quickly, Lavrov resumed.