The Shalakho (or Shalaho, depending on the language) is an Azerbaijani folk dance of Georgian origin well known in the Caucasus. Like all traditions common to different peoples there are different variants of this dance. In the most popular version two men dance to get the attention of a woman, but there are dances with more men or more women or with a single dancer. The main characteristic of the Shalakho is its rhythm: fast and energetic for men, slow and more graceful for women. It is widespread mainly in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, but is also practised in different versions in neighbouring countries. In addition to rhythm and choreography the beauty of this dance is also in the splendid costumes typical worn by the participants. In the web you can find many videos of the Shalakho. In one of these the dance is performed by Nairi Dance Studio, an Armenian-born artistic collective founded in Hollywood in 1998 with the aim of spreading Armenian cultural traditions in the United States and the world. In the video some men dance together before the entry of the beloved woman, later dancing around and together with her.
The best known version of the Shalakho mentioned above has enjoyed some theatrical success, allowing this folk dance to go beyond the regional boundaries of post-Soviet space. She has been included in the show "The Maiden Tower" by the Azeri composer of noble Iranian origins Afrasiyab Badalbeyli. The opera, staged for the first time in 1940, was represented in a new version in 1999. Other well-known performances can be found in the 1942 ballet "Gayane", with music by the Armenian composer Aram khachaturian and in the Azeri film "Sabuhi" shot in 1941 and directed by Amo Bek-nazaryan and rza Taksibhma. The Shalakho is considered by the Armenians a national dance. Other Armenian national dances are Kochari, Yarkhushta, Berd, Uzundara, Shavali and Ververi. Among these stands out the Uzundara (Ball of the bride) in which the women who participate in it perform sensual moves that recall the movement of a snake. In the Armenian mythology is known the figure of a four-headed snake, each of which embodied a different country. One of its non-lethal heads was the same Armenia, while another was an allied nation. The remaining heads were poisonous and represented enemies. With this dance we try to represent the fighting spirit of Armenian women, ready to fight with men to protect their country.