The national Uzbek dance is extraordinarily impressive. It embodies all the beauty of the Uzbek nation. The main differences of Uzbek dance from other oriental dances are, firstly, the emphasis on the complicated and expressive movements of the hands and, secondly, the rich facial expressions. There are two types of Uzbek dances – classical traditional and folk (folklore).
Classical traditional national Uzbek dance is the art that is cultivated in special dance schools and then performed on the big stage. Three schools of Uzbek dance can be singled out: Fergana, Bukhara and Khorezm. Fergana dance is characterised by softness, suppleness and expressiveness of movements, easy gliding step, original movements on the spot and in circles. Bukhara dance is also characterised by sharpness of movements, sloping shoulders and very beautiful gold embroidered costume. Original and distinct movements characterise the Khorezm style.
Practically every region is represented in Uzbek folk dance and there is an extraordinary variety here. These dances are revived at all family, village and town festivals. These dances are passed down from generation to generation and preserve old dance traditions and real or past life.
The main difference of Khorezm dance from other regions of Uzbekistan is its exuberant energy, joie de vivre and lively temperament. The traditions of dance in Khorezm are hundreds of years old and are still maintained today. The philosophy of this dance is to express the love of life, nature and work, which is reflected in the choreography: Gestures that imitate the world of animals and birds and movements that resemble those of workers and common people are characteristic here. One of the characteristics of Choresm dance is sharpness and certain pauses in the poses. A characteristic difference from the schools of Bukhara and Fergana is that there are practically no rotational movements in Khorezm. The most famous and popular dance of Khorezm is Lazgi, which is close to the famous Lezghinka.
Bukhara dance is similar to Khorezm dance in many ways – there is energy and passion here too, but the dancers’ movements are completely different. Here you can see a surprising combination of primitive dance forms with graceful movements: sharp movements are replaced by sculptural swaying, slow turns, and so on. One of the peculiarities of Bukhara dance is the emphasis on the upper body: arms, shoulders, neck and chest. Moreover, Bukhara dancers sometimes use two additional musical instruments – “kairaki” (metal plates resembling castanets) and “zangi” (spherical bells attached to wrists and ankles in the form of bracelets).
Lyrical, soft and plastic – this is how Fergana dance can be described. In this dance, flowing movements of the hands and playful movements of the head with a coquettish look predominate. In contrast to Khorezm and Bukhara, where choreography is strictly adhered to, improvisation is popular in Fergana. However, there is a special rule: here it is customary to keep the hands facing upwards, whereas in other dance schools the palms can be in any position. In contrast to the animal imitations in the Khorezm dances, the Fergana dances also depict human relationships and are predominantly lyrical and romantic.