عنوان مقاله [English]
Regardless of their titles or designations, games and dances have always been an integral part of the culture of Iranian ethnicities, and while preserving their original form and content to some extent, many of them have persisted as paykubi (the Persian word for dance), dhikr, and Sama. Such dances are known as listeks (games) among Kurmanjis in northern Khorasan. For the Kurds of Khorasan, in addition to being a ritual physical exercise, dance is a type of collective game. The main structure and theme of such games are political and social events, passionate epics, historical events, and enchanting emotional fables. Ritual dance and games are one of the most prominent features of the Kurmanji community’s identity in Khorasan, which is in serious danger of being forgotten due to various political and cultural reasons, its declining role in people's lives, and the fact that their performance has been limited to domestic and foreign festivals. Therefore, given the oral transmission of this culture and despite the linguistic and cultural gap between the young and old generations, it is essential to carry out studies to preserve such dramatic rituals.
The descriptive-analytical study was an attempt to present the structure of form and content of some dramatic rituals of the Kurmanjis in northern Khorasan, Iran. To analyze their formal structure, the rituals were observed thoroughly, described and categorized, and their different stages of their movements were recorded through photographing, filming, and illustrating them as graphics. In order to analyze the symbolic content of these dances based on the Kurmanji cultural background, Kurmanji music, drama, and folklore scholars and researchers were interviewed as the target population. The interviews were conducted using in-depth and unstructured methods.
Qarsa games are one of the oldest Kurmanji group or hand-hold dances. Clapping or qarsaing is one of the main characteristics of this type of dance that creates a sense of cheerfulness and vivacity. Qarsa denotes "clapping", derived from the ancient Persian Dari term "Qarsak" (striking the palms of one's hands together repeatedly). These games, which mostly involve moving the hands and upper part of the body and are considered a type of exercise, start with slow movements (one qarsa) and proceed to fast and uninterrupted jumping, bouncing, and rotating movements or "twelve qarsas". At the end of the game, the players move their legs up and forward swiftly while half-raised. The alternation used to create balance at this stage is so exhilarating that it is referred to as the ancient word "shelang andaz" suggesting buoyancy and cheerfulness and its music is also called "shelangi" (Javid, 2015, p. 115). Each qarsa is one clap; clapping indeed implies that the palms move to strike each other, but barely touch and do not make the clapping sound. In general, more common today among the Kurmanjis of Khorasan are games of one, two, three, six, and twelve qarsas. It should be noted that the manner and order of movements in these games slightly vary in different regions (personal interview, Kashmiri, December 30, 2017). This study presented and analyzed "one-qarsa", "two-qarsa" and "six-qarsa" listeks (Kurdish dance).
In order to analyze the formal structure of Kurmanji listeks, in addition to observing the performances thoroughly and making videos and taking photographs, using Adobe Illustrator, the general structure of listek dancers' movements and postures were drawn in a graphic plan. First, the general form of the dances and rotations around the circle, as well as the dancers' rotations around the dance circle and also around themselves were recorded in an overhead shot, and then the specific movements and postures performed in each game, including hand and leg movements, were illustrated.
Just as the human speech system is a communication tool originating from the existing system in social and cultural structures and organizations, dancing also has its own unique conventional language, which designates elements within the socio-cultural networks of a society. In other words, ritual dance is an arena in which the individual and collective desires, aspirations, and goals are expressed at their highest and most refined levels. The narrative language of ritual dances reflects events from various parts of life (marriage, war, birth, mourning, etc.) that cannot be expressed in words, rather in the conventional signs and symbols associated with such events. This rich and strong symbolism inherent in folk dances necessitates the deciphering of symbols and signs for its interpreters. To understand such a symbolic language, decipher, and make sense of it, it is necessary to obtain a reasonable grasp of the cultural context of a particular folk. Thus, the concepts incorporated in the dance's purpose are achieved through the symbolic language of the dance, that is, the process that goes from perception to knowledge and creates an understanding of a different type of life (different style) in the audience (Fakuhi, 2016, p. 132).
In order to approach the symbolic content of the qarsa games, this study first separated the general form of the dances and their specific movements. Then the relationship between forms and movements with the cultural identity and social system of the Kurmanji people was discovered. Data was collected through interviews with researchers and experts in Kurmanji music and folklore, who have published credible studies in this field. Other sources included documented literature that had analyzed the ritual dances of different ethnicities in Iran. Then, from the obtained information, common points and features expressed by the participants in the analysis of dances were obtained as the following six points:
Circular and rotational movements;
Qarsas and claps;
Special feet movements;
Special head movements.
This study investigated the form and symbolic content of listeks (Kurdish dance) of the Kurmanjis of northern Khorasan. In the first part of the research aiming to analyze the formal structure of actions and movements in the dances, the steps in each performance were described and then graphical presentation or so-called "note-taking" was carried out for each dance in Adobe Illustrator. The general structure of the actions was drawn as overhead shots, and movements and rotations of each dancer were drawn separately. In the second part aiming to analyze the listeks' symbolic content of the actions and movements, and building on data obtained through interviews with researchers and scholars in this field and the experiences of listek dancers in each region, the commonalities of the contents were obtained in six categories. It is also worth mentioning that in conducting this part of the research, many commonalities were found between the ritual dances of different Iranian ethnicities, particularly between the Bakhtiari nomads and the Kurmanjis.
Multiple circular or chain-like dances among the Kurmanjis of northern Khorasan start from "one qarsa" with slow and gentle movements and rhythms, and proceed to anaraky or hand warm-up, and then lead to "two qarsas", "larilari" or "three qarsas”, "six qarsas", and "twelve qarsas", in which the movements of the feet and sitting and standing are done entirely for sports and martial purposes. According to the findings, listek is a combination of Kurmanjis' bravery and border guardianship and is rooted in the combat rituals of the people because warfare and combat are an integral part of the cultural identity of the Kurmanjis living in northern Khorasan. Over time, due to their forced migration from their original homeland to the northeastern borders, their religious dance of thanksgiving and praise have given way to multiple dances, all featuring combat actions, movements, and jumps aimed at increasing physical strength.