Chechen Dancer: Makhmud Esambayev
A Dance Magician
Many believe music is a universal language. Regardless of ones nationality or background we can all recognize and be touched by the power of music. Makhmud Esambayev, a Chechen dancer born with an exceptional ear for music, devoted his
life to touching others with his own power.
Esambayev was born in 1924 in the small Circassian village of Stariye Atagi, which is located on the foothills of the Caucasian mountains. Stariye Atagi, about twenty km south of Grozny, is one of the largest villages in Chechnya. Chechens are the world's most ancient people with a very unique anthropological type and culture. Culturaly, Chechnya is represented by dozens of ethnic communities. The Ingushis, Kumyks, Russians and Nogais have formed the largest ethnic communities. In addition to them, there are also thousands of ethnic Armenians, Jews, Ukrainians, Avars, Tartars Georgians, Azeris, Kurds, Andis, Lezgians, Circassians, Ossetes, Dargwas and Laks in Chechnya that have contributed to the overall culture.
Historically this extremely diverse area has produced many great artists, writers, playwrights, musicians and composers. Esambayev, however, stood out from all the rest. Since he was seven years old his father used to take him to village weddings
where he would perform an act of song and dance for the crowd. He was always greeted with vast approval and excitement. When Esambayev turned fifteen years old he joined the Chechen-Ingush song and dance company and four years later became a member of a show biz task team who held concerts for his countries army. At the age of twenty Esambayev advanced his physcial and musical talents and became a soloist of the Kirgiz theater of opera and ballet. He was considered an unusually versitile artist who could do both character and folk numbers. During his time in the theatre he performed lead roles in the Kirghiz Theater productions of "The Swan Lake," "The Fountain of Bakhchisarai" and "The Sleeping Beauty." He is also considered the founding father of Kirghiz choreography and did the lead roles in the very first Kirghiz ballets.
In the 1950's, when the Chechen-Ingush Republic once again became a part of the Soviet Union, Esambayev decided to give up his career in ballet and focus his efforts on folk dancing. He started out as a soloist of the philharmonic Society of the Chechen-Ingush Republic. The State Philharmonic, which has contributed a great deal to the development Chechen musical culture, was established in the year 1939. While working as a soloist of the philharmonic, Esambayev focused on composing novelette dances. These novelette dances revealed the cultural traditions of various ethnic communities. Some examples of his performances include The indian gold god, the Spanish La Corrida and...