The history of Azerbaijani folk dance is closely bound to the history of the country. It is a long history that stretches back into the Stone Age. Drawings chiseled thousands of years ago into the rocks at Qobustan (ca. 60 km from Bakı) mainly represent old Azerbaijani folk dances.
As is also the case with other peoples of the world, the folk dances of Azerbaijan reflect the people’s pride, culture and spirit as well as the traditions and courage for which the Caucasian peoples are so well known, that is, their “soul” and their folk character. Azerbaijani folk dance has many forms and consists of many characteristic steps and hand movements that are fully synchronized and unique. This series of movements forms the basis for the professional folk dances that have been performed for hundreds of years at folk festivals, weddings, folk games and entertaining mock battles.
Azerbaijani folk dance expresses symbolically a wide variety of emotional themes, ranging from the hospitality and generosity to friendship and the unity of the people, from the high spirits of young girls to the courage of the young men, to the expression of simple joie de vivre. The narrative of the awakening of spring and feelings of love is depicted through the graceful, aesthetic, lithe and sensuous movements by the girls as they dance, while other dances are simply happy and joyful. Also famous are the heroic Caucasian dagger dances executed by the men, spirited dancers with their heads held high, making every effort to display their consummate dancing abilities.
Often the dances are accompanied by fierce drum rhythms that immediately capture, mesmerize and fascinate the audience. Particularly important to the Azerbaijani people are traditional wedding dances based on folk music, folk culture and folk customs, especially the dances representing the preparations for a wedding.