By Sadeq Dehqan & Hamideh Hosseini (source: Iran Daily)
Iran's Aylan Dance Group won the gold medal and honorary diploma at the World Championship of Folklore 'World Folk 2016' in Bulgaria, said the conductor of the group.
Tohid Haji-Babaei told Iran Daily that the event, which was organized by the Bulgarian chapter of World Folklore Academy in cooperation with the Association of Folklore Festivals of Nessebar and Burgas municipalities, took place from August 18 to 28.
Sponsored for the sixth consecutive year by Bulgarian National Folklore Commission, the event hosted 1,200 musicians, singers and artists who competed for 'World Champion' title as well as other awards in 90 sections in Burgas, Obzor, Nessebar, Sveti Vlas and Sunny Beach.
The ensemble includes 10 teenagers aged between 8 and 10.
The award winning ceremony was held on August 28 and was attended by Iran's Cultural Attache Abdolmajid Shafaei and other cultural figures in Bulgaria.
Folklore groups from Iran, Bulgaria, Russia, Bosnia and Georgia were awarded at the closing ceremony.
Haji-Babaei said that the festival was of high quality and there was a serious competition between the contestants. Top folklore groups from Russia and western European countries competed with each other in the event, he noted.
Interestingly, the groups were judged based on the quality of their performances and not on their age groups, he added.
He pointed out that although the groups were usually made up of young people and adults, this time children and old people were also present among the participants.
Iranian teens staged four performances which were all warmly received by the audience, he added.
Local or folkloric dance is one of the oldest kinds of dance representing traditional Iranian customs of a specific geographical area.
Researchers maintain that it is difficult to trace the exact origin of folkloric dance. A group of archeologists argue that dance was an important part of the primitives' culture which conveyed their feelings by physical movements, he said.
He listed Azarbaijani, Kurdish, Sistani, Baluchi, Mazandarani, Torkaman, Gilaki, Arabic, Khorasani and Lor dances as instances of various Iranian folkloric dances.
Aylan Dance Group was formed in 2007 to promote the culture of Iran's northwestern region of Azarbaijan in general and its traditional and folklore dance in particular.
It has since staged several performances in a number of cities and festivals.
Haji-Babaei recalled that the group was awarded at the 17th Traditional and Ritual Theater Festival held from August 23 to September 1, 2015. It will also perform in the second half of September at the 11th International Street Theater Festival of Marivan, in Kurdestan Province.
The World Championship of Folklore 'World Folk 2016' is one of the leading festivals in the world in terms of colloquial and folklore traditions and beliefs. It is held annually in Bulgaria hosting artists from a number of countries who introduce their traditions.
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