The fabulous Georgian dancers in The Legend of Samaia

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

In this show, the dancers present a piece of Georgian history and they do it with a sense of pride and carefulness. You can tell that this is more than a simple dance made to entertain. But they definitely stand up to the task of representing their country with grace. The show is a combination of virtuosity, acrobatics, energy and talent, with no perceivable pause between the different moments that combine music with dance.
There’s surely something to like here for anyone. There is the amazing vocal performance of Marika Tkhelidze, a tiny girl with a style you will not see elsewhere. Her surprising repertoire was completed for this show with a premiere: a Georgian song included in the world heritage. In 1977, the song Tchakrulo (Harmony) was included by NASA among the songs recorded on the golden disc launched into the extraterrestrial space by Voyager shuttle.
And then there are the young boys playing drums, with their archaic rhythms from a place that lies almost suspended between worlds, between the Black See and the Islamic world of the Caucus. They young boys reenacted the mystery of this land which faced some of the most terrible empires, from the hordes of Genghis Han, to the Persians and the Ottomans, remaining true to its Christian Orthodox faith. Even recently, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia heroically withstood an invasion of the Russian army all by itself.
So some of the spirit of Georgia can be found in the surprising moments of sword battles included in the show. And are not just a pale act, but real sword hits with sparks of fire and spectacular acrobatic movements. Finally, the group dances are so well choreographed and precisely executed that would even make Michael Flatley take notes. They combine the acrobatics and rhythmic explosions of Kazakh male dances with the grace of Russian ballet.

The Georgian Legend ensemble traveled around the world with their show, under the supervision of their American producer, Jim Lowe and of the French artistic director Pascal Jourdan. In order for them to execute such complicated dance moves, they go through a Spartan training session of six hours a day from as early age as six.
The Samaia show is inspired by folk legends about Queen Tamar, which lead the religious battle of defense of her country and was later canonized.

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