Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
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«Zagida» is the standard of Bashkir female solo dance
«Dance is the same as speech. The word of the people spoken about themselves».
One Swedish newspaper wrote about it: «There is pristine purity in this dance. One wants to go and see what kind of country this art grew up in...», – recalls the outstanding performer of «Zagida», the pearl of Bashkir dance Rashida Gilmitdinovna Tuisina.

The composition from precisely this dance welcomes visitors to the museum of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov, for whom «Zagida» has become and continues to be a «calling card». Behind the glass a figure of a dancing girl is installed on a rotating platform, and a kurai player accompanies her. «Zagida» has been considered the standard of Bashkir female solo dance for many years. Historical forms of folk dance and classical choreography have been intertwined in it.

The history of the «Zagida» dance
The prototype of «Zagida» was a solo female dance «Muglifa». There is information that in 1927, during a concert of the Bashkir State Drama Theater in Moscow, 14-year-old Faizi Gaskarov, being a student of the orchestra and dance ensemble of the theater, himself performed the Bashkir folk female dance «Muglifa», staged and directed by himself.
«A graceful girl, covered up to her eyebrows with a headscarf, ran onto the stage and glided, and whirled, and spun, and jumped across the stage like a tumbleweed, so fast that it seemed her own legs could not keep up with her. During the last dizzy turns the headscarf flew off the dancer and the dress fell off! The auditorium, frozen in perplexity, bashfully kept silence for a moment, but then exploded with enthusiastic applause, cheerful laughter, shouts of "bravo". In front of the audience stood a completely young lad, smiling broadly with joy for his success. It was Faizi Gaskarov».

In the early 40s of the XX century «Muglifa» was presented in a folklore version performed by Beder Yusupova.

As it is known, Faizi Gaskarov, the artistic director of the folk dance ensemble he created, traveled a lot around the districts, villages of the republic and studied the dances of local residents, noticed and adopted for his productions the characteristic movements of Bashkir girls, women, the manner of walking, running, doing work. In 1944 the choreographer created the eponymous dance «Muglifa» especially for one of his first and favorite dancers, Khazina Nurmukhametovna Magazova. In it the performer creates the image of a spinner with a soft motion, light whirlings and tapping of heels, smooth movements of her hands.
Presumably, a married woman to the accompaniment of an accordion and a dynamic tapping with her feet (teyeu, typyrlau) demonstrates various labor processes: she spins (yen ilau), winds the threads into a ball, rotating her hands, and whips up kumis (kymyz besheu). Then, smoothly lowering her hands down, the performer walks in a circle with a variable motion (the «yereshleu» movement), at the same time gently turning her hands «away from herself» and snapping her fingers.
All these elements inherent in many Bashkir folk dances are described in detail in the works of ethno-choreographer and teacher Lydia Nagayeva. «Typyrlau arose from the imitation of the trampling of horse hooves, choreographic and musical images were born under the rhythmic sounds of racing. Finger snaps reflected various labor processes. This dance movement could mean picking berries, milking mares, processing wool, spinning».

The «Muglifa» dance was performed extremely modestly, the performer did not dare to look openly at the viewer, her gaze was turned down. Smiling, joy and even light jumping were traditionally forbidden in women's dance for religious reasons. In the memoirs of Faizi Gaskarov it is said that «Muglifa is a beautiful, modest and proud girl. Dzhigits ("skillful and brave equestrians", "brave men" in translation from the Turkic languages) look at her, she flirts with them a little, and they admire her diligence».

This dance reflects the peculiarities of everyday life, closely related to the economic life of Bashkirs, as well as the modest disposition of Bashkir women. Because since ancient times people have embodied the nonverbal in dance – these are expressions of feelings, emotions, hidden thoughts of a person.

The success of «Muglifa» was huge. Khazina Magazova brilliantly performed this dance at the All-Russian competition of stage masters. Subsequently it was performed by Tamara Shagitovna Khudaiberdina. The ballet dancer introduced elements of classical choreography into the dance.
In 1953 with this dance she became the bronze laureate of the IV World festival of youth and students in Bucharest. For many years «Muglifa» became the best-known number of Khudaiberdina. Also «Muglifa» was danced by Faya Sakhipovna Gareyeva, Firdaus Mukhametvaleyevna Nafikova, Ravilya Minigaleyevna Khaziyeva.

In the photo: Ravilya Khaziyeva
The next performer of this dance was Rashida Tuisina, who joined the ensemble in 1960. The plot and elements have largely remained the same. But it began to be called by another female name – «Zagida».
Could the young Rashida have known, having come to the audition for the ensemble with this famous modest dance, that precisely it would determine her fate, become the «calling card» of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov, that precisely with it the dancer would win the love of the audience, become famous all over the world and earn the title of «pearl of Bashkir dance».
Rashida Tuisina, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Laureate of the State Award named after Salavat Yulayev
«It so happened that after graduation from school with a 10-year term of study, being a young head of the pioneer detachment from Baimak, I came to audition for a folk dance ensemble, but I got there to the very end of the second round. The viewing of all the applicants had already ended, and in desperation I turned to the examiners: "What about me?". I was allowed to dance, and I performed my favorite "Zagida". This dance was shown to me in my school years by Yangali Vakhitov, who came to our school. Of course, I remember now, many of my movements were uncertain, my hands were rough. Nevertheless the jury paid attention to me, I passed all the stages and after the internship I was accepted into the ensemble. I studied solo dancing with the People's Artist Ravilya Khaziyeva. It was she who gave me this composition».

For the first time the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov presented the lyrical solo dance «Zagida» to the general public in 1961 at a concert in Moscow.

«My first appearance on stage with "Zagida" happened not somewhere, but in the State Kremlin Palace in 1961, by that time I had only been working in the ensemble for a year. Another dancer was supposed to perform the dance, but suddenly, in the middle of the concert, Faizi Adgamovich ran up to me and gave the order: "Tuisina, you will perform the «Zagida», immediately get ready to go on stage!". I was standing more dead than alive, but Faizi Adgamovich himself ordered it! I put on someone else's costume, which was much larger in size than mine, the accordion player Alfarit Sultanov played the intro, I went on stage with the thought: "If only I wouldn't confuse anything!". I danced as best I could, left the stage, and there was silence behind me. I thought it was a failure… And suddenly I heard a flurry of applause! I was called for an encore… After the concert Faizi Adgamovich Gaskarov himself came up to me with an armful of flowers and said: "Tuisina, you know, I don't have a habit of giving flowers to my artists, but you deserve it". The next day I was personally invited to the Peoples' Friendship University with this dance. And in 1968 I was sent to the World festival of youth and students in Sofia, where my number was awarded a gold medal».

After that the «Zagida» dance performed by Rashida Tuisina was seen by residents of Afghanistan, Pakistan, African countries, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, France and many other countries where the ensemble came.
Rashida Gilmitdinovna brought a lot of new things to the dance.

Firstly, it has more plasticity and dance elements.
Guzel Asadullina
People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, teacher-tutor of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov, who also danced «Zagida».
«The "rolling up of the sleeves" became characteristic, in which in a stunning way, due to the smoothness and elegance of the hand movements, the simple fixing of the sleeves of zilyan (Bashkir national costume) turned into an element of classical choreography. This is all the talent of Faizi Adgamovich Gaskarov, who, firstly, noticed some motifs and forms in Bashkir dance folklore, and secondly, having mastered the basics of academic dance, was able to convey all these nuances in his productions».
In general, the plasticity of the hands in «Zagida», as in other productions of the ensemble, has become the fundamental technique of performing Bashkir women's dances. A Bashkir girl can perform a solo dance using only her hands. First of all, Bashkir dance performers should have soft hands, choreographers say so at the present time.
In Rashida Tuisina's «Zagida» a girl with a soft step and fluid movements goes out to the call of the kurai, rolls up her sleeves, weaves on a spindle, winds a thread, prepares kumis, raises a bowl with it and tastes the drink. Movements from folk folklore became new elements – hands, shoulders imitate the flight of butterflies, the waving of tree branches, the fluttering of leaves. The hands flutter, alternately rising up and falling down, the shoulders also alternately rise and fall. All hand movements are soft and pliable. In every gesture and even in cast glance femininity and at the same time modest cunning slips through. The dance conveys the external beauty and grace of the Bashkir girl, inner purity and nobility. It's fast and smooth at the same time.

Secondly, the costume has changed in «Zagida». The traditional headdress of the Bashkir women – kashmau – appeared on the performer's head, before there was a fox fur hat. In addition, Rashida Tuisina lengthened, took in on her figure and decorated the zilyan – the national long-skirted upper garment with long sleeves.

«When I put a kashmau on my head, the genes of my ancestors woke up in me, – she says. – How our great-grandmothers wore it, how they behaved, how the character of women can be conveyed through the national Bashkir costume. Kashmau was put on the betrothed girls. It is quite heavy, it has silver coins, corals, shells on it. And there is also such an appointment – putting a kashmau on a betrothed girl. This means that she should no longer look around, should not smile openly, should behave modestly and adapt to family life. She is gentle, obedient, but at the same time proud. After that I presented "Zagida" in a completely different way, which Faizi Adgamovich really liked».

Another distinctive feature of the «Zagida» costume is the zilyan with wide gussets in the sleeves. According to Rashida Tuisina, this element is not only for range of motion, it has the character of the people: freedom-loving, but modest. The performer's hands turned out like wings, and Faizi Adgamovich loved the crane bird very much, says Guzel Asadullina.
Today «Zagida» is more than 60 years old. To this day it continues to be the standard of Bashkir solo female dance. In the ensemble named after Faizi Gaskarov composition together with kashmau is passed down from generation to generation to each performer.

To this day for many viewers the personification of dance is Rashida Gilmitdinovna Tuisina. Her performance was described in the following way: «She managed to reveal her soul through the language of dance, convey the beauty, chastity, wisdom, restraint and grace of a Bashkir woman, as well as show the poetry of women's work».
Rashit Shakur
Bashkir poet, writer, publicist
«The "Zagida" dance is an exciting story about a beautiful woman symbolizing the ancient Ural land – Bashkiria, about the purity and chastity of her spiritual movements, about her bright love, inspired by the joy of perceiving the beauty of life and native nature».
Yamilya Bikbayeva
Honored Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, soloist
«Tuisina has always been the standard of Bashkir solo dance performance for us, of course. No one can compare with her, and every dancer tries to at least get close to this model».
Milyausha Khaibullina
«In Baimak, where I come from, it has already become a tradition to be photographed near the Gadelsha Waterfall, where Rashida Tuisina performed her famous "Zagida". The "Zagida" dance is perceived as a Bashkir souvenir, it is asked to be performed for foreign guests, on trips of delegations. The audience outside the republic always admires the dance both for its grace and costume».
Guzel Asadullina
People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, teacher-tutor of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov
«First of all, we make such requirements to the performers of "Zagida": the girl must be fragile, graceful like a moth. A dancer should be musical, with a sense of femininity. And of course, she must have a soul, it is necessary that she opens her eyes so that the viewer dives into them and does not come up».
Asya Tutmanova
People's Artist of the Republic of Bashkortostan, head of the rhythm ballet «Grande», niece of Khazina Magazova
«This dance is primarily about a woman who, listening to kurai, transfers her inner state into the plasticity of movements, how she feels it, shows everything that is inherent in her. Because the inner world of the Bashkir woman is very deep, but hidden, apparently, the nomadic lifestyle itself made her so. Gaskarov has seen in folklore expeditions: concentrated Bashkir woman dances just like that, because she feels that way. And it is very important for us now to cherish this standard, to be fascinated by it, because it is so exclusive. I tell my students: "You dance the Bashkir dance and you lead the spirit of the Bashkir people, not Russian, not Tatar, not Gypsy. If you truly perform it, you will begin to treat yourself differently, you will discover the spirit of the people embedded in you, because it's all in our genes"».
The most amazing thing is that «Zagida» continues to be performed by Rashida Tuisina, who turned 77 this year. «If only I am strongly asked», – says the famous dancer and admits that precisely this dance has become the mission of her life.
The article uses archival materials from the fund of the TV and radio company «Bashkortostan», from the fund of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after F. Gaskarov, materials from the book by L. Nagayeva «Bashkirskaya narodnaya khoreografiya» («Bashkir folk choreography»), materials from the newspaper «Vechernyaya Ufa» («Evening Ufa»), materials from the series «Dusha tantsa» («Soul of dance») (studio «Kino-Oko», Saint Petersburg), from the archive of M. Dorovskikh, V. Shakhov.

Layout: Renata Vakhitova

Author (compiler): G. Akulova, 2021