Attan

WHERE ATTAN IS PRACTICED

STORYTELLER PROFILE

WHERE THIS STORY

WAS SUBMITTED FROM:

Frankfurt, Germany

STORYTELLER'S AGE:

38

STORYTELLER'S

GENDER:

Male

STORYTELLER'S

ETHNICITY:

Pashtun

ATTAN DESCRIPTION

There are in Afghanistan primarily those typical Afghan dance where people are in a circle. That's mainly in the Pashtun regions where Pashtuns live, and there are several variations, so people who live in the east and people living in the south have different variations. But the national Afghan dance style is where they dance in a circle. It is now not as well kept in Afghanistan because the people do not have as much time to dance. But abroad it is well maintained. Especially in the weddings you can see that some can dance very well. I myself have always looked at video and have learned how to dance. And with music at weddings you can also look on YouTube to find other variations of this circle dance, which I've also learned. I learned it as a child from videos.

Then you have opportunities to dance, most at weddings. In itself, the dance is exhausting. It is a sport. You sweat a whole lot and lose a lot of energy if one has been dancing 10-15 minutes. It's been exhausting. It starts slowly and then increases speed more and more quickly.

What I find fascinating is that earlier in Afghanistan, the circle of the Attan was not closed, so there was a circle with a "gap" with a beginning and an end. The first person would lead and the rest would follow. The drummer would stand in the middle. And the people always follow the first dancer because that is always the leader of the others. And with the rhythm of the feet, the drummer would match the rhythm of the dance. So that means that the music player is not making the rhythm, the dancers are. When the time has come and the leader has danced well, he goes to the end of the queue and then the next person in line starts leading and can make an entirely new rhythm.

The Attan has a rhythm that not every musician can play. I'm no sound expert, but there are certain melodies in my head that I remember the principal dancer indicating, and the musician follows. So the two are really playing a game together. Each of the dancers also has to be well trained in the music. I think no one will dance well with a bad music. You have to lose yourself in the music.

Attan is also danced by women who do it very well, but mainly it is men who have been dancing. The men's version of the dance would be done for wedding ceremonies, when a child is born, or in moments where they have gone in the war and men would make a fire and talked about the war strategy and then they did dance.

ATTAN PHOTOS

Attan
Attan

The Institute for the Preservation of Arts and Culture in Landi Kotal dance troupe performs Attan at at Kuch Khaas in November, 2011. Photo by The Express Tribune.

Attan
Attan

Afghan national soccer team celebrating a victory with the Attan. Photo by Edmund Chow

Attan
Attan

Attan in Kandahar. Photo by Reuters.

Attan
Attan

The Institute for the Preservation of Arts and Culture in Landi Kotal dance troupe performs Attan at at Kuch Khaas in November, 2011. Photo by The Express Tribune.

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© 2016 by Dance Afghanistan.

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