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Nalmes troupe to bring Circassian music, dance to Jordan


Muath Freij, The Jordan Times


AMMAN — For Circassian dancer Shaguj Baturay, performing in the Kingdom is not only a matter of showcasing his community’s art to Jordanians, but also a way to meet fellow Circassians in Jordan.

Baturay, one of the 80 members of the renowned Circassian troupe Nalmes, which will perform two shows in Jordan this weekend, said meeting Circassians evokes some tragic memories of war and how many of his people were forced to leave their homeland.

“I really feel happy when I meet Circassians wherever I go. They are all like my brothers. I also feel sad about what happened to us and how many Circassians were forced to live in the diaspora, not together in our country,” the 36-year-old told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Nalmes, whose name means “something precious”, will perform this week in Jordan for the second time in its history.

Aslan Khadzmaer, the troupe’s art director, said the aim behind the creation of the ensemble is to spread Circassian art and heritage all over the world.

“Our troupe is known among the Circassian community, but what we really want is to show our art to other communities in the world,” added Khadzmaer, whose grandfather and father were members of the group.

Nalmes was established 75 years ago by a number of Circassian dancers and included 50 professional members, according to Khadzmaer.

He noted that there is a college in the Caucasus that provides a five-year training programme in Circassian art and dance.

“We recruit the best dancers who graduate from this college,” he added.

Khadzmaer said the troupe tries to showcase ancient Circassian dances and its members wear traditional attire during their performances, noting some people still wear these costumes in their daily life.

“People also wear it to weddings,” he added.

The ensemble has performed in several countries, including Germany, Turkey and Syria, according Khadzmaer.

“Every place has its own connotations. For us, every place is special,” the art director said.

Nalmes will perform on Thursday and Friday at Al Ahliyya Amman University’s Arena Theatre, on the road from Amman to Balqa Governorate.

The shows are organised by Al Jeel Club and Al Bariq for planning and organising events, according to a statement by the organisers made available to The Jordan Times.

For Baturay, the performance is a way to unite all Circassians in spirit despite being far apart.

“Perhaps some people don’t know the language well, but they can communicate with each other using any other language even if they have to resort to body language.”



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