Dikalu Muzakayev: "There won't be any problems in Caucasus if you invest money in culture"
Yesterday in Moscow, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall hosted a concert of the State Dance Ensemble of Azerbaijan and the State Philharmonic named "My Azerbaijan". This concert program was presented for the first time at the opening ceremony of the first Baku shopping festival and to guests of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku. The Azerbaijan State Dance Ensemble, established in 1970, successfully tours not only across Russia, but also across other countries of the CIS, the USA, Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, India, Nepal, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, Cuba.
People's Artist of Russia, the former Minister of Culture of Chechnya and choreographer, Dikalu Muzakayev, discussed his vision of the dance culture in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What does it mean for you to perform in such an important place?
- We, choreographers, consider Tchaikovsky Hall to be a Mecca of choreography. This hall is visited by experts of choreographic art, people who represent rich dance art of Russia. No country in the world can present what Russian dance art can present to the audience today. It's developed at the highest level.
We had three sold-out concerts with a new program in Baku. Of course, it's very positive for the artists, they gain confidence, feel their importance. Today we see that young people all around the world dislike everything traditional. But we have the opposite situation. Azerbaijan is very similar, young people of this country are attracted to traditional culture. This guarantees that younger generation won't be lost.
We sincerely hope that this stage will open the doors to a great future for us, because dance, music, all kinds of art must promote peace. They should help to maintain dialogue. In this context, there is a complete understanding of the importance of creativity of our ensemble in Azerbaijan - in the Ministry of Culture, in the country's leadership. This allows us to develop and integrate into the world of dance art.
- Did most members of the ensemble arrive in Moscow?
- 55 ballet dancers and 16 people from the orchestra. Over the past year, the Ministry of Culture has adopted a number of measures aimed at development of art. There are budget cuts all around the world, while we have the opposite, because we are the face of the nation. Ensemble like this should have all necessary conditions both physically and financially. Through entertainment, through the depth of our art we can charm viewers. Leadership of Azerbaijan completely understands this. They help us since they understan that beauty will save the world.
- Have you already showed this program in Baku?
- Yes, and our first concert after that is in Moscow, since good-neighborly relations, respect for a neighbor, respect for a time when we lived side-by-side in a large, powerful country of the USSR - all of this is a right attitude both politically, ideologically, and in terms of cultural integration.
- You are an experienced choreographer, you used to work with Grozny artists. Many peoples of the Caucasus are dancing lezginka. What is the difference between Azerbaijani lezginka and all others?
- Azerbaijan is a special region, where different cultures of the Caucasus, the Near East and the Middle East intertwine. Such interesting synthesis influenced the formation of folk culture and folklore. Modern dance art is built on this basis. People of the Caucasus love this art. When they see it they are always in tears, they are happy.
- Where will your next tour take place?
- We have a concert in Istanbul on December 16. There will be up to five thousandth people in the audience. Naturally, we will also participate in major cultural forums across Europe, the West, Russia.
- Will there be any concerts in Grozny?
- Yes. I worked as the head of the Ministry of Culture of the Chechen Republic for 7 years. There are many beautiful platforms where we can perform. Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria - this route we plan to take next spring. In addition, we will visit Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol Territory. We will be everywhere, where people want to see us. Our creative product requires just a stage and a spectator.
- What qualities good dancer must have?
- The first requirement is discipline. The second requirement - the one management of the ensemble must fulfill - is proper organization of work and deep knowledge of a particular genre of art.
- Were you born in Chechnya?
- I'm Chechen, but, like all Chechens of my age, I was born in deportation in Kazakhstan. I don't remember Kazakhstan, because when we returned I was just 10 months old. So I grew up in Chechnya. My family lives in Grozny. Younger children go to school. My eldest son dances for the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble named after Moiseyev. This is my pride. This ensemble is at a very high level, it has a great history not only in Russia, but around the world. Igor Alexandrovich Moiseyev - the master of folk stage choreography. This genre of art is developed thanks to him. I'm happy that my son followed my footsteps and became an artist of this ensemble.
- You mentioned that it's possible to improve relations between peoples through the dance. Caucasus is a pretty problematic region. Can the power of culture unite these peoples?
- To begin with, you need to make culture a prestigious sphere. Sphere of culture must be highly paid, then everything will fall into place. There are no other methods and there are no other possibilities. If the state will invest into the development of culture and professional art, then we will be able to get rid of ignorance, lack of culture as well as antisocial behavior, which create problems between nations, peoples. All these problems will go away when there will be money in the sphere of culture.