Shavali is an old Karno swaying song-dance. In different parts of Karno region there are many dances which are performed to this music. Though the most widespread “Shavali” in Karno region is the one at the 6/8 tempo, some kinds of the dance are performed to the music at the 10/16 tempo. Some people call the dance “Shavali”.
This dance used to be a part of wedding dance and is still remembered as a “must” wedding dance. Some think that “Shavali” is only a wedding dance. It is also referred to as a dance of in-laws. Two lines of the song, still preserved in people’s memory, run as this:
Dear in-law, I’ve learnt a dance,
Two steps forward and a sway”
The in-laws had an important role in the weddings, and it’s quite possible that there used to be a special ceremonial dance for them. They must have been the head of dance. Unfortunately, we have no information about it. We also don’t know if the in-law was the bride’s or the groom’s parent. Karno dwellers who have moved to Javakhq and Akhaltskha, have still preserved the tradition when the toastmaster demands to make a room in the dancehall for the in-laws to dance. Hence we can presume that the dance was performed by the bride’s parents, considering the fact that the bride’s parents were more restrained and usually didn’t dance.
Swaying dances are relics of cult worship of totems, domestic idols and ancestors. The leftward steps and swaying are a proof of it. The dancers’ movements during the dance are conservative and solemn. When performed by women, their graceful movements remind of “Uzundara”. The narrators resemble this dance to another forgotten Karno dance, ”Hushik Mushik” dance, the only difference being the position of the body during the steps sideward.
This is a round dance, performed mainly by middle-aged men and women. They dance in a circle, sometimes opening the circle. The handhold is by little fingers, the palms are held on the level of the shoulders, the tempo is moderate, the rhythm is even.
The dancing steps are:
1.A step to the left with the left foot, making a swaying movement of the body to the left.
2.Join the right foot to the left taking the weight of the body and making a swaying movement of the body to the right.
3,4 and 5, 6 steps are the corresponding repetition of the first two steps.
7. Repeat the first step
8. Making a right turn twitch the right foot, slanting it to the right by 45 degrees
9. Making a left turn twitch the left foot, slanting it to the left by 45 degrees
10. Repeat step 8
11. With the body bent forward, make a step forward with the right foot.
12. With the body bent forward, make a step forward with the left foot.
13. Spinning on the left toe, draw up, at the same time transferring the body weight on the right foot.
14. Twitch the left foot, slanting it to the left by 45 degrees.