[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Alternative Names 'Lourke' is a Latin transcription of the name.
'Loorke' is an alternative Latin transcription.
'Lorke' is another alternative Latin transcription.
'Loorké' is another alternative Latin transcription.
Pronunciation Both 'Lur-keh' & 'Loo-kay' (with 'e' as neutral vowel and 'oo' as in 'book') are authentic.
Formation Open circle. Close W-hold by little fingers.
Dance Structure (A1 + B1 + C1 + D1) repeated throughout slow music.
(A2 + B2 + C2 + D2) repeated throughout fast.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 4 bars/phrase. 4 (slow) and 6 (fast) beats/bar.
Music Speed Typically 90 to 130 counts/min.
Source Shakeh Avanessian at her Armenian day course in Cecil Sharp House, London, 2002. Dalila Heath at the Eastbourne International Folk Festival 2002. Gagik Mekhitaryan at his day course in Westerfield, near Ipswich, 1999.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught by an Armenian folk dance teacher such as Shakeh Avanessian, Dalila Heath or Gagik Mekhitaryan.

A popular, but not trivial, traditional Armenia dance. It often has a playful atmosphere to the music and is amusing to those learning the dance in trying to get the directions of the arms & feet right in Part B.

Every Armenian dance teacher whom I've been to a class in the UK by has had one or more versions of this dance in their teaching repertoire and I've been taught versions by 4 of them. The versions here are all generically the same but the music, stylings & timings varied. I include 3 here: Dalila's because it works as a basic one for teaching & casual partying; Shakeh's because of its showy syncopated stamping (albeit that only works with hard heeled dance shoes); and Gagik's because the speed variation is entertaining.

The name either derives from the Armenian word for 'quail', because of the bird-like head motions in Part B, or 'cradle', because of the bouncing motions in Parts A & B.

The music can be middling or fast & with 4 or 6 beats/bar. Typically the 6 beats/bar version is used for the faster sections of the music if the speed varies. I find it easier to count both as 4 counts/bar than worry about official music time signature: for 4 beats/bar music, the counts used below simply match the beats "ONE two Three four"; for 6 beats/bar music, the extra beats fit the counts as "ONE-a two Three-a four", i.e. slow-quick-slow-quick. The slows fit the dance when going fast naturally because it gives times for the extra bouncing (particularly in Part D2 which has explicit additional hops).

Style: Light & fun. Emphasis on hand & head movements as well as feet. Bounces crisp on flat feet when music is slow, hoppy on balls of feet when the music is fast.


Summary: Part A coincides with "Lourke lourke".

Start the dancing so that the first step coincides with the beginning of a phrase where (if it is not purely instrumental music) 'Lourke' is sung. It depends on the music but typically a whole multiple of 4 bars from the start of the music.

Part A1

Summary: (Bounce down-up facing centre) x 4.

Start Facing centre. Close little fingers W-hold (own fingers of each hand pursed together). Feet together.
Feet Small bounce down by bending knees.
Hands Move in small (about fist size) semicircle forwards, down & backwards.
Feet Bounce back up by straightening knees.
Hands Continue backwards, up & forwards to complete the circle. (The hand circling emphasises the bounce down & up.)
2-4& Repeat counts 1-1& 3 more times (making 4 bounces with hand circles in total).

Part B1

Summary: Bounce facing R but arms L, bounce facing & arms centre. Mirror.

Start Facing centre. Close little fingers W-hold.
1 Repeat foot work of Part A count 1 (bounce down) but with face & feet pointing 25 deg diagonally R (by swivelling on heels) and arms straight horizontally L infront of next person to the L.
& Repeat foot work of Part A count 1& (bounce up) returning to face the centre
2-2& Repeat Part A count 2-2& (bounce down & up with hand circling).
3-4& Repeat counts 1-2& in mirror image (bounce down and up with face & feet diagonally L and arms R, bounce down & up facing centre).

Part C1

Summary: Touch R heel forwards with arms forwards, R close with arms W. Mirror.

Start Facing centre. Close little fingers W-hold.
Feet Touch R heel to ground to the side infront without weight.
Hands Arms out horizontally infront.
Feet Close R to L.
Hands Arms return in to close W-hold.
3-4& Repeat counts 1-2& in mirror image (touch L heel side infront with arms out, close L returning arms).

Part D1

Summary: Grapevine R starting R side & L across infront whilst swinging arms down & up.

Start Facing centre. Close little fingers W-hold.
Feet R to the side, L across infront, R to the side, L across behind.
Hands Arms swing down to straight & slightly back then swing up back to W-hold.

Parts A2, B2 & C2

Summary: Parts A1, B1 & C1 done jumpily.

The fast version of the these parts have the same steps as the slow versions but the bounces up become exaggerated into little jumps which come off the floor. This helps change direction fast enough in Part B. In Part C, these become a hop on the supporting foot as the other foot touches infront followed by a jump landing feet together.

Part D2

Summary: Part D1 with L hop before each R side (= Kertsi x 2).

A 'kertsi' is an Armenian hop-step-step. In this case 2 of them are used with the steps in a Grapevine pattern so, in this dance, it is simply another way of describing putting hops before steps 1 & 3 of the Grapevine of Part D1.

Start Facing centre. Close little fingers W-hold.
1 L hop.
& R to the side.
2 L across infront.
3 L hop.
& R to the side.
4 L across behind.
Arms Swing as in Part D1.

Although the counts of this appear quick-quick-slow "1 & 2", they are actually regular because the music will have changed from 4 to 6 beats/bar so Part D1 is essentially just Part D1 with hops inserted to use up the extra beats.

Version: Basic (Dalila 2002)

Summary: As above.

Dalila's version is the version detailed above. It did not speed up much and she did to both traditional Armenian folk music and modern Armenian pop music.

Version: Speed cycling (Gagik 1999)

Summary: Speed repeatedly cycles through slow to manic.

Gagik's version as detailed above but progressed from sedately slow to manically fast every 8 times through the sequence. It was of the form (A1 + B1 + C1 + D1) x 2 very slow & sedate then (A1 + B1 + C1 + D1) x 2 a bit faster & jollier then (A2 + B2 + C2 + D2) x 2 fast & jolly then (A2 + B2 + C2 + D2) x 2 manically fast & bouncy followed by immediately dropping back to the slowest speed. It is entertainingly humorous, especially in instant decelerations after the fast sections.

Version: Syncopated stamps (Shakeh 2002)

Summary: Part C touch & close becomes step, rear heel tap & stamp close. Additional ornamentation.

This version of Shakeh's was to traditional music (although she has set another to poppy music) which started off slowly and increased to lively (but not manic) pace by the end. Its difference from the version detailed above was extra ornamentation of Parts C & D2.

Part C had steps instead of touches and syncopated clicks from the heels when stepping back (which requires hard shoe heels to work audibly) and more hand motion.

1 Step R forwards raising L heel.
& Transfer weight back to L foot, sharply lowing L heel to making an audible tap.
2 Close R to L foot, making an audible tap with R heel.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 in mirror image (L forwards, R in place with tap, L close with tap).
Hands Arms as in Part C1 detailed above but also flick hands down by flexing the wrists when the arms have gone out forwards.

Part D2 more dramatic Kertsis: during the hop, rapidly raise the free leg with bent knee and twist it in from the hip across infront of the other leg briefly before returning it to step to the side.