Mairam Govand

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

Alternative Names 'Mairam Govand' is a transcription of the name of the song by Shakeh.
'Govand' is the generic name of this dance. 'Gyovand' an alternative transcription by Dalila Heath.
Formation Circle. W-hold.
Dance Structure Short sequence repeated throughout the music.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar. 3, 4 or 5 bars/phrase depending on tune used.
Music Speed 90 counts/min.
Source 3 & 4 bar versions from Shakeh Avanessian at her Armenian day course in Little Bealings, Suffolk, 2004. 5 bar version from Shakeh Avanessian (then called Shakeh Major Tchilingirian) during The Centrepiece online Circle Dance arranged by Findhorn in May 2020.

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 Shakeh Avanessian.

A very gentle ancient Armenian wedding dance. It is traditionally danced 7 times around the newly married couple as they stand forehead to forehead in the centre.

It has a gentle but noticeable down-up knee bounce on every count. As steps take 2 counts, this is a double bounce on every step. In steps & touches, the moving foot contacts the ground in the first count so neither bounce goes up with the foot raised (which would look like a lift & not suit the gentleness of this dance). The bounces have more of anundulating feel (a continuous sinusoid superimposed on the other motions) than a sequence of isolated bounces because they flow into one another. Officially it has only 2 beats per bar with 2 bounces per beat but I find it easier to count in 4s with 1 bounce per count so I have written it here as 4 counts per bar.

There are lots of traditional variations to this with the numbers of steps, sways & touches adapted to fit different lengths of phrases of different tunes. The main one here is a 4 bar version. According to Shakeh's notes the fundamental one is the 3 bar version (which is like this one minus the sways and so is essentially a ubiquitous Balkan Pravo Horo) but the 4 bar version is the one I first wrote down from the workshop and it fits commoner 4-bar phrased tunes. For yet more versions and lots of background information see the booklet 'Gorani: Traditional Dances from the Armenian Homeland' by Shakeh Avanessian & Laura Shannon.

Style: Low graceful steps with feet fairly flat but with the balls of feet initially taking the weight. Graceful upright stance. Armenian W-hold has elbows about 10 cm out from the sides & about 10 cm infront of where they would be if the upper arms were vertically down, the forearms horizontal & straight forwards and the wrists bent 90 deg backwards so palms face forwards and fingers point up but curled. Hand hold has ones R hand palm to back of next person's L hand (from moving thither from normal V-hold without releasing).


Start at the beginning of any phrase (traditionally dancers join & leave ad hoc).

4-bar version: Whole sequence

Summary: R side, L across infront, R side. Touch L infront, sway L, R, L, touch R infront. Double bounces throughout.

Start Facing the centre. W-hold.
1-2 R to the side with a double bounce.
3-4 L across infront with a double bounce.
1-2 R to the side with a double bounce.
3-4 Touch ball of L foot to ground infront, without weight transfer, with a double bounce. (It is about 40 cm forwards with heel about 1 cm off the ground or less.)
1-2 L to the side (about hips' width apart from R foot) swaying to the L with a double bounce. The sway is not a lean but a lateral motion of the hips & torso to the side (with, optionally, a slight hip lead so the upper body, if it leans at all, leans away from the direction of sway).
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 in mirror image (sway R with a double bounce).
1-2 Repeat bar 3 counts 1-2 (sway L with a double bounce).
3-4 Repeat bar 2 counts 3-4 in mirror image (touch R infront with a double bounce).

3-bar version: Whole sequence

Summary: Pravo Horo.

As the 4-bar version but without the pure sways, i.e. omit bar 3 counts 3-4 & bar 4 counts 1-2. This reduces it to the same steps as the ubiquitous Pravo (but with the double bounce styling retained).

5-bar version: Whole sequence

Summary: Bars 1-2 as 4-bar version. L forwards, R touch infront. R backwards, L touch infront L close, R touch infront.

Start Facing the centre. W-hold.
1-2 As 4-bar version bars 1-2 (R side, L across infront, R side, L touch infront with double bounces).
1-2 L step forwards with a double bounce.
3-4 Touch ball of R foot to ground infront, without weight transfer, with a double bounce.
1-2 R step backwards to original circle line with a double bounce.
3-4 L touch infront (which is where the foot currently is) with a double bounce.
1-2 L step close with a double bounce.
3-4 R touch infront with a double bounce.