Diyarbekir/Dikranagerd - Shoushan and Halay (dances)

09/05/23 (Last modified 09/05/23)

This section of our website aims to document and share performances of various traditional Armenian dances that have been preserved by Diasporan communities in the United States. To this end, Houshamadyan is partnering and collaborating with a group of Armenian dance experts who have produced appropriate dance notations for documentation. This group consists of Carolyn Rapkievian (of Bar Harbor, Maine), Susan and Gary Lind-Sinanian (of Watertown, Massachusetts), Tom Bozigian (of Los Angeles, California), and Robert Haroutunian (Sunyside, NY).


Armenian immigrants in the US coming from Diyarbekir/Dikranagerd sang and danced this song with its accompanying dance. "Shoushan" is a female Armenian name meaning "Lily".

Formation and music: Dancers interlock little fingers in an open circle with the leader on the right. The dance moves forward and back but does not progress left or right. The music is in a 4/4 rhythm. The dance is three measures in length while the musical phrase is four measures.

"Shoushaneh", a related dance in six measures, is danced in present-day Diyarbakir.

"Shoushan" is usually followed by the Halay from Dikranagert.

Source: Armenian Folk Dance Society of New York.

Halay from Lidje, Dikranagerd

The dance Halay (called Haleh in some provinces) was danced throughout Western Armenia and continues to be popular in diaspora communities today. There are many different versions of the Halay from the different regions.  The Halay/Haleh is related to the dance Kotchari often found in Eastern Armenia. The Halay was generally a men's dance in historic times, featuring strong, heavy movements but today is danced in mixed lines.  The music is in a 4/4 rhythm. 

The Ljedtsi Halay was from the town of Lidje in the northern part of the province of Dickranagert.  In this particular Halay, the arms are around the back at the waist in an open circle or line.

Source: Armenian Folk Dance Society of New York

Shoushan and Halay Dances | Demonstration and Tutorial