Repatriates Assembly

The art of dance is a spiritual ambassador of society

Interview with a talented and professional dancer who presented the Kazakh dance to the world

As V.A. Sukhomlynsky once said, “Dancing is a great form of art. It is definitely a true fact that glorious art is not only seen with the eyes, but it is also felt with the heart. Art is a tool for educating moral and intelligent people”. Every year, there are more people who are interested in the art of dance. April 29 was marked as International Dance Day around the world and in our country as well. In this regard, a correspondent of portal decided to interview a talented dancer, winner of many competitions, choreographer, master of the art of dancing, and chief dancer of the Presidential Orchestra, Assel Alibekova.

Assel's arrival to the art of dance

Assel Alibekova was born in 1991, in Aktobe region. She mastered the art of dancing at the age of four and started to introduce our country to the world since her children's ages. At the age of 11, she appeared on the big stage and held her first creative concert. Assel has been dancing since her childhood. Her name has been acknowledged around the foreign countries too. Her colleagues from near and far abroad call her the “Dancer without Generations”. She is the only artist in Kazakhstan who can dance in the style of Chinese dance.

With the purpose of improving her professional skills, the talented dancer moved to Astana from Aktobe in 2000. Assel enrolled and attended the dance school of talented and famous dancer Shugyla Sapargalikyzy. After completing this school, she entered the choreographic school named after A. Seleznov in Almaty. Upon graduating from high school, Assel received several invitations. It is obviously true that the talented dancer wished to continue her studies. Due to that, she graduated with First Class Honors in 2010 and won the Grand Prix at an international competition in Sochi the same year. During her visit to the Russian city, the world-famous masters evaluated Assel's skills, and the dancer was offered a scholarship at the French Academy of Arts “Stage international de danse du Plessis”. She graduated with honors from this institution and returned to the motherland in 2011.

Nowadays, Assel Alibekova is the chief dancer of the Presidential Orchestra under the State Security Service. Her mother has always supported her throughout her entire dancing career and suggested her to start dancing at an early age.

- “There is no doubt that I am very curious and interested in the art of dancing. From an early age, I was fascinated by watching various performances. When I was a child, my parents immediately noticed my talent and brought me to the dance club, saying: “This girl will definitely become a dancer”. My mother was the first person who observed my talent and took me to the dance ensemble at the Schoolchildren's Palace in Aktobe City. In general, 90% of my achievements are due to my mother. Her destiny was not that easy. However, she became a young widow, she could have raised us without wings or beaks. Despite my father's absence, she had accompanied me to all competitions in our country and abroad. though she left everything in my hometown, and moved to the capital with me. Due to my own curiosity, interest, abilities, the efforts of my mother, teachers, and my hard work, I could have accomplished this level by now”, - Assel Alibekova said.

When it comes to the choreographers, Gulnara Vakhitovna Baigeldinova was the first teacher who opened the door to the world of dance for little Assel. She also made a huge contribution to the international and world competitions. Her another professional teacher is Shugyla Sapargalikyzy. She gave the dancer a great school and experience in her dancing activities. Then, Gainikamal Nikhmetzhanovna, a direct student of Shara Zhienkulova at the Almaty Choreographic School, made a great endowment to the dancer as well.

- “It is a great honor for me to learn from these choreographers. Then, I have learned a lot from many other masters of dance such as Svetlana Magnitovna, Zulfiya Galyamovna, Anvar Aripovna Sadykova”, - Assel noted.

Another great experience in Assel's life is attending the Academy of Arts in Paris. Since her dancing classes were carried out in another direction, the dancer exposed herself from a different angle. In general, the types of dances she learned were mostly contemporary, classics dance, neo-choreographic, and hip-hop too.

- “In general, I think the dancers should be versatile. Nowadays, the choreography does not stay in one place. Many types of dances are continuing to develop. I made a lot of collaborations, experiments, and learned from many different professionals”, - Assel stated.

The dancer`s cooperation with her native hometown

Since the dancer was born and grew up in Aktobe region, she has the connections with her native hometown as well. If the news comes from the West region, she always feels excited and glad. After all, a native residence is very warm-blooded for every artist.

- “Yes, of course, there is cooperation with my homeland. My hometown is always warm to me. My place of birth has a special place in my life. My heart always melts differently in Aktobe. I maintain good communication with my first dance mentor. We always send greetings and congratulatory videos to each other”, - the dancer emphasized.

Exactly 20 years ago, an 11-year-old Assel organized her first solo concert, “Shashu”, at the drama theater named after Tahawi Akhtanov in Aktobe. Although not every year, but she tries to keep a track with her hometown once in 2 or 3 years.

- “As part of the “Spiritual Revival” program, I toured Aktobe back in 2019. At that time, Berdibek Saparbayev was the akim of the region. This person provided me with good support and an opportunity. In general, I gave about 20 concerts all over the region”, - Assel noted.

Despite the curvature of the road, the dancer visited all regions of Aktobe, where she shared her experience and knowledge in the master classes for the teenagers and young children who participate in dance clubs in the district.

- “I encouraged little children to take part in my master classes and observe my talent. The little ones also performed at the stage with me, and participated at such kind of event”, - a talented dancer highlighted.

In general, Assel Alibekova, who has always bowed to her homeland, is always highly appreciated and welcomed by the citizens of Aktobe. It is crystal clear that that her guest performances will not stop here, and the large-scale creative concerts will be organized in the future.  

Bright achievements of the dancer

Last year marked a very significant date for the entire Kazakhstani population: the thirtieth anniversary of independence. Assel Alibekova is considered the Independence's peer of the same age. In addition, the professional and talented dancer has achieved a lot of accomplishments in her job and personal life over the last 30 years. In addition to the art of dancing, Assel's greatest status in life is that she has become a loving wife and mother of three children.

- “The greatest achievement I have made in 30 years is getting married and becoming a mother of three children. I got married in 2011 after returning from Paris. My husband is from Almaty. Now we live in Nur-Sultan. Today, we are raising and nurturing three adorable daughters. It is such a great honor for me. There is always a new breath and a force appears. In addition, looking at the children, such qualities as inspiration and motivation begin to cultivate in their lives. If my children choose a path of art, I would have no objections to it”, - Assel Alibekova mentioned.

Besides that, one of the greatest accomplishments of the dancer is the winning of the award “Youth of the Capital – 2019”. Therefore, Assel is the first herald of the Kazakh folk dance who was awarded an “Appreciation letter” at the personal reception of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Assel Alibekova did not complete her activities here. Other than this, she took part in the International Choreographic Festival-Competition “Dance Olympics” in Berlin and won a silver medal in the nomination “National Dance”. There are 600 dancers from 35 countries who took part at the festival. Assel performed a dance learned by Gainikamal Bissenova there.

Along with the annual presidential orchestras, Assel was the first dancer to perform in the “Spasskaya Tower competition” at Moscow's Red Square and danced the Kazakh dance.

If we list Assel's big awards, they include a letter of appreciation from the Head of the State Security Service of Kazakhstan, a diploma from the akim of Aktobe region, and a special recognition letter from the deputies of the Moscow State Duma.

The dancer's concert tours in the country and abroad

In general, Assel Alibekova is a talented dancer who seeks to promote the traditional Kazakh art of dance through her solo dance evenings and master classes. She tried to form a national brand through the art of dance, to epoch and raise it to the podium. Moreover, the professional dancer has performed 25 solo concerts, named “Shashu”.

- “So far, I have performed in the Pavlodar and Ekibastuz regions. There are goals and ideas to go elsewhere and present the dance concerts in private. In previous years, there have been pandemics and quarantine restrictions. The concerts are just starting to appear now. We are planning to organize the concerts in the future too”, - a professional dancer in her field specified.

This year marks the 25th anniversary since Assel has started her dancing activities on the stage. In this regard, Assel Alibekova is planning to organize her individual solo concert in Nur-Sultan.

In addition, a beautiful dancer has repeatedly promoted the Kazakh dance abroad and won prizes from foreign countries. Assel is one of the most talented dancers in the world, who travelled overseas and scheduled her own concerts.

- “When I go abroad, I bring the national dances. After all, the national diet amazes many foreigners. There is no doubt that foreigners are very curious about our dances. What a special gesture we have. Sometimes the viewers come to me, hold my hand, and ask questions like: “Do you have the bones?” People are also very interested in costumes. Our costumes are rich in jewelry”, - Assel said.

In general, the art of the East is in great demand in the West. If the audience can't grasp one of the elements of the dance, they come after the concert and keep asking the performer. They are fascinated by our clothes and jewelry, as well as the exotica of our Kazakh dance. It is certainly true that if people from other countries become more involved in our Kazakh-style products, then we will be happy. 

Dances from Assel's repertoire

Currently, the dancer's repertoire includes more than 20 dances. Assel is a talented dancer who performs various dances and brings out different images.

- “Since we are related to the eastern nations, we will be close to oriental dances. In particular, I mostly dance Uyghur and Uzbek dances. The more oriental people are in our blood, the more oriental dances we have. But I do not stay in the same position. I continue to develop the dances and always search for something new. Also, I work with the directors in order to create a new dance. Currently, we have Almat Sherdaruly Shamshiev in Astana. We maintain a good relationship with him. This public figure represents my dances as well, and I am always looking for music. Usually, I search for music from talented guys and women. In particular, in my current repertoire, I use the music of the ensemble “Hassak” a lot”, - a talented dancer mentioned.

In addition, Assel Alibekova is the only artist in Kazakhstan who can perform in the style of Chinese dance. Chinese dance is a very difficult and complex type of art. Its technical structures are also tough.

- “Performing the dance in the Chinese style was implemented successfully due to my dancing teacher, Shugyla Sapargalikyzy. With a lot of effort and hard work, I managed to learn this dance from her. It took me a month to learn the only one element of Chinese national dance, “How to turn a towel with my fingers”. If you don't have great agility and speed, you will be scattered in a matter of seconds. During the dance, I was afraid that I would lose my scarf. But, eventually, everything was done and turned out well”, - Assel stated.

She demonstrated this dance in front of the President of the People's Republic of China, Hu Jintao. This man assessed her with a very high rating and gave a round of applause. Furthermore, the Chinese leader came and praised the dancer. Even the most famous dancers in Beijing were amazed until today.

On the whole, there are dancers and directors in choreography. In terms of staging, Assel would like to expose herself further. Also, she dreams of helping other dancers by presenting her own dances, if she will have the opportunity in the future.

- “My own stage directions are performed by other choreographers. We also have a creative team. Altynbek Ermukhan is the person who makes my costumes. When he goes on stage, he takes out my costumes for each dancer and selects them in accordance with their color. This is a general, very deep, and complex task. It doesn't take just 1-2 days, sometimes it goes on for 2 months”, - she claimed.

A dancer's career in the President's orchestra

Through her hard work and perseverance, without anyone's support, Assel Alibekova reached the position of chief dancer of the Presidential Orchestra under the State Security Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is a great acknowledgement and honor for Kazakhstani artists, as well as a true reflection of the Kazakhstani dream.

- “Working in the President's Orchestra is a great honor for me. I perform among great artists. It is a big responsibility for me to perform on the big stage of our country and for the special guests at every event. All I can say is that I am proud of myself. Being in the military environment probably has its own benefits, like serving here makes artists more disciplined. And, one of the useful sides is that you can retire early. At the current time, I have a military rank because I am a senior sergeant”, - Assel stated emphatically. 

Expressing different emotions through the art of dance

As Aristotle once stated, “Dance is a manifestation of a pure rhythm that reflects the behavior, inner world, and actions of the people”. This is because when people make movements, a rhythmic image usually corresponds to the emotional state that caused it.

- “In common, dance has become a part of my life, I express my heart through dance. Also, due to the art of dance, our bodies are like our own instruments, everything can be shown through this talent. Even with facial expressions and everything that can be proved by choreography. What is going on inside us?”, - female dancer specified.

Assel's repertoire also includes dances dedicated to her father. It was a tragedy for her to lose her father at the age of four. The dance to the music of Assylbek Yensepov, called “Father's Dream”, has been very heartbreaking and touching.

- “It was a very emotional death for me to lose my father as a child. There are times when I regret a lot that he did not see my success. Sometimes, when I think of my father, I imagine that he is looking at me now, and I cry as usual. In general, I think that people who know my feelings will understand it”, - Assel Alibekova highlighted.

However, Assel realized as a child that she had lost her father's place and began to understand the bitterness of life. From the moment she grew up as a student and took the reins of her life, she didn`t fail at all. After all the obstacles and difficulties she went through, the talented dancer always had motivation and was involved in the field of arts.

Many people believe that a girl needs patience, perseverance, and inspiration to promote herself in the field of dance. And so, Assel often inherits these qualities from her children and the environment.

- “Of course, the art of dancing requires a lot of responsibility and tolerance. There are times when you just can't hide from getting tired. I often get inspiration from my little ones at home. Best of all, I try to be inspired by listening to music and watching movies. For example, even when I see a good wife, I am just overwhelmed. Most of all, I am inspired by beauty”, - she pointed out.

The art of dancing is different from other talents

According to Assel Alibekova, the art of dancing has many differences from other arts. This is because when a person dances, it is necessary to keep fit and always stay in shape.

- “Overall, it is not only regarded by the dancers, but all artists in various fields should keep a dietary invoice. As for the dancers, being overweight causes a big challenge and problems. In short, the art of dance differs from other arts in that the child not only spends his free time effectively, but also contributes to the proper formation of the body”, - Assel added.

In addition, dancing gives a person a good mood, cultivates agility and patience, and nurtures beauty, balance and grace. It forms a general culture. Dancing can not only strengthen the muscles, but it can also enhance the immune system.

Assel's activities in the dance club

There is no doubt that dancing is a very popular art form. Moreover, each art has a special place in a child's life. It would not be wrong to say that the art of dance plays a very important role in a child's life. There are different areas of dance for the careful person. In this sense, Assel Alibekova proves herself as a choreographer. Currently, she teaches dance at the Binom school in Nursultan.

- “It has only been three months since I joined the dance club at Binom school. There are three groups in this institution. The first group consists of students in the preparatory class, the second group includes students in forms 2 to 3, and the third one consists of students in the upper grades. The students in the group are capable and young. Because there are a lot of girls who are interested in dance”, - female dancer noted.

A proper teaching of dance is provided to bring up our history, traditions and national music. Dance is a powerful art that enriches an inner world and purifies the soul of the human.

- “Children and students like to perform on stage in beautiful clothes. The stage is sacred, and it inspires children to go there and be applauded by the audience. A child gains confidence on the stage. Now, we are preparing for a big concert dedicated to International Dance Day. There will be a big concert”, - a professional dancer clarified.

The influence of dance on personality formation has specific benefits in the development of students' interest in art, passion for life, and enthusiasm for their job and career.

- “Nowadays, children are very engaged in ballet and dance. Of course, children also tend to dance to the creations of different nationalities. I often prefer to dance the Kazakh national dances. Then, my direction in dance is to promote and cultivate the national dances, and not to forget our national dance for future generations”, - Assel Alibekova said.

Students not only learn to dance other nationalities' dances. It is clear that it is difficult for children to imitate the dances and customs of each nation. That is why the art of dancing requires a lot of hard work.

Assel Alibekova's advice to dancers on the occasion of International Dance Day:

According to Assel Alibekova's advice, people who are more interested in dance in the first position should not give up on their dreams, they just need to move forward and learn. Due to perseverance, the goal can still be achieved.

- “If you really love to dance, you can achieve great success. It also needs to be comprehensive. For example, you can attend dance clubs and participate in competitions. Now, there are many directions it could go. A classic is the essence of the art of dance. There are also many exercises that need to be done in the bidet. Just a proper stretch requires gymnastics”, - a talented female dancer clarified.

In addition, the professional dancer recommends visiting the Kazakh National Academy of Choreography in Nur-Sultan to those who want to pursue a career in dancing. People who are passionate about this type of art can go there and improve their skills. Therefore, this academy has excellent opportunities for the children, pupils, and students.

- “My advice to people who want to dance and connect their lives with this talent in the future: just don`t stay in one place, but keep practicing. Dancing is all about effort. All success can be achieved only through hard work”, - Assel added.

In conclusion, it is the duty of every person to master and propagate the values ​​that form the basis of the national identity of the Kazakh people. In any field of art, homage to the homeland determines the direction of the future. Assel Alibekova is a bright example of curiosity and great talent for amateurs who would like to succeed in art!

 (The pictures were captured by the photographer and derived from the personal archive of the dancer)