A Celebration of Thanks and Dance
The Itelmen, one of the most ancient peoples of Kamchatka, call this holiday Alkhalalalai which is traditionally celebrated on the last weekend of September. This year it was celebrated on September 25-26th in the Itelmen village Pimchakh.
The celebration’s climax was the beginning of the dance marathon – called the unofficial world championship of dance for northern peoples. The celebration’s MC, Oleg Zaporotsky, introduced the participants, who were preparing to dance all night and into the morning, with great respect. Last year the marathon lasted 15 hours and 45 minutes, and this year the participants were determined to break the record. The pairs danced beautifully and with great energy. They did not worry about saving energy; rather it seemed that their exertion increased with each move. And it was unsurprising that the spectators actively supported the dancers – shouting encouragement, singing along with the musicians, and dancing along with the participants.