Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 10.COM 10.b.5

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Armenia has nominated Kochari, traditional group dance (No. 01079) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Kochari is a type of traditional group dance widely performed throughout Armenia during holidays, pilgrimages, national festive celebrations, weddings and family ceremonies. The dance is open to all participants without restrictions on sex, age or social status, with the number of dancers dependent on the available space. The musical accompaniment is played on traditional wind and percussion instruments while the dancers hold hands and move in unison in a straight or curved line, their feet making light steps and knees bending in time with their shoulders. Each region has its own variation of Kochari, which is distinguished by its melody and the manner of the dancing. Kochari is one of the few traditional folk dances, which is especially popular among youth, who perceive it as an expression of unity and national solidarity. In many villages, adults’ and children's groups are considered the main practitioners of the dance. Kochari is transmitted mainly among families. Young people learn the techniques at weddings and celebrations, as well as through formal and informal education in traditional folk ensembles and professional educational institutions.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criterion:

R.1:   Kochari group dance provides a sense of identity; it is transmitted to younger generations in families and through a range of non-formal and formal settings; there are no restrictions of age or sex or social status, all the people in a given community or event participate in the dance; it is performed during holidays, pilgrimage, festive celebrations, weddings and other social festivities; it is performed in urban and rural communities.

  1. Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria are satisfied:

R.2:   The nomination fails to demonstrate how inscription on the Representative List would contribute to ensuring visibility of the intangible cultural heritage in general and awareness of its significance; all efforts are directed to Kochari itself, its community and national identity in the homeland and diaspora;

R.3:   Ongoing and planned activities are oriented primarily to promotion, without paying enough attention to possible unintended consequences of the inscription such as over-commercialization of the dance or its prioritization over other elements, and without measures that would help the viability of specific variants in family and local context; the role of the communities concerned needs to be more clearly delineated and better differentiated from the role of the submitting State;

R.4:   The evidence of community participation and consent is insufficient, in particular taking into account that the whole nation is said to identify itself strongly with the dance; the nomination reveals a distinctly top-down organization in the nomination process and reflects a limitation of practitioners to organizations and ensembles that reside in the capital city; all free, prior and informed consent documents bear these characteristics;

R.5:   The information on the element’s inclusion in an inventory is incomplete, in particular regarding community participation in the identification and definition of the element, and the regular updating of the inventory.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Kochari, traditional group dance to the State Party for additional information and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
  2. Recommends the State Party, if it wishes to resubmit the nomination, to keep the information coherent and clear and to avoid repetition and generalities.