Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

A Mongolian Waltz

I asked for a translation for the Mongolian name of this song, Уран Хас, (sounds like Oran Hoss) which I have heard many times since I've been here. The answer I got (artistic swastika) was not convincing enough that I thought I had it right, though I was persuaded, despite the uncertainty of its title, that it is a song about love. So I'm still asking around. While I am looking, I am just calling it A Mongolian Waltz. Here it is, set to dance. I asked where Mongolians learned to dance so well, and was told that they learn in secondary school.

As with everything else here, what you see is not so simple. This traditional music, that I am told was written by a Mongolian composer, has a Russian feel to it. It is being played between Gandam and Techno Rock, with disco lights and formal gowns. I am at one of five New Years parties that we have attended, either together or individually. In addition to ringing in the new year, they are held to celebrate the students in our different departments and majors, many of whom will return to their gers when the party ends.

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Уран Хас

This is the second of four New Year's parties where I filmed dancers dancing to this waltz. The circumstances of each were different. Here the personalities and movement made this one-shot piece fit together on screen as well as the music and dance did at the party. In truth I caught it because I had not yet turned my camera off after the previous, different, New Year's waltz. I was just hoping my battery would last till the end. Read the story…