[Culture] Apiso-Nut: A traditional dance of Hunza


Members of the Hunza Band performing Apiso-Nut in Karachi.

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  1. Heard it for the first time. Can anyone briefly tell us about this particular dance. As far as we know the people belonging from GB have the same style of dancing with petty differences. This type of dance seems unique in its nature.

  2. Agreed Asim.

    Probably Burushaski Speaking brothers/sisters can explain the history, significance and other characteristics of this catchy cultural dance.


  3. Our culture is our indendity, i cordially appreciate all these guys for their wonderful performing and sustaining this unique / anciant style of Hunza dance.

  4. This specific dance originated from altit village which was the ancient capital of hunza. The dance consisted of 12 musical tunes each tune having different style of dance. This performance usually performed during several festivals like “bo fow”. There were 7 festivals celebrated in hunza. this can be verified by the elders. The performers were chosen from altit valley. This was tradition to chose from altit.

    The information given above is based on the information i received from the elders. But still i would appreciate any correction.

  5. Nice performance by the group of hunza band ,i had been part of this group from 1997 to 2002 ,in so many occasions i performed this dance with the is actually dance of central Hunza ,but the members of Aga khan Hunza band are belongs to different parts of district Gilgit and all of the members are taking part in this dance


  6. Never heard of this dance before. I don’t think this is part of our cultural. For the moment let put aside whether its good performance or bad. But we also should give more emphasis on our true culture. Not just adopting some weird dance and representing it as the culture of Hunza. Kindly stop cashing out fame in name of Culture, we Hunzukutz have took this culture thing to far extent.
    Donot forget our true identity. our true culture is how our forefathers used to live in peace and harmony with people around them, sharing every good and bad times. Are we still following these things…look around you

  7. This dance was an integral part of our culture was necessarily performed by the dancers from Alfit. it was usually performed on the occasion of “Bow Faow” (plowing occasion). It needs utmost attention and skills. I doubt that we have some masters of this dance now left except a few in Altit. Even the musicians cannot play all the 12 wonderful tunes now.

  8. @Karim:
    Before commenting on “your cultural matrix” and “knowledge” about our aforesaid style of Hunza Dance, I would appreciate if you please tress through the history books or contact any elder as well as we need to understand the dimensions of culture which encompasses not only harmony, peace but it covers a broader spectrum of traditions, our living system and our social interactions in modes of happiness, sorrows and festivity. Weather it,s good or bad, it,s a fact that it,s an integral part of our culture and we need to make arrangements to preserve our culture.

  9. I agree with Riaz and Eng. Farman sb. There are many dimensions of our cultural heritage. No doubt these traditional dances performed in various occasions are part of our culture. When we talk of ” culture” we specifically assume the dances, tunes, dress and language. But we forget the true essence of culture, and that is ” respect for the elders” which is lacking in our modern society. We have experienced in many occasions like our cultural shows that our youth some times rather often disturbs the peaceful atmosphere of the occasions. One should keep in mind that a true civilized society is based on the respect and harmony among the all segments of the society.

  10. Yap- I would support Ali Misofer’s view. In a fire camp with fellow pathans. I saw them doing almost the same. and I think this style dance is rooted in their culture. I didn’t seen it in our culture. Need to clarify that How it become a part of our culture?

  11. Dear Brother,

    This dance is centuries old and has been performed by the locals. The tunes are totally different from khatak dance tunes and the various dance items are totally different. Is there any clue on which you are making basis and claiming it to be from khatak dance?. If you had an experience of watching this sort of traditional item you would never say this. This is what the need of the time is that our youth should know our traditions.

  12. @Ali Musofer:
    Please do,t assume based on what these guys put on costumes, that it’s a copy of kathak pathans, for your kind info & the fact is our region got interaction with Pashtu area in fifties or later, but our this style of dance is more ancient, if u watch any pathan kathak dance, u will find an no resemblance between these two style.

  13. @Ali Musofer,
    Brother i don’t know why are you insisting to prove that this dance is copied from pathans. If you assume on the basis of the costumes , now a days costumes are used without distinction of where they belong, i think you have seen khatak dance not api-cho-nat. If you have heard or seen this type of dance. Any how please correct information on the basis of facts not assumptions.

  14. Ali Musafer got a point. the jackets are typical of dance of Khattaks. to make it more colorful we added some bands in the hands of dancers. To feel something as culture we need not to engage consciously, rather it comes naturally to us as we offer while greeting. many people from central hunza also inquired about this dance. this shows that it disappeared long ago fromour lands. Cultural practices are linked with the material conditions of the time. with the change in times the practices also lose their touch with the very society that sustains it. this is case with the dance under discussion. Culture is not what our ancestors used to do. it is what we do. We are interacting on web blogs, use mobile phones, travel in vehicle, wear jeans etc. all these modern acts are signs of culture created by contemporary generation. our ancestors did not do these things. it means their culture was different because the way of life and world view was different. the world view and life style change, so do our culture. the apiso nut is a relic of past existed in someones memory and translated into act for the consumption of cultural industry. nothing more nothing less. this is the reality.

  15. @ Mr Karim at #6: This is not “some weird dance”, this has been a part of Hunzokutx Cultural Dance for a long time, but you appear ignorant about it.

    @ Mr. Sherazi at #9: Neither the amalgam of Music, Dance and Language cover all aspects of Culture, Nor does the “respect for the elders” all by itself. You’ve put in your two cents in a way that suggests that Respect For Elders is the main essence of Culture, well, It is one part of the culture, just like how Music or Dress or Food is.

    @ Mr Musofer at #10: How often do you engage in critical thought? You’ve seen pictures, you should see it in motion. it differs from Khattak Dance.

    @ Mr Khameto at #15: I agree with the second part of your comment, but not exactly with how you’ve propped Musafer’s comment. They are exhibiting dance, so we should rather focus on crediblity of dance here, if they had claimed it to be an exhibition of cultural dance “and” dress, you could’ve possibly and validly challenged it. Right now your question should be, why didn’t they exhibit their cultural dress simultaneously with the exhibition of dance, instead of questioning the origin of the dress they are wearing.

  16. its really a praise worthy job being done by our youth, it not only shows our tradition, it uncovers the unity, and the passion of people towards their culture, it delivers a message through it self to the up coming generation to preserve their identity which is un compromisable. .Best of luck !

  17. i heard that this dance was started after the war against Dogra Raj, when the local people get rid of Dogra Raj. There is a message in this dance and that is the message of unity, every member in this dance perform same action collectively that means they all are united. The dance consisted of 12 musical tunes each tune having different style of dance.

  18. there are still some musicians can play all the tunes of, BOFO,dance.Mr Ali gohar(dadan maser)from momin abad is the master of all old traditional music tunes.there is no subtitute of Ali gohar in(dadan music).A Young musician (surnai and flute master)(Mr.Karim Quttoshi) from Altit is also master all old HUNZA traditional music,he can play more then 200 taditional music tunes, these two artists are the assence our culture.

  19. Dear Sultan Sb,

    The dogra raaj ended in 1948. This dance is centuries old. Any dance in the world has its roots deep in her society and this is the essential part of celeberations. It has nothing to do with end of Dogra raaj.

    Attention All readers and writers of Pamir Times: is a plateform where the truth should be spoken, written and listened. One should not provide a wrong information just to kill the time. Information provided by the viewers and readers should be based on authenticity not personal like and dislikes. The management of Pamir times should give her editorial on the comments by the readers.

  20. the dress and action, these two things are totally shows the khatak dance, but here no music so don’t know about? if it was the part of our culture why not it seen in any cultural shows in Hunza, even elders are alive not seen this dance before in history?

  21. Dear Sherazi,
    Dont try to be dispenser of ultimate truth. He said according to his knowledge. His wrong observation does not make your comments truthful. Internet is not just for information but also for time pass.

  22. Dear Brother Khameto,

    I dont and i dont need to be dispenser of ultimate truth, your are taking my comments in wrong direction pls correct your perception. This is a place where readers are sharing knowledge, ideas and opinions with other readers not imposing them. But correction of knowledge or infomation is not a crime. if you have any information regarding any thing you are welcome but taking comments in negative sence is unjustifiable.

  23. In my humble understanding Api -Tso-e- Nut ,the dance of Api Tso, (Api in Balti language means grand father),actually came to Hunza from Baltistan.It is an improvised version of ancient Tibetan dance which dipicts strength of unity that brings vitory to a community over its enemies.It resembels Lotus (a sacred flower in Tibetan religion-Budhism)in its formation when watched from above.It was most likely borrowed from Balti culture through historical interaction of two cultural main streams, a testimony of which is the very names of Altit and Baltit Villages in Hunza and the architectural style of the two historic forts in the two villages that are said to have been built by Balti artisans. A simillar but a much slower version of this dance still servives in Baltistan to help trace its origion.I have personally witnessed it being performed by a group of dancers on the occasion of Jashn-e-Ganche at Kapulo,Baltistan.I will ,however ,appriciate it if some one come up with a better exlpanation based on research.

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