OCA #22 SUMMER 2016 WWW.OCAMAGAZINE.COM

Despite being far from their motherland, Kazakh students in the UK are among the first to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Thus, the alliance of Kazakhs abroad “KazAlliance” organised an annual spring ball at Warwick University, one of the top universities in the UK. Young man and women dressed in Kazakh ethnic gowns were there to welcome the arriving guests attracted most of the attention, striking the imagination of the multicultural audience with unique and colourful style of their attire. The deputy ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the representatives of the Ministry of Education and the centre of international programmes “Bolashak” were also among the guests of the Warwick Ball. The ball was officially opened with a traditional “Shahu” ceremony, which is associated with great celebrations in Kazakh culture. The traditional performance of debutants accompanied by the Kazakh Waltz was incredibly beautiful and eye-catching, because they had been practicing for over a month prior to the event to hone skills they were honored to demonstrate that evening. Then followed a quiz on the history of Independent Kazakhstan and its outstanding personalities, such as Alikhan Bukeikhanov, Amir Kashaubayev, Hiuaz Dospanov and other big names who have hugely contributed to Kazakhstan’s gaining independence and promoted the image of the great Kazakh steppe. There was also a competition of future brides – “kelin”, where young ladies were to demonstrate the knowledge of Kazakh national customs and culture. As to young men, they participated in a powerlifting competition – “kotermek”. In the end everyone in the room, all the guests and participants performed an ancient nomad dance “Qara zhorga”. It is worth noting that previous Spring Ball of Kazakhs in the UK was dedicated to the 550th anniversary of Kazakh khanate and gathered over 130 guests from all over the UK.

text & photos by Yerkenaz Arinova