The performing arts such as theatre, dance, and music are traditionally in the centre of attention of both audiences and government in Azerbaijan. Therefore, it naturally finds its reflection in the state cultural policy. In particular, the Concept of the Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan (February 14, 2014), which is the framework document of the executive branch in the field of culture, pays considerable attention to the support of professional performing arts. For instance, main state strategies for the development of professional theatrical art presuppose:
- supporting creation of new works of high artistic value in various genres of theatrical art and broader and more effective use of state orders to ensure their stage embodiment, implementation of related programmes;
- to stimulate the preparation of performances in theatres, holding national and international level theatre festivals, competitions, ensuring the participation of theatre groups in these events, and so on.
There are 29 professional theatres in the country, including one opera and ballet theatre, 19 drama, musical comedy, and musical drama theatre, nine children’s and youth theatres. These professional theatres include the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Azerbaijan State Academic National Drama Theatre, Azerbaijan State Academic Musical Theatre, Azerbaijan State Academic Russian Drama Theatre, Azerbaijan State Theatre of Young Spectators, Azerbaijan State Puppet Theatre, Azerbaijan State Pantomime Theatre, etc.
The State Programme “Azerbaijan Theatre in 2009-2019 envisaged the formation of a new theatre policy and optimisation of management in the theatre process, support of young talents in all genres and professions of theatre; improving the system of personnel training and additional education, repair of theatre buildings, application of modern information and communication technologies, and so on.
The history of Azerbaijan dance traces its roots from the Stone Age. Drawings chiselled into the rocks at Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape up to 40 000 years ago represent old Azerbaijani folk dances, which initially were ceremonial and based around hunting.
The Baku Choreography Academy is the country’s only training school for ballet and folk dancers. The Academy provides general secondary special and higher education for choreographers, ballet education, ballet artist, ballet history and other specialisations.
Based on this, there are two areas of dance skills in the country now: ballet and folklore. Today’s leading choreographic collective of Azerbaijan is the Azerbaijan Song and Dance Ensemble, named after Fikret Amirov, which operates in the Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall. The repertoire of the ballet troupe of the Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre includes such ballet masterpieces of the Azerbaijani composers as:
- “Maiden Tower” by Afrasiyab Badalbeyli.
- “Seven Beauties” by Gara Garayev.
- “The Legend of Love” by Arif Malikov.
- “Babek” by Agshin Alizadeh.
- “Whites and Blacks” by Khayyam Mirzezadeh.
- “Love and Death” by Polad Bulbuloglu, et cetera.
The stages for rehearsals and performances, social security and salaries of the members of these groups, costumes, sets, tours around the country and abroad are provided by the state.