Kandyra (rope, кандыра) is a traditional Mari El dance that was born among the Eastern Mari but is currently one of the most popular dances among all ethnic groups of the Mari people.
An unlimited number of people can take part in Kandyra. It usually involves one girl and two guys. Most often it is performed by two young men and one girl. Often several couples participate in the dance, forming a chain of dancers – kandyra (rope). Since several groups can dance at the same time, a whole chain of dancers is often obtained, which can reach a kilometre!
A characteristic feature of Kandyra is the ringing snapping of fingers, performed by both boys and girls. The main movement is a treble – a quick movement of the legs in place. The dance rhythm is set by the Mari ritual instruments – the drum and the shuvyr – a kind of bagpipe.
For many people Kandyra is a dance of self-purification. The dance is accompanied by ditties. The Mari believe that during this dance-prayer, all illnesses and bad energy come out of the body.
In 2013, Kandyra dance entered the Guinness Book of Records: the number of dancers reached 3.5 thousand people, and the total length of the dancing string was 2.3 kilometres