Celebrating 25 years of U.S.-Kazakhstan friendship in song and dance

More than 40,000 Kazakhstanis sang, danced and made new friends during “USKZ Fest,” a three-day celebration to mark the 25th anniversary of the two countries’ friendship since Kazakhstan’s independence from the Soviet Union.

The festival, held in Almaty’s Central Park August 5–7, featured stories, music, films and culture presented by Americans and Kazakhstanis who have helped forge the relationship between the two countries.

A little rock music

People playing musical instruments on a stage (© Capture Studios, Almaty)
(© Capture Studios, Almaty)

Indie-rocker Galymzhan Moldanazar (right) headlined the festival, backed by Break of Reality, an American rock cello band. This was the third major event Moldanazar and the U.S. band have performed together. They have recorded a music video and plan to record an album.

‘Left foot, let’s stomp’

Young people dancing (© Capture Studios, Almaty)
(© Capture Studios, Almaty)

“To the right now. To the left. Take it back now. …” Kazakhstani students who attended secondary school in the United States led dance routines that are common in America, including the Cha-Cha Slide song by DJ Casper and the Cupid Shuffle by Cupid, both American artists.

Time out for selfies!

People taking a selfie (© Capture Studios, Almaty)
(© Capture Studios, Almaty)

Murat Muturganov, a well-known circus performer in Kazakhstan, might have emceed the event, but he also snapped a few selfies.

As part of a “25 Years Together” campaign, the U.S. and Kazakhstan are celebrating the anniversary through other events, including film screenings, a national spelling bee and an exchange that took a delegation of Kazakhstani boxers and trainers to meet with American counterparts at the Muhammad Ali Center in Ali’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

Other events included American ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes’ 525-kilometer run through a segment of the famed “Silk Road,” concluding at a finish line in Almaty earlier this summer.