History of Russian Folk Dance

Russians believe that dance is a Celebration of Life. Russian folk dance and music reveals the highest expression of spirituality. Read on to explore the roots and the history of Russian folk dancing.
| Monday, February 02, 2009

A visit to Russia today is an experience of an unexplored land. Looming over the rest of Europe with its humongous size and an interesting history, Russia is an essentially captivating destination.

Besides being an ultimate tourist destination, Russia is one of the only European countries with a diverse and flourishing popular music scene moderately un-eclipsed by Western acts. The world of Russian dance and music is so enormous and full of idiosyncratic performers. Therefore, this editorial provides an outline of this expansive--but little-known dance form in many countries.

Compassion in the Russian folk dance and the Russian Folk Music

Russian dance and music is intrinsically a human activity, thus it constitutes what being a human is all about. That is why dance and dancing in this land is often existent in our conversations, terminology, sayings, and proverbs. From mature tribal sayings to Nietzsche and Albert Einstein, communities from all walks of life acknowledge the significance and influence of dance in our everyday conception of the world. Of course dancers have their share of dictums too. No wonder it is often said that Russian Dance is the hidden language of the soul.

Russian Folk Dance - A Celebration of Life!

In Russia, a country where classical ballet is an emperor - or tsar, as the case may be - one marvels what the other dancers look like. As it is there is no training ground here for contemporary Wunderkind, almost no standard performance space, and until the downfall of communalism, practically no contact with the Modern schools in the West.

History of Russian Folk Dance

Earlier than the sovereignty of Peter the Great, dance in Russia subsisted only among the commoners, among the peasants and lowest classes living outside the city fortresses. The feudal aristocracy did not dance, but enjoyed the entertaining performances of dancing clowns, who were on the whole, men.

This distinction among the social classes in the maturity of Russian dance culture occurred naturally as a result of one historical event: the Tartar-Mongolian invasion and the ensuing devastation of Russia (the Old Russian kingdom). This incursion busted the people's way of life and infringed the progress of the Russian dance traditions of its people by faltering its logical progression.

Russian Classical Ballet and Modern Dance

Russian Classical Ballet is well known all around the globe. Since the 19th century it has sustained to be the best. Russian Modern Dance, however, is not as admired even in Russia itself, and almost unidentified for the rest of the world. It appeared in Russia much later than in Europe and in the United States, and it has not more than 20 years of history, but certainly has a hopeful future.

Russian Folk Dance History: Khorovods, Social Dancing

In ancient script "About Country of Moravia" psaltery player-narrator is talking about rafts on the lakes where young Russian people used to assemble enjoy by singing and dancing in a ring (Khorovods) .It is not easy to judge what kind of dancing was performed by Russians on the unbalanced rafts in the middle of the lake. Ironically if compared with the current world, even without DJs, Karaoke and iPods, those youthful olden Russians knew how to have a good time.

Dancing With Bears

First certified evidence of Russian folk dancing and Russian folk music goes back to year 907 when Great Russian Prince Oleg celebrated his triumph over Greeks in Kiev. During the grand Dinner, 16 male dancers clad as bears and four bears clad as Russian dancers performed for the guests. After the dinner was over Great Prince commanded to release the bears into the wild and to execute all the dancers.

After the civil war came to an end and the blood of the revolt had dried out, the Soviets fixed the funds to arrange the first state established troupe of the Russian folk dancers. In 1937 the first skilled group of Russian folk dance was born under the guidance of Igor Moiseyev. It is still believed to be the preeminent academic group of folk dance in the world. Moiseyev laid the establishment of the classic dance for the creativeness and elation of the Russian folklore. This initiative was victorious, the West loved it, and nowadays the group is enormously famous. The performance, tricks and concepts of this dance company are used by almost all the choreographers in the world.


Thus, the maneuvering of the Russian folk dance is returning to its roots of invention. Just as Russia's rich edifying heritage has once more come to life, its cultural legacy too is a new country waiting to be discovered.

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