Russia, other than magnificent palaces, fascinating museums, vast parks, and exceptional buildings has a fabulous taste in art and literature too. One forms of art that Russian are very proud of being an expert in it is performing art, especially dancing. Because of its endless land and huge population, and also for the many invasions and migration, Russia encountered many cultural mixes. However, as Russian love their traditions, they attempted their best to keep them alive, for instance, Folklore Dance.
There are various types of folklore dancing in Russia that with a little change in the performance, the whole name, type, or even purpose of it might change. Although, some methods are in common with all of these dances, and that are the song, the costume, and the pattern.
Every dance has a different song which changes with the type of dance. It can be a vocal-only song or has instruments too. In some types, there's only one singer per group, or it can have a choir group or even without any vocal. For this particular reason, you can't choose the song for every dance, because with each type of dance, the song changes too.
The same thing happens when you want to choose a costume. The more traditional the dance, the more traditional the clothes will be. The costume could be ready just before the dance ceremony or obtained by children from parents. They will be different depending on what dance ceremony is taking place. You would witness lots of color red in dancers’ costumes because the color red symbolizes beauty in Russian traditions.
The moves directly depend on the dance and the purpose of dancing. There are fast and slow moves or even fusion of both in Russian folklore dancing. In some of these dances which are regarding nature and animals, the dancers imitate animal moves and habits.
The Russian folklore dances which are both individual and group activity can be male or female exclusively or a mix of both genders. As we said before, there are countless Russia folklore dances exist, but some of them are more well-known than others.
The round (circle) dance is one of the oldest Russian folklore dances, it might be as old as their culture. In the past, all the people from elderly to young, men and women did the dance in their free time, before went to the war, or in their traditional ceremonies. All the information about this dance are from people conversations, thus we don't have a reliable source to confirm the history of this type of dance, so probably we never know the meanings behind it, but it's still quite common in all Russia.
The Play Dances is a type of Russian folklore dance about nature and creatures which the dancer tries to imitate the creatures moves and habits and mix it with human attitudes to perform a spectacular show from it. In some micro-cultures, people consider this type of dance as competition for dancers.
Dance Squatting is another popular type of dance among Russian folklore dances within young people, Martial Artists, sailors, and everyone in Russia in general. The method is like this: two individuals or two groups face each other on the dance floor, the first team starts dancing, then the other team should repeat the first team dance moves, and then reveal their moves afterward and resumes. Though in some regions, the two teams are not permitted to copy each other's movements and everyone must do their own for judges to determine who's the winner. This type of dance is a mix of dancing, traditional acts, and Martial Arts moves.
The Improvisations Dancing as it seems from its name is a dance in which dancers improvise their movement, and the dance don't have a particular rule. This type of dance is a great opportunity for dancers to expose their skills and talents since there's no rule for dancing a certain way. The variety of movement in this type is so much that sometimes it even surprises other dancers as well as the audience.
The Khorovod dance is a mix of circle dancing and choir vocals which is different in each part of Russia, but most of the dance is the same in all Russia. It got its name from an old Paganism ritual that has a leader which usually is more cheerful and older than other participants, and she also chooses the moving pattern and the song. This happy and cheerful dance which has lots of names like Karagod, Olista, and Poloson because of the circle dancing and choir vocals cause unity amongst dancers.
The Barynya dance doesn't have a complicated choreography and mostly include foot-tapping and squatting. To performing this dance, participants mostly sing the Chastushka poet aloud which has a bit of comedy in it and fun to sing. The Barynya dance is a fun and cheerful dance since it has a rhythmic melody and involves fast movements.
The Chechotka dance is the tap-dance type of Russia folklore which involves the rhythmic and fast melody of an accordion. This dance leads by a male dancer who sings the song too. It also has particular shoes called Lapti.
If you want to see these amazing performances and witness the Russian Folklore Dancing live, you must either be lucky and flight to Russia in ceremonial days or go to those theater halls which have a folklore dance show during the year. One of those halls which have these kinds of events marked in their yearly calendar is the Russian Song modern theater hall. The Russian song located at the north of Moscow and has other performances like the theater, operas, musicals, and ballets too. Of course, there are other theaters hall which has folklore dancing shows during the year all around Russia and the Russian Song is just one of them that we propose.
Russia who desired to both maintain their culture and presenting it to the world at the same time, mixed the folklore dance, traditional costume, and folk songs to their formal or casual ceremonies.
If you want to witness the Russian culture through the people and streets other than the museums and historical places which give you a grand amount of information about Russian history, you have to attend one of those traditional festivals in Russia or go to one of those theater halls which have a traditional event ongoing through the year. Attending these kinds of shows are not necessarily a part of a tour to Russia plans, so if you want it to be a part of your tour plan, you should check with your guide first.
Also, if you like performance dances and music, there is another type of dance that Russians are expert in it, and that's the ballet. Russian Ballet is one of the most famous types of its kind in the world and has several marvelous and famous performances such as the Swan Lake and The Nutcracker which both were wrote by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer.
There are several theater halls in St. Petersburg that have at least one on-going ballet show in their calendars such as the Theater of Musical Comedy, the Aurora Ballet Hall, and the Carnival Concert Hall inside the Anchikov Palace.
Some of these halls also have traditional folklore dance performances as well. Either way, folklore dance or ballet, we recommend you to attend at least one of these shows to understand Russian culture better.
There are loads of other entertainments in Russia that you can experience as a tourist. We at the Star Travel Group gathered lots of information about that matter which you can read about in our blog such as this post which is about the tips on visiting Moscow.