Dance Origin: Russia Genre: Folk Dance Artistic Director/Choreographer: Vassilii Mountian Executive Director: Julia Zachariah First Appearance in SF EDF: 2009
The Soviet state established the first official troupe
of Russian folk dancers in 1937 under the guidance of Igor Moiseyev. Moiseyev
outlined traditional steps and forms of Russian folkloric dance, celebrating
its creativeness and joy in professional performance. The company and the form
became famous worldwide, and the company’s performances, tricks, and concepts
were integrated into Russian companies and repetoire. Russian folk dance has a theatrical aspect,
heavy emotionality, exhilaration, and employs strong elements of exhibition,
athleticism, and pride.
Choreographer Vassilii Mountian is
the Founder and Artistic Director of Mountian International Dance Company and
the choreographer of this Russian Sailor's Dance, which is being performed by
his students. Mountian was one of the lead male soloists of the Moiseyev Dance
Company in Moscow and is one of Russia's
leading authorities in the fields of folk and character dance. He choreographed
and produced major state festivals and shows for the Russian government: for
the 75th Anniversary of the October Revolution; for the opening and closing
ceremonies for 1986 Moscow Goodwill Games
and Kolominskaya Festival; and for Russia's leading Olympic athletes.
In the United States
he has worked with numerous dance companies. This is Mountian International
Dance Company’s first appearance at the Festival.
Title: Russian Sailor Dance Dancers: Tristan Brosnan, Zachary Bukarev, Eric Debono, Ian Debono,
The Imperial Russian Navy was created by decree
of Czar Peter the Great in 1696. Over the next 150 years, Russian sailors won numerous
military campaigns, undertook over forty circumnavigations and distant voyages,
explored the "Far East," and also contributed to the discovery of Antarctica. Why were the mariners so able, fit, and
cooperative? Because the military held
dance competitions as a way to recruit soldiers and sailors—a man was recruited if he could dance. During the long months at sea, sailors relieved the tedium by inventing
competitive and athletic dance steps: Mountian's skilled young dancers show off
some of these moves, dancing to the tune of Yablochka,
a Russian maritime anthem. The youngest dancers wear replicas of Russian
"parade dress" uniform, and the outfit worn by the older dancer is
official Russian naval issue.
Mountian's young dancers execute the presyatka
heel dance, barrel turns, mid-air splits, and floor-level kicks.
They traverse the stage on their shins, launch themselves horizontally into
space, and perform the familiar and always impressive "coffee grinder," with
one leg passing through the other leg and the center of balance on the toes. As one
British dance writer said, these dance moves "might have spared a thought
for the Cossacks' foes over the centuries. Had I been an invader and caught a
whiff of this, I'd have changed my mind pretty quick."