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The Russian Collection

Performances in
World Arts West Programs
Mazlianitza- Russian Mardi Gras
Disciplines
Russian Dance
Instruments Used
Balalaika
Tambourine

The Russian Collection dancersFounded in 1945 as the Russian Folk Ensemble, under the direction of Dimitri Avramenko (former director of the Moscow Conservatory of Music), the ensemble now known as The Russian Collection traveled throughout Europe, South America and the United States. This ensemble presented colorful Russian dance, songs, and music, conjuring up brilliant images and fiery emotions of legendary dancers and impresarios, such as Nijinsky, Pavlova, Diaghliev, and others. Today, stories and themes from traditional Russian dance forms (Cossack and "Gypsy") are combined with classical ballet technique performed by Russian dancers, many of whom recently moved to Northern California. Many of the exciting dance sequences are created under the brilliant artistic direction of Anatole Vilzak, soloist with the original Ballet Russe.

These Russian dances come alive with spectacular props such as the large "matreshka" (nesting doll) used in the "Russian Mardi Gras" which was performed in People Like Me 2000. In addition, Artistic director Natalia Borisova has one of the largest Russian costume collections in the country, consisting of over 2000 authentic and dazzling costumes with designs dating from the 14th Century.

Natalia in headdressNatalia was also Founder and Director of Ballet Russe of San Francisco. She and her performers present dance vocabulary which comes from both the Russian school of classical ballet and the colorful tradition of Russian folk dancing.

Natalia's early training began in Europe with the members of Diaghliev's original Ballet Russe and the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. In addition to her classical training, she studied and traveled with the former Don Cossacks, and is considered an authority on Russian Cossack Dancing. She also studied with the Russian Gypsy Ensemble and in Russian with the famed Moiseyev Ensemble. Natalia is devoted to these various Russian dance styles and presently teaches dance technique to her students in San Francisco.

First appeared in People Like Me 2000

 



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