As with most folk arts, the Krasnoyarsk National Dance Company of Siberia uses dance to tell stories. Though they are inspired by the folk dances of Siberia, the Company’s dances are more precisely choreographed works of art that tell the stories of the people of Siberia.
The Company was founded in 1960 by Mikhail Godenko, who directed the troupe until 1991. Godenko and the Company’s musical director, Vladimir Kornev, worked together to showcase the folk music, lore and dance of the indigenous people. The product, when combined with traditional Siberian costumes, is a window into another world.
Though the music has a folksy sound and features folk instruments, the dancers themselves are professionals. They love their art and push themselves to be better. And their work pays off.
In some dances, the female dancers glide across the floor, their skirts barely moving, and you wonder if they aren’t really jewelry-box ballerinas come to life. The male dancers leap and spin with synchronized precision, performing acrobatics difficult enough for one person let alone many in sync. The performers’ skill added to their storytelling ability pulls the audience in and leaves them spellbound.
In 1999, BJU successfully hosted a similar Russian folk song and dance troupe called the Rostov Don Cossacks State Academic Song and Dance Ensemble. Darren Lawson, dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication, said he had been watching the group’s tour schedule to invite them back. “I’ve been watching for years to see if the Don Cossacks were doing another U.S. tour; however, they have not. So, I was excited when I discovered this group last January when I attended the Association of Performing Arts Professionals in NYC.” Lawson looks forward to giving students the opportunity “to experience another culture through its uniquely beautiful folk art.”
Come see the National Dance Company of Siberia for yourself at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 12 in Founder’s Memorial Amphitorium. (You can also get a little sneak peek from the videos on the Company’s website.)