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Russian Folk Dance: History and Relationship with Ballet

Info: 2145 words (9 pages) Introduction
Published: 6th Sep 2021

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Tagged: ArtsTheatre


1.1 Background Information

Russian people think that the Russian dance is a celebration of their lives. Russian folk dance and folk music discloses the feeling and an expression of spirituality. The visit to Russia is becoming an experience of this new land. Russia is known as an attractive destination due to the scary size along with an interesting history of Europe. It is considered as an ultimate tourist destination and the country is one third part of European countries with the diverse musical background. Russian dances are full of individual and huge performers (Chitranshi, 2009). Russian dances are the human activities which constitutes all properties about human. Thus Russian dance exists at this land along with their terminology, sayings, proverbs and conversations. In Russia, classical ballet is a ruler. There is no training for the modern dances and also there is no performance space along with some modern schools. Russian folk dance was common among the peasants, commoners and the lower class people living outside the city (earlier than the rule of Peter). The higher class people did not dance but they were getting pleasure from the enjoyable performances of dancing trainers.

The major differentiation among social classes within the culture of Russian dance took place as a historical event. That attack had broken the people’s way to live life and it also it changed the progress of Russian dances by stumbling its logical sequences. Russian classical ballet dance is very popular dance all around the world and it remained very popular since the nineteenth century (Chitranshi, 2009).

1.2 Aims and Objectives

The researcher here aims to understand the concept of Russian folk dance and the reason for conversion of this into Russian Ballet dance. While the objective of this study is to analyse the concept of folk dance in Russia and various types of Russian dances which are famous in the country.

1.3 Research Questions

In order to attain aims and objectives of the research, researcher has designed below stated research questions:-

  • What are the various forms of folk dance in Russia?
  • What is the history attached with Russian folk dance?
  • How did Russian folk dance transformed to Ballet dance?
  • How the dance, as source of entertainment had converted into professional dance?
  • Who are the famous people linked to Russian folk and Ballet dance?

1.4 Russian ballet

The actual ballet dance did not invent in Russia but the country has contributed very much for its development and currently Russian ballet has gained popularity all over the world. Various ballet dance performers along with the ballet companies have raised out of Russia and ballet theatres are attracting people in larger number. Ballet came into Russia during 1700s and in 1734, first ballet school was introduced (AlbrÑ–ght & Danіеl 2004). After few years, an imperial school of St. Petersburg found first Ballet Company in Russia. It was first dominated by Italian and Russian dances as well as chorographers. In 1800s Russia’s Ballet dance incorporated some ideas from folk dancing. The higher class people did not increase and promote the art by supporting some companies. The French choreographer named as Marius Petipa and he was renowned for inventing ballet of Tchaikovsky. Russian ballet took place and observed in new era in the 20th century. It has been identified in previous studies that Michel Fokine (choreographer), Vaslav Nijinksy (dancer), Sergey Diaghilev and Alexandre Benois (designer) set up the ballet company in Russia. At that point of time, superb dancer Anna Pavlova was taking the place. At present Russian ballet is known throughout the world and attracting lots of visitors. There is several ballet companies are operated in Russia such as Kremlin Ballet, Perm ballet and Imperial Russian ballet academy. The well known cities have established their own ballet orchestras and theatres and that are focused by number of supporters. The role of Russian ballet to the classical dances cannot be undervalued. It has been known from past many decades and considered as the indicator of the classical dance. It leads other type of dances. Young girls are becoming ballerinas and their dreams have been powered by the famous Russian dancers. Thus Russian ballet dance has captivated large number of audiences all around the globe.

1.5 Contribution of choreographers

1.5.1 Vaslav Nijinsky

This choreographer is renowned as the male dancer of all times and he has also called the god of dance (Parker and Derek, 1988). After the long time of female dominance in the field of ballet, he overtook the ballet dancers of those times such as Pavlova, Karsavina and Kschеssіnska established superiority in the within the male dance stage in twentieth century. His career in the ballet dance field has ended from past ten years due to his mental disease. But legendary of Nijinsky will continue until the appearance of such type personality who will overtake the ballet generation. Pole became the hero of an imperial Maryinsky theatre just after completing his studies from St. Petersburg school at the age of 18 years. He was the inspiration for the ballets in the western side. Then Fokine invented ballets for Nijinsky and other people like Ravel, Debussy and Stravinsky prepared music for him (Albrіght, Danіеl 2004).

At the time of First World War, Nijinsky as a Russian citizen was interned in Hungry. Diaghilev got success in getting him out of the country for the purpose to visit North American tour in 1916 and then he choreographed his main part in Till Eulenspiegel. Indicators of dementia praecox became clear for the members of the company and then became sacred of other dancers (Anthony, 2002). The first ballet of Nijinsky named as “L’Après-mÑ–dÑ– d’un Faunеâ€? has become a milestone within the history of ballet Russes of Diaghilev. That ballet was marked near to the period in which Fokine was the biggest dancer. Thus the dancer Nijinsky emerged as a choreographer and his thoughts stimulated the doubts raised by Diaghilev and it ran contradictory to the classical folk dances of Russia. The production of first ballet was totally based some choreographic scores and they were recorded by Nijinsky in his dance entry system. It remained for many years and he became unavailable due to his mental illness for reproducing the work.

1.5.2 Michel Fokine

Michel Fokine got training from the Imperial school in St. Petersburg and then he joined Ballet Russes of Diaghilev in 1909. Then he went to United States in the year 1923 where he performed for the American Ballet theatre and Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Fokine considered some artificial as well as random traditions along with the methods and techniques for expressive and natural choreographic styles. This style is known as the recurrent topic in the field of ballet dance. His new ideas and thoughts led the success of the Diaghilev Company. He choreographed so many ballets and Chopiniana that led Balanchine for trying the ballets which became his brand name. The classical ballet dance or folk dance has become unlimited since the days of Fokine and the people thinks that his choreography is old fashioned. So his ballets remained unproductive and suffered from deformation. He was surprised and shocked that it would happen in his career (Michel Fokine, 2011).

1.5.3 Petipa along with the Russian Ballet

Marius Petipa was the leading dancer and the choreographer along with the ballet of St. Petersburg in the year 1962. At that time he invented multi- acted ballet for the imperial theatre of Tsar. That ballet gave directions to other ballets and it was considered as classical ballet. In 1869, Petipa took the position of the master of ballet to the Tsar’s imperial theatre. Then he created so many single and multi act ballets for the presentation on the Russian stages. Then he created and developed Don Quixote type for the ballet in Moscow. He choreographed large number of dances along with numerous types of ballets.

1.6 Russian Ballet & Pushkin

The present days consider importance of Russian ballet at quite a notable rate. Bolshoi and Maryinsky are among the most renowned companies and training schools for teaching of ballet. These are well known all across the world for their remarkable practices. It is appreciable to note that the tradition of Russia is into existence even in present era. The firmness among dancers and choreographers along with the support by audience has resulting in attainment of this position. However, the past of virile nature represents the main factor for survival of this dance. The ballet of Russia was imported from France though; it admiringly attained its own position in the culture and dance. The dancers and choreographers of Russia considered themselves as equivalent to that of Western countries. However, Alexander Pushkin was the main cause for writing style by Russia.

The involvement of this man had resulted in portrayal of characters and story telling by utilizing themes of Russia that fits with the stage and survived for more than two centuries for Russian ballet. Western Europe was the main contributor to Russian ballet dance since the nineteenth century. However, the end of nineteenth century has resulted in formation of Russian ballet dance that differentiates itself from all over the world and become a leader in the arena. Didelot, the person well known as “Russian Ballet’s fatherâ€? (Steinberg, 1980), in the year 1816 along with explored Pushkin also termed as talent at local level, Russia started making strides for development of its unique form of ballet dance.

There was overlap between the Didelot and Pushkin’s era at St Petersburg for Imperial ballet. In comparison to the ballet dance of Western European countries, ballet dance of Russia lied far behind in the field of art. Talented Didelot along with Pushkin had resulted in foundation of unique dance of Russian ballet. In spite of the reason that these two individuals were not able to see the domination of Russian ballet, but they deserved appreciation for their efforts. The main characteristics for Russian ballet include as follows (Nickles & Kalman, 2008):-

There is an opposition existing between gender and nationality. Here nationality means the Western European and Russian region.

Story’s location for Russians

Music composition of Russians

Attitude against nation to reflect work of individuals.

Unique dancing steps supported by choreography illustrating special characteristics for Russian dancing.

On unfolding the ballet dance of Russia, the efforts by Pushkin in his development is influenced. The composition of music and theatrical efforts had been quite unique in Russia due to the talent of Pushkin. On combining these aspects, there raised development in new arenas. The effect of Pushkin to develop Russian opera finally resulted in improvement of Russian ballet. The ballet is usually dependent on music for most of the countries. However, as per Slominsky (1947) stated that there exists strong relationship between these characteristics. The experiments by Pushkin along with the fresh rhythm had resulted in creation of challenging situation among composers. As per Gerald Abraham, the Russians in this century enjoyed favourable time due to better lyrics in spite of pseudo classicism related to Derzhavin that are related to love poems resulting in new song in Russian for Pushkin (Abraham, 1985).

However, this was inspiring to note for the dancers and choreographers. The influence by Pushkin allowed in recognizing ballet of Russian for recognition of unique genera and not the import of talent belonging to different countries. The influence of Pushkin had helped in influencing the Russian ballet dance to be recognized all over the world with own image. The influence of Pushkin and Didelot had resulted in enhancing history of Russia to provide a strong background for artistic power. The involvement of Soviet along with arts had resulted in better improved arts.

The companies created in Russia, by imperial decree had gained favour from government to result in better learning experience. This had resulted in giving an opportunity along with the challenge. The support by two companies had further resulted in higher value of material found and helps in improvement of opportunities for research, but shall be well defined to ensure that there is no conflicting situation.

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