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Russian Folk Song & Dance [Import]


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1 new from CDN$ 99.62 3 used from CDN$ 89.31

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful performances, more heart than the Moiseyev Nov. 29 2000
By Deborah Brooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape
Before the Moiseyev Dance Company dazzled the world with its
theatricalized folkloric dances from the Soviet Union, the first
theatrical folkloric group was founded by Mitrofan Pyatnitsky, a
business clerk and aspiring opera singer from Voronezh in southern
Russia, near Ukraine. His folk singing ensemble had its premiere in
Moscow in 1911 and was an instant success. In 1938, dancers and an
instrumental ensemble were added to the group. This same Pyatnitsky
Song and Dance Ensemble is the first group shown in this film. The
other groups are the Uzbekistan National Song and Dance Ensemble, the
Siberian Singers and Dancers of Omsk and the Moldavian National Song
and Dance Ensemble.
Narrated by Tony Randall, this documentary
appears to have been made around 1964-1965, judging by the women's
makeup and hairstyles (no date is shown either in the film or on the
jacket). "Russian," as it is used in the title, means "from the
Soviet Union." Only the Pyatnitsky Ensemble and the troupe from Omsk
actually perform ethnic Russian songs and dances. Many of the dances
are performed outdoors, in beautiful locations. The film looks a bit
old and sometimes the narration is a little corny, but it's still a
very enjoyable experience.
The Pyatnitsky Ensemble performs Russian
and Ukrainian songs and dances. The costumes are gorgeous and the
music, some of which is polyphonic, is magnificent. I often put in
the tape just to listen to the first full song when my spirits needs a
lift. There is a wedding (or perhaps betrothal) scene in this
segment, which has some very authentic singing and dancing. I saw
just such dancing in 1990 at a wedding reception in Moscow, when the
"dinner music" orchestra broke into a Russian folk tune.
Suddenly many of the urbane Muscovites broke into Russian folk
dancing, with the women waving handkerchiefs and the men slapping
their boots (well, shoes).
The Omsk ensemble is shown in excerpts
from a folk opera. The highlight is a men's dance of the exciting,
bravura style commonly associated with Russian or Ukrainian folkloric
dancing. I am always amazed at the strength of these men who can jump
endlessly in and out of squats, but I have to wonder whether, 35 years
later, they can still walk.
Folk dance purists may object to
labeling these dances "folkloric," as they are considerably
influenced by the western theatrical dance aesthetic, and not only in
that the dancers are ballet trained. In many cases, what once would
have been improvised solo dances have been turned into unison group
dances that make use of corps de ballet-like formations and staging, a
practice that stems from a desire to make folk dances more interesting
to an audience. Despite this tampering, the performers in this film
retain much of the original flavor of their regional dances.
The
dances of Uzbekistan show the influence of the cultures that conquered
it, primarily Persian and Mongol. Most of the dancers shown are
women, who display the beautiful, graceful hand and arm gestures
prevalent in Eastern dance. The music in this segment is very
beautiful, and the scenery spectacular.
The dances and music of
Moldova (then Moldavia) are very similar to those of Rumania, which it
borders. These dances have not been tampered with as much as the
others, probably because they are unison line or couple dances to
begin with, and the fast footwork is in itself enough to keep Western
audiences awake. The Moldavian segment also has a wedding
celebration, with an excellent--and authentic--instrumental
ensemble.
What I especially love about "Russian Folk Song and
Dance" is the enjoyment the performers project. This is what I
remember about the dancers in the Moiseyev when I saw them in the
early '60s. However, in a 1995 tape of the Moiseyev, the dancers look
to me like ballet dancers doing folksy steps, and not always
enthusiastically. By contrast, the dancers in this film, though they
do study ballet, actually belong to the ethnic group whose songs and
dances they are performing. Perhaps this is why they project such
obvious pride in their work.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
an awesome video Aug. 29 2004
By Rahelah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape
In an Amazon search for "Russian folk dance" videos - (and there aren't more than 2 listed!) - I found this video but did not want to purchase it after reading a dissapointing 2-star review by a previous viewer.

But, being hungry for russian dance and music I had to make up my mind based upon a 5-star review and a 2-star review.

I sure am glad I didn't take that person seriously because I am absolutely breathless from watching this incredible video. I don't know what kind of "perfection" he was looking for but the fact that these dances are being performed outdoors in natural settings greatly enhanced my enjoyment of this fantastic film.

I have seen these dances many times performed on stages in big cities but NEVER have I seen them so artistically done in their original ethnic settings. On magnificent mountaintops and the edges of cliffs. Under trees and high above flowing rivers. These performers dance on GRASS and they make it look effortless - as if it was a wooden ballet stage. Unbelievable!

It is, without a doubt, one of the most awesome videos I have in my collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
folk songs and dances May 26 2009
By owlwise - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Russian Folk Song and Dance
Anyone interested in other cultures and traditions would enjoy this recording. It is colorful, spirited and so very different from the music (popular or otherwise) we are accustomed to here in the USA.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Nice to watch but should have rented it June 22 2008
By anonymous - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an old documentary of russian folk song and dance. It was enjoyable but not something we will want to watch over and over again. For the price, I shoud have rented it once.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful performance! July 8 2008
By Lorraine P. Zigman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This video is narrated in English with traditional Russian folk dances performed with great energy and attention to detail. The intricacy of the dances as well as the beautiful costumes from various regions of Russia are a joy to see. It is a fun video to watch, but also educational in learning about the wide range of customs and dances from all over Russia which, if my memory serves me, covers ELEVEN TIME ZONES. It is little wonder that there is so much diversity within this vast country.


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