Siberian dance troupe brings lively dance and music to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Image: KrasnoyarskThe Krasnoyarsk National Dance Company of Siberia, a lively troupe known for its thrilling choreography and authentic music and costumes, will perform on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Founded in 1960, the company has toured more than 50 countries, bringing the rich culture of the Siberian people to appreciative audiences around the world. Under the leadership of founding director Mikhail Godenko, a designated hero of Socialist Labor, the troupe gained a reputation for intricate modern interpretation of traditional folk melodies and dance.

Critics have heralded the company's spectacular performances, which often surprise audiences not familiar with the warm, inviting Siberian culture.

"The performance of the Siberian Ballet of Krasnoyarsk was an unexpected revelation for us," wrote a reviewer for the French newspaper France Soir. "Parisians have never seen such a dashing spirit, such fire and electrifying tension."

The Krasnoyarsk is also known for its vivid character portrayals that both augment the ensemble work and highlight the many talented soloists of the troupe. The company includes People's Artists of the Russian Federation Lidia Dzyobak and Lyudmila Movchan; Merited Artist of the Russian Federation Yuri Buyanov; Merited Artist of the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic Andrei Leonov and many other stand-out soloists.

The dances are designed to follow one another in a kaleidoscopic manner, one slow and thoughtful, another swift and sparkling. The company works on the idea that folk art contains inexhaustible treasures made all the more potent in the hands of artists attuned to modern images and rhythms.

Many of the dances the company is known for center on Siberia folklore. "At the Well," is a round dance conjuring up young girls meeting around the village well, a common image in Russian folktales. "Dance with Spoons and Birch Bark" is just that - a piece choreographed to the simplest folk instruments, accessible materials found in traditional Russian stories.

In addition, the troupe creates dances that celebrate other forms of Siberian art. The one-act ballet "The Taking of the Snow Town" is inspired by the pictures of the Russian painter V.I. Surikov, who was born in Krasnoyarsk.

The orchestra that backs the dancers is another highlight of their performances. Conducted by three merited artists of the Russian Federation, the ensemble plays familiar round dances, game and dance songs and folk melodies on balalaikas and other traditional instruments that, combined with the ornate, colorful costumes, make for a memorable evening of dance and song.

"It's easy to be swept away by the good humor and athleticism of the company's 80 members," wrote Rasmi Simhan of The Sacramento Bee.

The Krasnoyarsk company is a past winner of the Krasnoyarsk Komsomol and the prize of the Lenin Komsomol for popularizing choreographic art. In 1973, it was the company laureate of the 10th World Festival of Youth and Students in Berlin. The troupe has been warmly welcomed in performances across the former Soviet states and in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The company strives to bring a love and respect for Siberian art to both dance aficionados and novices alike.

"The audience dances together with the performers," one Soviet newspaper reviewer wrote. "Everybody dances in his/her soul, if you will, in his/her imagination."

Tickets are $28 to $38. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 29, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 105