Russian folkloric dance, just like folkloric dance forms from many
other countries, is a mixture of traditional music and dances done
in villages and cities, on the streets and in ceremonial situations,
in parties and celebrations, combined with classical movement forms
such as ballet, modern dance, and sometimes gymnastics or acrobatics.
By mixing these genres, dances are created which use the stories, music,
and costumes of a nation or region, yet which have integrated aesthetic
styles which are popular on the international stage with varied audiences.
Some traditional Russian dances, such as "Cossack" and "Gypsy" [after
the Rom style], were mixed with rigorous ballet and spectacular gymnastics,
athletics, and theatrics into what is called the Moiseyev style after
the famous Russian choreographer, director, and impresario Igor Alexandrovich
The Russian Collection
performed "Maslianitza - Russian Mardi
Gras" in People Like Me 2000. From ancient times this season was celebrated as the
of winter and the rebirth of the New Year in spring. This time of
was marked by holiday festivities, fairs, special foods, song and
With the advent of Christianity, the holiday was celebrated
Lent began, leading up to Easter.
Maslianitza, meaning buttery, was the central figure
in the form of a large "matreshka," nesting doll, and ancient
of festivity. Pancakes, "Blini," were baked and consumed in large
along with vodka, to honor the sun that would melt the snows
the land. This symbolized the beginning of spring and rebirth of
Fairs provided a chance to sell wares
and savor the special delicacies
of the holiday. At the end of Maslianitza, the doll was burned,
signifying the official end of Winter and the beginning of Spring.