‘Siberian Patterns’ makes it merry
Text & pics: Hareesh N. Nampoothiri
e-mail: newn.haree@gmail.com

November 5, 2013

The audience were moved to the edge of their seats in excitement, as the Russian folk dance ensemble - Sibirskye Uzory (Siberian Patterns) performed here in Thiruvananthapuram in late October. They presented almost fourteen different kinds of Russian folk as well as classic dance items in a short span of 75 minutes. A well rehearsed and elegantly executed experience, the dance ensemble was originally choreographed by the founder director Irina Ovechkina and fulfilled in cooperation with the master-tutor Vsevolod Shkarovskiy.

The team opened the presentation with ‘Siberian Festive’ dance, an item which fetched them titles in international dance competitions. ‘Youth Dancing’ and ‘Pereplyas,’ two other group choreography pieces followed, which shared a similar style exhibiting the festivity and joyfulness. These were professionally developed folk dance pieces in which they largely focused on choreography, coordination and arrangement. It was indeed a display of their profound acrobatic skills as well. They also made good use of the available stage props. The Hungarian dance ‘Czardas’ and Russian folk ‘Holiday in Cossack village’ were the other group items which were included in the presentation. In all these folk stylized pieces, the performers succeeded to keep the audience thrilled. The boys flew and jumped from one end to the other and the girls twirled and revolved all around the stage. The visual symphony that they created on stage in tune with the instrumental folk scores was beyond words to explain. Vsevolod Shkarovskiy along with senior member Ekaterina Ovechkina was seen in key positions leading the team in all these group ensembles.

Solo Pieces

Chechen dance


Roundelay - About Russia

Siberian festive dance

It was not just about fast movements and acrobatics alone. There were some group items, such as ‘Roundelay about Russia’ in which the dancers took tiny controlled steps giving an impression that they were rather floating on stage. Some of them were labeled classics and some others were contemporary. The Chechen dance ‘Women's Lyrical Dance’ was yet another folk piece set to a slow tempo, in which the girls were seen carrying long-necked jars. There were also solo items in between and they too were often slow paced. ‘Russian Souvenir’, ‘Without You’, ‘Giselle’ were some of the classical solo pieces and folk solo segment had ‘Caucasian dance’ by Ekaterina Ovechkina. A few of them had lyrics, but as the presentation lacked announcements or narrations, the audience found it hard to follow these items. It would have been better if some information was provided, at least for the solo classical pieces. The mediocre stage arrangement and poor lighting also had an unfavorable effect on the visual richness the dancers were trying to create on stage.

The quality in the presentation underlined that the teenaged performers must have undergone enormous amount of training and practice. Many of the dancers joined the ensemble at an age of 3 and their years of dedicated hard work definitely contributed to the success of the show. The program was organized by Russian Cultural Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, in association with Bharat Bhavan, Dept. of Culture, Govt. of Kerala. Apart from Thiruvananthapuram, the team has also performed in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kudankulam in their month long tour in India.

Hareesh N Nampoothiri is a visual design consultant by profession and a lover of classical art forms. Being an ardent follower of Kathakali, he conceptualized and directed a documentary on Kathakali titled 'Thouryathrikam,' which introduces the nuances of Kathakali to the common man. Writing and photography are his other passions.