An enthralling Russian evening
By Aparna Unni | ENS | Published: 23rd July 2012 11:12 AM |
When the girl in a silver body suit pirouettes and leaps her way on to the stage, the first impression is that she is playing the role of an alien from outer space. A few seconds into the dance, you realise she is a saxophone - a stubborn, new saxophone which the player, having lost his old one, is struggling to get used to and gain mastery over.
This battle of wills between musician and instrument was fought as part of the dance performance by a group of Russian children at the CoBank Towers in the city on Saturday. For a full hour the dancers from the Russian city of Ulyanovsk held Trivandrum spellbound – as these children showed off the agility and control of their very flexible bodies. They somersaulted, cart-wheeled and twirled to gasps, claps and appreciative laughs from the audience.
Through their 15 lively dance numbers, these 18 children brought Russia to town - be it in the spirited dance of the Cossack girls, who live on the Russian border learning to ride horses and wield swords just as well as any man; the graceful Russian waltz performed in mirrored halls lit up by candles; or the dance number that recreated a journey across the country from the Yenisey river to the banks of Volga.
There were comic dances as well – like the protest of the pillows and blankets of three obstinate little boys who refuse to go to bed, and a girl so obsessed with her long braid that she notices nobody else. These not only got a good many laughs from the audience but also contributed to the standing ovation the group received at the end of the performance.
Air Marshall S P Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Air Command who felicitated the group, spoke for everyone in the audience when he said, “I have never seen such agility, resilience and energy as displayed by these children today.”
The group, comprising children between 9 and 21 years, is part of a dance school headed by Elena Bartkaytis. Named ‘Exciton’, the ballet group has won laurels all over the world and has been crowned world champions five times.
“Each of these students have been training since they were three years old,” said Vladimir Pivovarov, assistant director of Dostoyanie - the Russian organisation associating with the Russian Cultural Centre and Jeevan Club for the performance.
“They have performed in and won competitions all over the world including Germany, Spain, Greece, China and Japan.”
Asked about their academics, he said, “Yes they go to school. In Russia, we have a five-point grading system and these children are required to maintain a GPA of four.”