Traditional Russian dance songs. Photo of the early 20th century. by Agata S. (flickr, CC)
Originally dances in Russia were ceremonial in nature and were confined to working on fields and various celebrations. The most popular in Russia dancing genre called plyaska. Most often it is a dance of one person – a young girl or a guy. Collective dancing in Russia is called circle dancing. It is a combination of dancing and singing. Participants move in circle using signing dialogues and transitions.
This well-known Russian folk dance song is an example of olden songs of the dance genre. Based on this famous song, famous Russian composer Mikhail Glinka wrote an overture of the same name. The composer used a pronounced imitation of folk singing. The main theme is monophonic, and during each repetition a new supporting voice is added.
A steady rhythm and alternating tempo – this is a real Russian “Barynya.” This dance was performed by both young girls and men, including in pairs. This dance is a traditional component of Russian weddings and other celebrations.
Russian circle dance is the foundation of all spring games of ritual character. Necessary attributes of the circle dance Berezka (“a birch”) are birch branches in the hands of the participants. More often this circle dance was performed by young women. The song performed along with the dance today is better known under the name of “A berezka stood in the field.”
Circle dance performed by the ensemble “Berezka”
This famous Russian dance song is not that old. It is believed that it was born in the late 19th century. The song became popular after the singers Nina Dulkevich and Lidia Ruslanova incorporated it into their repertoire.
Valenki performed by the Ensemble Zabava
The circle dance Braided fence is a popular Russian game. Participants stood in one line and joined hands. The last couple raised their hands up, forming so-called “gates”. The last couple on the left guided the whole chain of participants through the gates. Gradually each participant became the “gates.” Later, the game became a children’s game, although originally it used to be a popular summer circle dance performed by young women and men.