When Russians descended on Hyderabad stage
When Russians descended on Hyderabad stage

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the organiser of Hindustani classical programmes, Surmandal presented the dance performance of Russian folk art by a famous dance group ‘Vainakh’ The dance group are the guardians of national Chechen folk art that is famous far beyond its homeland in the North Caucasus. Choreographers working with this dance team have studied folklore origins and made vibrant and holistic works based on organic fusion of traditions, music and dance having travelled a long creative path. 

The program opened with “Daimohk” or “Homeland”. More than forty dancers trooped on stage to completely fill the space with vibrance. The men’s costumes were like caftans in white worn over black tunics ornamented and set off with a fur cap. Richly figured daggers of intricate pattern hung at waist. The women dancers wore costumes which strikingly resembled floor length medieval robes with a striking coif surrounding the face. Thus, European and Asian influences were exhibited. The ladies glided over the stage looking like the famous Russian dolls in an orange tinged glittering embroidered dress.

Dance with daggers by Adam Shabaev was a scintillating display involving split second movements which were astounding. “Mountain Dwellers”, “Qartuli” and “Bashlam” were included in the repertoire. Dance with drums was the finale, which presented a dazzling balancing act of drums on fingertips poised in a masterly manner. The booming drum beats echoed through the hall. This stunned the viewers into resounding applause. Red cloaks were worn by some of the dancers to contrast with black like a platoon of soldiers in war like array bending and turning in engagingly intricate choreographic movements. 

A mock battle was fought by medieval looking knights in armour to clashing sounds in a thrilling display of martial valour. The opportunity of witnessing such a large group was truly extraordinary and the artistes and their hosts deserve congratulations for the flawless way this cultural treat was staged for the benefit of our City. Russian Federation’s Ministry of Culture also assisted in arrangements as this ninety-minute show was a part of “Days of Russian Culture in India – 2018”.

BY Anna Rao

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