Projection of rich and vibrant Russian culture in the Indian situation and the vice versa, is not something new. In view of the mutual respect and admiration for the deep and fascinating cultural ethos of one another, a “Festival of India” pageant was organised in Moscow in the Seventies.
With a view to continue the friendly tradition, the year 2008 is being observed as the ”Year of Russia in India”. Close on the heels of the breathtaking Russian Musical Circus at the Sirifort on 25th September, the “Russkaya Fe’eria, a grand show of Russian folk and modern dances was staged on the 1st October 2008.It was meticulously organised by the Russian Centre of Science & Culture in association with the Mamontov Centre of Moscow.
The curtain raiser was an impressive group dance. Comely fairy look-alikes performing on the pencil heel sandals were a treat to watch. The items presented over the next forty five minutes ranged from the traditional Ballet to the faint touch of the modern disco.
The dances were not only choreographed brilliantly, the artists possessing supple figures managed also to give their best in their attractive costumes and sparkling headgears. The dancers looked awesome in all the appearances, be it a doll or the Charlie Chaplin look, a queen’s poise or the Tango or the Sambha type dance. The change of dresses and accessories was at an electrifying speed. This resulted into a no gap kind of situation between the two performances.
The last group item, dominated by the song-‘Liz Gama, Liz Gama, Liz Gama’ arguably stood out vis-à-vis the rest. A group of five girls also stole the show in the stunning combination of golden hats, tops and flowing coats. These were adequately supplemented by the black slacks and sticks of same colour. Their sense of timing and overall coordination was praiseworthy.
What was prominent, was the grace and the decency at which the artists would strike a statue like pose at the conclusion of an item. Thus, they would, invariably succeed in effectively conveying the sum and substance of every performance.
The discotheque kind of number presented by two girls flaunting white and black figure hugging and revealing dresses respectively, did not perhaps fit well in this cultural show. It looked a bit awkward.
The participation of only two male dancers left much to be desired. Though they were of equal calibre, age difference between them and their female counterparts was apparent and obvious. Inclusion of a few more males could have acted as an icing to the cake. In the same way, change of light to enhance the overall effect of the performances needs consideration.
The costume design, the colour combination, apt choice of jewellery, expressive eyes as a result of professional make up, rhythmic body movements and the flawless rapport among the dancers spoke of their high standards. The capsule of thirteen items presented in forty five minutes could have been staggered, however, to elicit still better applause and ‘Bravo’s’. Neither there was a time constraint, nor was there any visible sign of discomfort amidst the captive audience.
On the whole, it was an excellent and soothing evening treat. Though I regret very much my failure to capture the performances into my camera or the handy cam, the grace, humility and the professional stage manners of the artists will be deep in my memory. Who knows, many from the audience may be tempted to undertake a trip to Russia in 2009 when the ‘Year of India in Russia’ is due to be observed as a natural corollary?