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Writing Tripe Since 2004
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Thursday, February 10, 2005
A Bit of Culture
On a particularly boring Tuesday (like, 2 days ago) I was busy not accomplishing anything at work when an email from my former boss appeared in my inbox. She had an extra ticket to go see the Moiseyev Dance Company, and invited me to go with her.

*Ahem* "The 67-year old Moiseyev Dance Company is consistently acclaimed throughout the world as the greatest of all folk dance groups. The ensemble, honored as Russia's official 'State Academic Ensemble of Popular Dance,' has captivated international audiences for decades with its technical brilliance and exuberant evocations of traditional dances. At the heart of the group's success is the genius of its visionary artistic director, choreographer and founder, [87 year old] Igor Moiseyev." *Ahem*

I didn't know any of that, though. It's not something for which I would have stood in line at Ticketmaster, certainly...but why not try something different in my old age? The performance was at Irvine Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania. It's an odd building, I took some pictures inside the auditorium but they're on a disposable camera, so I have to wait to finish it off. I was captivated by the building and completely enthralled when they started dancing.

Everyone probably has a picture in their mind of that Russian guy in the tall fur hat with his arms crossed, knees bent, and legs flying up around his overgrown moustache. It wasn't like that at all. Well, OK, honestly, it was sort of like that...only... not... How do I explain? These are young gifted dancers taking the traditional folk dances of their country (joyous and celebratory, not solemn and formal) and keeping them alive. And unlike most other types of formal dance performances I have seen, they actually looked like they were really enjoying themselves. The steps were intricate and complicated, and I have never seen feet move so fast in my entire life. The costumes were gorgeous, the music was fun. I didn't stop smiling the whole evening.

They also performed some interpretations of dances from other cultures, like Mexico and Korea. And as Susan, my host, pointed out, it was interesting to note that there were so many universalities in the steps and motions of dances from different cultures. Their signature "choreography picture" is called Partisans. I can't even really describe it, but they were wearing these huge tent-like cloaks, and as they came out on stage you would have sworn they were riding on skateboards, so smooth and fast was their movement, and invisible were their feet. I still can't figure out how they did it. As it says in the program "It is impossible not to believe that these partisans are actually riding horses through the mountain passes."

I've posted some pictures from the back of the program. They didn't come out too clearly, but they should give a flavor for it. Apparently they only come to the U.S. about every five years, so if you get a chance, even if you don't think it's your thing, you should go.
posted by LoRi~fLoWer
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