The sensational Russian Cossack
State Dance Company are widely acknowledged as Russia's premiere Cossack
dance troupe. This world-class company of 40 dancers, musicians and singers
brings with it a dynamic and breathtaking production, that will both dazzle
and delight theatregoers through amazing feats of highly skilled,
acrobatic Cossack dance !
Love, dedication and enthusiasm for
their unique cultural heritage is the driving force behind this exhilarating
company who, dressed in spectacular costumes, performs an exciting two-hour
programme of music and dance that portrays all the boisterous courage of
the Cossacks, through a kaleidoscope of sound and movement. They retell
tales of battle, glory, love and betrayal through inspired dancing and
thundering rhythms. The Cossacks of Russia were legendary horsemen and
warriors, but it was really through their music and dance that they unleashed
their relentless energy and passion for life and freedom.
Renowned for their strength and athleticism,
the Russian Cossack State Dance Company dance with vigour, sparkle and
spontaneity, but behind each performance lies many hours of strenuous rehearsals
and strong self-discipline, all under the watchful eye of their Artistic
Director, Leonid Milovanov. It is the dedication to professionalism in
performance, and to perfectionism in costume, music, in fact every detail,
that has brought the company their continued success and international
Unrivalled in their field, the Russian
Cossack State Dance Company captivate audiences with the ultimate in folklore
presentation. Theirs is a truly remarkable performance, rich in energy,
passion and excitement, that will leave lasting memories of a truly remarkable
Previous appearances by the
company include the Edinburgh Festival and Military Tattoo in August 2001,
and a season for Sadlers Wells in London during February/March 2002, as
well as a performance televised by the BBC.
Now the opportunity presents itself
for audiences in other countries to see this remarkable troupe perform
LEONID MILOVANOV Artistic
Leonid Milovanov is the Company's
artistic director and conducts the Company's rehearsals. Leonid is also
a respected authority on Cossack history and folk culture. He aims to evoke
through dance a sense of the values the Cossacks hold dear such as Courage,
Dignity, Love and Justice. Leonid founded the Russian Cossack State Dance
Company in 1990 and he continues to oversee all artistic input throughout
SERGEI KAKOVKIN Musical Director
Sergei leads the company's orchestra
and coordinates with style and passion the eclectic mix of instruments
such as the balalaika, horns, trombone and accordion utilized in Russian
folk art. He is an accomplished accordionist himself and has long been
involved in recreating traditional Russian music for theatrical productions.
GALINA MILOVANOVA Principal
Galina has traveled extensively
researching and embracing Cossack history and brings to the vocal company
a unique style and authentic interpretation of traditional Cossack tunes.
SERGEY TERTYCHNYY Principal
Sergey hails from the Stavropol
region, close to the Kuban river, home of the Kuban Cossacks. In his performance
Sergey wears traditional Kuban costume which was originally developed to
enable the Cossack soldiers to perform riding tricks to outsmart the enemy.
Sergey incorporates these moves and tricks into his dazzling and acrobatic
NATALIYA POTAPOVA Principal
Nataliya has been dancing professionally
for many years perfecting both ballet and Cossack dance. She is amazingly
adept at bringing to life the lyrical and comic set pieces performed in
the show. No audience can fail to be moved by Nataliya's skilful and expressive
For English-speaking peoples, perhaps
the Cossacks should be thought of as frontiersmen, the equivalent of Daniel
Boone, Davy Crockett and their like. Even better, consider the Cossacks
as the equivalent of Elizabethan seadogs, sailing together in a rough and
ready manner, often ignoring the letter of the law in their quest for adventure
and gain. Here, we have to make the great rolling steppes the equivalent
of the vast oceans. A contemporary of Drake and Hawkins was Yermak, penetrating
deep into Siberia as they roamed the seven seas.
The word kazak originally meant nomad
horseman, or "freebooter". From the time of Genghis Khan, mounted bands
had been roaming the undulating plain to the north of the Caspian and Black
Seas. From the fifteenth century onwards, the Moscow Grand Dukes are known
to have hired some of them to protect the southern and eastern marches
against their kinsmen and other invaders.
But the Tatar Cossacks were soon
joined by vast numbers of runaway peasants from Muscovite Russia and Polish
Ukraine. They were hunters, fishermen and pastoralists by day and remained
ever ready to take up arms for a sudden raid or a longer campaign. Placed
between the Tsar's dominions and the Ottoman Empire, the Cossacks often
fought for plunder and tribute, and began to enter Russian service on a
more frequent basis.
They developed their own society.
The krug or circle can not exactly be called an embryonic parliament, but
problems were solved and decisions taken through talking them over rather
than by in-fighting. Powerful leaders soon rose among them. The Cossacks
were male chauvinist in the extreme, they certainly didn't give women a
voice and often looked upon them as dispensable. An extreme example of
this is the story of the seventeenth-century leader Stenka Razin who was
criticised by his followers for keeping to himself a captured Persian princess.
To demonstrate his egalitarian sensitivity, he threw the unfortunate woman
into the Volga.
The Volga and other waterways were
important arteries of communication, sources of sustenance, and providers
of refuge. The Zaporozhian settlement on the Dnepr was one of their first
fortresses, colourfully caught in the epic canvas of llya Repin, depicting
members of the 'circle' writing a mocking letter to the Turkish Sultan.
Later, groups of Cossacks were formed on the Don, the Volga and further
afield, eventually even in the Far East along the Amur and Ussuri running
into the Pacific Ocean. But they were 'riverdogs' rather than "seadogs".
The Don Cossacks declared 'We fight
for the House of the Immaculate Virgin and the Miracle Workers of Moscow
and for thee Sovereign Tsar and Grand Prince of Great and Little and White
Russia, Autocrat and Possessor of many hordes. They insisted that "we serve
for grass and water, not for land and estates", rejecting settled agriculture
as the mark of slavery. "Our dear, glorious earth is furrowed not with
the plough, but with the hoofs of horses" runs one of their songs. But
their service was supported by an annual grant from Moscow consisting of
flour, cloth and munitions which reduced their independence. And as they
became more incorporated into the framework of the state, the rough equality
of the "circle" was replaced by more regular ranks. Peter the Great himself
appointed the ataman or commander. Such incorporation was too much for
many of the Cossacks to bear, and there were several large-scale revolts
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.