Russian National Ballet "Kostroma"

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Company History

History of the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma”

The Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” significantly contributes to the richness of cultural life of Kostroma region. It is the first professional choreographic company in Kostroma region that created the first professional (Dance College) in the Region, it is the first institution of culture that acts as an autonomous non-profit organization whose experience serves as an example for many other Russian companies. Its artistic activities are meant to meet esthetic and spiritual needs of the people in Kostroma and Kostroma Region, to educate and guide the careers of the youth in the region. The Ballet carefully keeps and develops the genre of folk choreography, creates new dance and music turns and trains professional folk dance artists. The Ballet invites famous people of arts and organizes workshops for choreography teachers in the Region and it is also actively involved into public awareness and charity activities.

“Kostroma” Ballet is persistently making a new layer of cultural heritage and through its art promotes Kostroma on Russian and international levels.

The Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” was set up in 1991 in the ancient town on the Volga and a pearl of the Golden Ring of Russia, Kostroma. It is the place where the great tsar dynasty of the Romanovs originates from, where the jewelry craftsmen created a new technique called filigree, where people still celebrate Ivan Susanin’s courage and remember Ostrovsky, a Russian dramatist, Nekrasov, a poet, Fedor Volkov, the founder of the Russian theatre, Kustodiev and Chesnyakov, the painters.

The founders and the managers of “Kostroma” Ballet are Elena Tsarenko, an Honoured Worker of Culture of the Russian Federation, and Yuri Tsarenko, an Honoured Arts Worker of the Russian Federation who was also awarded with the Medal of the Order of “The Merit for the Motherland”. They had a dream of making their own contribution into public morals and spirituality, culture and art of Kostroma Region and the country as a whole, of creating something original but popular on the basis of the rich historical past and centuries old traditions; and that dream came true when the first folk dance theatre in Russia – The National Ballet “Kostroma” - appeared.

The Ballet has had different forms of business: it had been a private and then a state institution before it changed into a non-profit autonomous organization, the most rational for the time being. Thus the National Russian Ballet “Kostroma”, a non-profit autonomous organization, has become the first among other folk dance companies that successfully realized the advantages of the theatre reform.

Consistent development of the Autonomous Non-profit Organization the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” resulted in opening the Dance School for Children and later, in 2002, “The Governorate Ballet School” ((Dance College)). Maria Veshkina (Tsarenko) is the Director of the College.

The managers think that nourishing professional environment is crucial for creating the Ballet’s art heritage. One hundred fifty talented children from Kostroma and Kostroma Region used their chance to get quality professional education in the only professional educational choreographic institution of the region. The best teachers from Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan, Makhachkala, Kyzyl, Anadyr and other cities come to Kostroma to share their experience. The students and pupils are not only given adequate training but they are also surrounded by loving, caring and homey atmosphere since all of them, being the successors of the Russian culture and its great traditions, are the future of the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” and Kostroma Governorate as a whole. As of the present time, there is the fourth generation of graduates graduating to become professional folk dance artists and the dancers of the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma”.

The complete restoration of a two-hundred-year-old building in Simanovskogo Street, 70 and the construction of a new building in the same style, which both form a single historical and architectural unit, are a great contribution to the cultural heritage of the city and the Region.They are also a home for the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma”, “The Governorate Ballet School” (Dance College) and “The Children Dance School”. It is here that the whole world, called the world of dance, is kept inside this monument of architecture to let the school children become pupils, pupils become students and the students become artists.

It is not by accident that the ancient city on the banks of the Volga gave name to the Ballet. In its time Kostroma, the cradle of the Romanov dynasty and a true representative of real Rus with her rich history, customs and traditions, became home to a young family and its career. It is here that Elena and Yuri found their inspiration that gave an unsurpassed powerfulness of the national spirit to the Ballet’s repertoire. The founders chose to combine classical and folk dancing thus creating a new style symbolized by a ballet shoe and a traditional Russian straw shoe that are now the logo of the Ballet.

Rich and valuable experience of centuries-old Kostroma is the basis for the Ballet’s dramaturgy. The city’s great historical and cultural heritage played a significant role for the make-up and the development of the Russian State. Kostroma has always contributed to the treasury of the cultural life of the nation and is a living history of the Russian culture itself. One can see Kostroma’s emblem given to it by Yekaterina II on the promotional materials of the Ballet and it stresses the importance of the link of times and the continuity of the national culture.

Elena and Yuri Tsarenko supported by the team of artists managed to carefully transfer old customs and traditions to the 21st century with its up-to-date technologies and give them an original folklore pattern but to stay true to the historical accuracy: for instance, to use an ancient barbaric celebration of Kostroma (a goddess that used to be prominently featured in the cycle of festive summer rituals to celebrate the god of Sun called Yarilo and was represented as a straw doll) in turn “Grustinochka” of “The Russian National Dance Show “Kostroma”. It is just one example of how a ritual is used on stage in the Ballet’s programmes to give them unique expressiveness. A dance composition performed by the Ballet “Warmth of Heart is Called Filigree” is a symbol of the Ballet and a part of its brand. The dance conveys the miracle of the art of filigree, the fragility and the beauty of fine metal weaving that originated in the village of Krasnoye-on-the-Volga of Kostroma Region.

For more than twenty years the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” has been a carrier of the national folk culture. Its activities are aimed at respectful promotion of Kostroma region in the country and abroad as a distinctive province and a place for tourism as well as at professional and esthetic education of the children in Kostroma Governorate.

The Ballet has performed in more than 1,800 concerts and created more than ten dancing programmes, for example, “Volga Sketches”, “For Holy Rus!”, “The Russian Show”, “Mysterious Rus”, “Once Upon a Time”, “The Russian National Dance Show “Kostroma” , “Back home with Victory” and others. It has staged more five dancing projects, among them are the one dedicated to Ekaterina Shavrina’s anniversary and the one called “The Songs of a Jewish Place”. Since 2005 the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” has presented the annual touristic project “The Russian National Dance Show “Kostroma” in Moscow. For eleven years, daily from June to September the historical canvas about the great mysterious Rus based on Russian traditions welcomes thousands of people of different ages and nationalities in Moscow to introduce them to the limitless potential of our multi-national country through the culture of its peoples, geography and historical milestones. The show tries to show the best what there is in Russian hearts to the people speaking a different language and to awaken patriotism, love for Russia while giving esthetic pleasure to the audience.

It must be noted that it is the people of Kostroma and its guests who are the first to enjoy absolutely all the Ballet’s premiers that are traditionally performed on stage of the concert hall “Gubernsky”.

The Ballet together with “The Governorate Ballet School” ((Dance College)) does a lot of charity work. Every year they hold regular projects – “From Children to Children”, the project dedicated to the International Children’s Day, and “The World Called the World of Dance” for children from orphanages, foster homes, families in need, students of art schools and for dance clubs and groups of Kostroma and Kostroma Region. Children, their parents and teachers from more than twenty towns and villages of Kostroma Region have participated in the projects. Every year more than three thousand young people have a chance to see classical and folk dances, original national costumes and characters, discover new aspects of the art of choreography, get acquainted with the international language of dance and admire the skills of the artists-to-be.

The Ballet has had guest tours in twenty-seven countries of the world, more than 200 cities in Russian and near abroad. Annual tours of the towns and villages of Kostroma Region are an integral part of the Ballet’s activities. The Ballet’s historical shows have a large number of admirers among foreign tourists, Russian families, retired people, State Federal bodies, diplomats, foreign ambassadors and members of royal families. The social importance of the shows are confirmed by the audiences’ rounds of applause, positive feedback and numerous letters of gratitude.

It has been more than once that the Ballet represented Russia at the state level: the tours to celebrate the year of Russia in France and the year of France in Russia; “Slavyansky Bazar” festivals in Vitebsk, Belorussia; “Russian Winter” in London, Great Britain; “Green week – 2013” in Berlin and tours within the framework of bilateral years of Russia and Germany; the 6th Festival of Russian Culture in “Summer Arts Garden” in Bari, Italy; Eurovision in Moscow; opening of the first Orthodox church in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates; the exhibition of national wealths in Havana, the Republic of Cuba; the exhibition of Russian innovations in Madrid, Spain; the opening of the Year of Tourism in China and Russia in Beijing; the opening of the largest educational forum, held by the Russian Orthodox Church, called International Christmas Readings; and many others.

The most recent Ballet’s programme about Great Mysterious Rus intricately combines folklore, ancient Russian epos and lyrical sketches to present the Russian civil, urban, village and military culture through the character of its people, their social status and national originality. The artists convey the legacy of many generations and the unique spirituality of the Russian people through the images of a mother, a wife, a daughter, a son, a husband and a warrior. All the turns of the programme, including the premier ones called “Tatar Spring”, “The Legend of the North”, “The Rhythms of the Caucuses”, “Here Flows the Volga”, are professionally accurate, true to the traditions and the national style of the real culture by Yuri Tsarenko, the Art Director, the Main Ballet Master of the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” and an Honoured Arts Worker of the Russian Federation.

Today the Russian National Ballet “Kostroma” is a world recognized Russian brand that can take people of different nationalities, ages and confessions on a fabulous journey to the roots of the Russian culture full of fairy tales and epos.

The Ballet proudly puts the emblem of Kostroma Region, the name of the city and the emblem of Kostroma on all its posters. All press releases, articles and promotional materials to support Russian and international PR-campaigns of the Ballet always include historical information about Kostroma saying that it is an ancient cultural province and an important tourist object of the Golden Ring of Russia as well as explaining its geographical location and significant cultural and historical milestones.

Foreign guest tours of the Russian national Ballet “Kostroma”:

1992 – Germany

1993 – Spain, Italy

1994 – Cyprus;

1995 – Cyprus;

1996 – Cyprus

1997 – Bulgaria, Greece, Japan

1998 – Monte-Carlo (Monaco), Italy, the Czech Republic, Cyprus

1999 – Finland

2000 – Australia, China

2001 – China, Germany

2002 – Israel, Japan

2003 – Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia

2004 – Croatia

2007 – China

2008 – Great Britain

2009 – Ukraine, the Republic of Cuba

2010 – China, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands

2011 – Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Katar

2012 - China, Italy

2013 - Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain

2014 – Australia, New Zealand

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