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(full name, the State Choreographic Ensemble Berezka), a choreographic ensemble of Russian dance. It was organized in 1948. The ensemble’s organizer and director is People’s Artist of the USSR N. S. Nadezhdina. The name of the ensemble is taken from the first production of the Russian girls’ round dance Little Birch (Berezka) staged in 1948 to the music of the Russian folk round-dance song “A Little Birch Stood in the Field.” The dance was performed by the women of the ensemble holding birch twigs in their hands, personifying the image of the Russian girl, her purity, beauty, and grace. During the company’s first decade, female graduates of the Moscow Choreographic School and the most gifted female members of amateur arts groups performed in Berezka. The best numbers of that time included the round dances Little Birch and Little Swan and the genre scenes Spinner, Snowstorm, and Maiden’s Quadrille. The dances are accompanied by an orchestra of folk instruments. The company’s programs comprise fluid women’s round dances, lyrical dance miniatures, spirited dances, and comic dances, reproducing in poetic choreographic images the everyday life and rituals of olden Russian times. The dances are often based on folk melodies and songs and are frequently accompanied by the unrestrained choral singing of the dancers.
The inexhaustible wealth of Russian dance folklore, as well as the desire of the choreographer to reflect modern times in the dances, brought about the need to add a male group to the ensemble (1959). The first works of the mixed ensemble were the choreographic scenes Carousel, Shrovetide, At the Autumn Fair, and Moscow Polka. The dances of the men’s group are primarily humorous— Bachelors, Jesters, and others. Variety distinguishes the style of Berezka’s later programs. Some dances are now being based on popular songs by Soviet composers (“In the Evening on the River” by Mokrousov and others), the choreographic poster Meeting the Dawn (on the melody of revolutionary songs), and others. In touring the USSR, the talented company demonstrates high dance art and disseminates Russian folk music and dance.
Berezka is known by the whole world. The ensemble’s concerts in more than 50 foreign countries, as a rule, have been called “a holiday of grace, poetry, youth, and beauty.”
There are more than 100 members in the ensemble. Among the female dancers are Honored Artists of the RSFSR D. S. Agafonova and N. G. Riabova, and V. V. Suvorova, L. A. Krauzova, K. P. Romanova, L. I. Pavlova, and L. M. Butenina. Artists of the men’s group include V. I. Boborykin, M. M. Khomiakov, V. D. Marchuk, and G. G. Korolev.
REFERENCEChizhova, A. Tantsuet “Berezka.” Moscow, 1967.
I. S. ZHURAVLENKO