Folk Dance Ensemble of the USSR

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Folk Dance Ensemble of the USSR


(full name, State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble of the USSR), one of the largest dance companies in the Soviet Union, formed in Moscow in 1937. The ensemble’s director from the day of its organization has been People’s Artist of the USSR I. A. Moiseev. The ensemble was the first dance group in the Soviet Union to consolidate a new form of stage dance—the folk dance—in the field of professional choreographic art. By artistically generalizing and developing folk dance elements using the creative resources of professional dance, the ensemble creates new theatrical forms, striving for a vivid reproduction of the folk style and a profound expression of the national image and character in dance. The ensemble contributes to the mutual acquaintance and enrichment of national cultures by relying on the progressive dance traditions of each national group, making these traditions accessible to a wide audience. The combination of a vivid folk form and spontaneous performance with the technical and dramatic achievements of the professional choreographic school led to the creation in the ensemble of a new method of training dancers. This method has helped develop the company’s creative individuality and high performance level.

The ensemble’s repertoire numbers more than 200 dances of the peoples of the USSR and other countries, including Russian Suite, the choreographic scene Partisans, the Moldavian suite Zhok, and the Ukrainian suite Vesnianki. Besides folk dances, the ensemble’s repertoire contains choreographic scenes, suites, one-act ballets, genre dance scenes, and dances unified into cycles, such as Soviet Pictures, Pictures of the Past, Dances of the Slavic Peoples, Prerevolutionary May Day Meeting, Victorious First of May, and Peace and Friendship. The latest works include Old City Quadrille and Fancy Polka. An important event in the creative life of the ensemble was the creation in 1965 of the program The Road to Dance, for which the ensemble’s director was awarded the Lenin Prize.

The ensemble has performed in all the republics of the Soviet Union as well as abroad, in more than 40 countries throughout the world. The ensemble’s foreign tours have won it world renown. Its performances are accompanied by a small symphony orchestra, which also contains folk instruments.

In 1965 the title “academic” was conferred upon the company. The ensemble’s performers include People’s Artists of the RSFSR L. V. Golovanov, T. A. Zeifert, and I. D. Kar tashev.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.