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Folklorico in St Petersburg (through Alla Tours)

Folklorico in St Petersburg (through Alla Tours)

Old Jun 19th, 2009, 02:59 AM
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Folklorico in St Petersburg (through Alla Tours)

We are doing a 3-day tour with Alla and one of the evening choices is to attend a Russian Folklorico - wondered if anyone has done this and was it worthwhile. Thanks!
mauigal is offline  
Old Jun 19th, 2009, 04:02 AM
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We have and it is an interesting "schtick" of folk singing, dancing,Cossack style dancing, etc. If a touring company came to the US I would probably take our grandson,because it is very interesting and distinctive.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 06:07 AM
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The one I went to was a total waste of time, and I usually really like folk dancing. My notes say it was definitely for tourists, mostly groups, and the second half was so bad it was farcical. I was really annoyed that I had wasted time and money going.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:49 AM
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Maui Girl:
In three visits to Russia, two during SSR days (including Uzbek SSR), and one this past fall, I've seen several folk shows. Admittedly, as Thursdaysd notes, a few were sleep-inducing/corn-ball....but the better ones have been professional, spirited, colorful and fun to watch. The Moscow Balalaika Ensemble was certainly among the best of the latter and at timss breathtaking... and a cossack ensemble arranged by Viking's Volga cruise (Moscow to St. Pete) proved to be better than I expected, mainly for the authenticity of their dancing and folk music. This comes from a critical fan of Russian Folk Music for the past 50 years (and I proudly own the 1919 balalaika played by my late friend Dmitri Bolshakoff, for the several background solos in the flick, Dr. Zhivago).

In St. Petersburg, "Swan Lake", at the Hermitage Theater was obviously performed by an amateur local ballet company (and it was introduced as such), but was nevertheless pleasing to watch.

There you have it, Maui girl...your choice...but my personal feeling is that when in any foreign country, seize the opportunity to partake of that which represents part of the country's culture and history...that's a major part of the travel experience....for example, whether or not one is a fan of US country music, some visitors from abroad do seek it out for the above reasons only.

Many years ago (1980),in the UK (Caerphilly,Wales), we stumbled upon a Morris Dancing competition near our B and B...decidedly not my cup of tea, but an experience we didn't want to miss. In fact, when we were spotted as the only two foreign visitors, one of the directors chatted with my wife(who was an ardent folk dancer)and asked her to present the prizes, which she did. What a kick!

At another time (1983)in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, Judy led the Balkan folk dancing at a wedding. Don't ask me how that came about...it's a long story..and one of my fondest memories of my late wife. I still break out into a grin whenever I look over the pics, or think of it.

Thus ends this exercise of flagrant verbosity.

Stu T.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:53 AM
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Maui Gal...forgive me for using the term Maui Girl..my error.

stu
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 07:59 AM
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"seize the opportunity to partake of that which represents part of the country's culture and history" I agree. Unfortunately, the performance I saw in St. P. was NOT that. It was totally geared to tourists. I would have done much better to go to the ballet....
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Thursdaysd (KW, I don't use your name here, without your permission):

Strange as it may seem, most performances I witnessed during the USSR days were of much higher caliber, in general. Out of curiosity, where in St. P did you see the sub-standard performance you had to struggle through?

Stu
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Stu (you can call me Kathy),

I don't have the name of the building - it was five years ago. The G & R International rep. who drove me from the station to my home stay sold me a ticket. (For the gory details of why not to use them see wilhelmswords.com/rtw2004/index.html). I believe it was in a theater with a colonnaded front near the Bronze Horseman statue and walking distance from the Hermitage. Food and drink were available during the interval, what you got depended on what color ticket you had. The second half was worse than the first.
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Old Jun 19th, 2009, 05:52 PM
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We did one as part of a tour - but not with that company. It was incredibly tedious. After the first dance they all start to look alike. given the choice I would just go and buy tickets for the Kirov (dirt cheap if you get them at the box office). Our tickets were about $7 each for Anna Karenina - and we shared a box with two Russian ladies of a certain age (all gussied up in their teased hair, tight sateen dresses and what smelled like about half a bottle of evening in Paris). We all smiled and nodded a lot, since they had no english and our russian was limited to a very few phrases. There were programs in English in case you don;t know the piece - and we had a great time that would have cost us $100 plus each in NYC.
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Old Jun 20th, 2009, 04:03 AM
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The Folkloric shows are generally entertaining and of interest only to tourists who think the type of dance and music is somehow related to St Petersburg. It is as reasonable assumption as going to the NYC and visiting a wild west show.
St Petersburg never had this type of "traditional" music or costumes, this was rural and southern regions mostly, and the dance style most expected is the Cossack style which has little or nothing to do with Russia.
That as a background, there are 4 main theater companies putting on these shows and most are really enjoyed by visitors. There is a surplus of highly trained dancers, singers and actors here in St Petersburg since it is a center of high level training and the great number of theaters and concert halls that work nightly year round.
I don't see the Folkolic shows often, preferring St Petersburg traditional entertainment instead...classical music, opera ballet, drama, rock, jazz etc. But I must say that my most recent visit to a theater staging these shows, I was quite impressed and both my date and I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. So whether you see a show of high caliber talent or a most amateur style depends a lot of who is staging it and which of many theater companies are attended. The talent is definitely there. I say that with a high level of certainty due to in the past, being in the music recording engineer/producer and studio owner with many gold and platinum records awarded. I've never seen any one city with as much talent or such rigorous training in theater, voice, dance or music.
To the original poster, request a better quality performance/theater. Alla is a small recent start up tour company so does not have contracts with theaters or museums and buys tickets the same way you do, from the ticket office, so she can get tickets for any show.
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Old Jun 21st, 2009, 11:25 AM
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Hello Am_Expat,

Thank you for the very helpful post. Do you have the name of the theater or dance company where the good performance you described took place? Or can you give me some descriptive terms to use when telling a local guide the type of performance I want?

I love the pagentry and emotion of good folk dance, and would love to attend a performance of the type you describe.
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