Spectacular show explores historical periods through dance
THEATRE-goers will journey through the Russian landscape when the new dance show Kostroma visits Ipswich.
From the Arctic north to the southern Steppes and the peaks of the Caucasus to the depths of Siberia, the culture and history of Mother Russia are told through this large-scale dance spectacular.
This month the family-owned Kostroma company is touring Australia for the first time since its creation more than 20 years ago.
"We've been to 25 different countries from Qatar, to Arab Emirates, China and Japan," Kostroma producer Maria Veshkina said.
"This tour of Australia is the first one for this show, and hopefully not the last."
The company's family atmosphere filters down to its 45-strong dance troupe said Veshkina, a former translator who is also Kostroma's tour manager.
The company spends the summer performing in Moscow and the rest of the year overseas.
"Most of the dancers are couples, so the only problem is leaving the kids behind. We have 27 kids that stay behind with their grandparents and relatives," she said.
"My brother works as leading dancer and was a graduate of our professional ballet school.
"I got involved because I wanted the company to develop and become something people will talk about all over the world."
Historical periods and the many sub-cultures are explored through regional styles of dance, like the famous kalinka dance and khorovod folk dance, and a dazzling array of 600 hand-crafted costumes.
"It's not the history as it is put in a text book.
"It gives you the atmosphere of different epochs of Russian history," Veshkina said.
"For example the first part starts with the 9th Century when orthodox religion comes to Russia.
"Then we travel to the last years of the Tsar dynasty and the 19th Century revolution.
"We end with 1950s Russia in the USSR and the first flight to space. It gives you an idea of how Russia became a big country like it is now."
A big country deserves a big show and Kostroma delivers with eight set changes during the program and hundreds of props totalling 10 tonnes of freight.
"It's not only about (dance) tricks, but also about the sentimental things that audiences from all over the world understand," Veshkina said.
"You realise what a mighty and huge country it is. We have many different people with different cultures but we're united with the feeling of being Russian."
Kostroma is set to play at the Ipswich Civic Centre tonight. To book tickets visit ipswichciviccentre.com.au.