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Russian cossack dance

The Russian Cossack dance, also known as Kazachok or Kozachok dance, in Ukrainian Hopak dance, or squat dance.  History tells, that Cossack or Hopak was firstly danced in southern Russia and Ukrainian military communities in the 1600s. The roots of so poluar today Russian dance  are mainly from very ancient Croatia, then mixed with some Tatar elements. In fact, old Cossack dance has nothing in common with the actual Russian dances. It was marked by a gentle walk of the woman and by active bowing from the man side.

 

Today Hopak dance is full of whirling or leaping. The steps exhibited include many acrobatic jumps. The Cossack dance is now choreographed, but appears to be full of improvisation. Main part of the Russian dance includes unison movements. Solo dancers, usually male, perform amazing feats and are always the highlights of the program. Cossack dance costumes look like Ukrainian folk shirts and dresses. You can see the examples below:

 

ukrainian shirtukrainian dress

 

Some interesting facts about this Russian dance:

  • Soviet leader Joseph Stalin once famously forced Nikita Khrushchev to dance the Hopak.
  • The Russian dancers perform the Hopak in the L'Chaim! (To Life!) number in The film Fiddler on the Roof, 1971, shows Russian dancers performing the Hopak in the L'Chaim!
  • The Hopak was performed at the opening ceremony of the 1980 Summer Olympics.The choreographic suite Friendship of Peoples was presented by dancers in Ukrainian folk costumes.
  • The Cossack dance is also performed by Russian soldiers at the tent in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • The Hopak music has been extensively used by two famous rhythmic gymnasts Natalia Godunko and Anna Bessonova, natives of Ukraine.

 

Russian and Ukrainian dance costumes for women and men can be found in the categories.

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