The state Cossack song and dance ensemble "Stavropol"

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Stavropol is a proud, sonorous name of the native Cossack region. You can hear music of the free steppe wind, leaving on my lips the taste of hoary feather-grass and bitterness of wormwood, and the gentle lullaby of the mother nursing the baby, and the ringing of grandfather's and father's checkers covered with military glory, the valiant prowess of dancing and sincerity of Cossack poetry, the sparkle of a quadrille and unrestrained enthusiasm ditties.

The history of the Stavropol ensemble begins in 1981. The team was headed by the leading choreographer of the region Anatoly Pavlovich Brunilin and the music director and composer Viktor Kamyshnikov, bringing together leading teachers-choreographers, musicians, creative youth, students of educational institutions of the city. The ensemble was formed and developed by the honored artist of Russia Leonid Milovanov, people's artist of Russia Gennady Minkh, people's artist of Ukraine Anatoly Klokov, and honored artist of Russia Sergey Kayatsky.

Today the collective is the state budget cultural institution of Stavropol territory  "The State Cossack song and dance ensemble "Stavropol", which consists of more than 200 people, four main creative groups: orchestra, choral, ballet and pop.

The team consists of highly professional artists who have honorary titles and they are laureates of all-Russian and international competitions, winners of the prize of the Government of the Russian Federation and the Governor of the Stavropol territory. The constant director of the ensemble since 1989 is the honored worker of arts of Russia Ivan Ivanovich Gromakov.

Artists of the Stavropol ensemble in their songs and dances tell inspiringly about the beauty and greatness of the region for more than thirty-nine years. The ensemble “Stavropol” is the only professional creative group in Russia, whose repertoire includes folklore traditions of the Cossack ethnic groups of Kuban, Don, Volga region, Ukraine, the North Caucasus, and the Central Russian plains

This is evidenced by the repertoire of the ensemble: "Naurskaya", "Don gaming", "Stavropol quadrille", "Vecherochki of Nekrasovskaya ". Ballet dancers perform the incredible complexity of the party inherent in the Cossack folklore.  They overwhelm the audience and enjoy a triumphant success.

Of course, the ensemble preserves its gold fund carefully. It can't be otherwise. Because, for example, "Stavropol quadrille" reveals the characters of the inhabitants so fully and succulently who once inhabited the Stavropol territory.

This rich fusion gives the ensemble's folk art a unique flavor. Unfortunately, the ritual and everyday songs and dances of the Terek Cossacks have been waiting too long for their researcher, much has been lost.  But the painstaking work of such cultural figures as A. P. Virtsev, who led the State song and dance ensemble of the Terek Cossacks after the war, and the honored artist of the RSFSR L.A.  Yaresko, who succeeding him in this post, allowed us to collect much of the gold placers of folk art of the Terek Cossacks.

And today, the ensemble continues big work on the study of Cossack dances and songs, there is a folk search in the villages and countryside of Stavropol. The true storehouse for the ensemble is the amateur creativity of the "Nekrasov Cossacks". For more than two hundred years, the descendants of the don Cossack Ignat Nekrasov, one of the leaders of the Bulavinsky uprising, lived in a foreign land. They immigrated to Turkey in 1740, fleeing from the tsarist persecution,  and through the centuries carried loyalty to the native language, customs and clothing of the "Ignatov" (Nekrasov) Cossacks. In 1962, a group of descendants of Nekrasov Cossacks returned to their homeland and settled in the Levokumsky district of Stavropol.

The ensemble's repertoire is built in such a way as to tell in dance and song about the past of Stavropol and its current day. There is a bright temperamental choreographic narrative about the Cossack exercises: fierce "duels" of recruits and the restrained strength of experienced Cossacks; halts where, after a short rest, youth explodes with a hot dance to the dashing calls of the harmonica. But the mountain drum replaces the harmonica: Circassian, Ossetian, Karachay. A dance that is full of fire challenges the Cossack dance.

The unique repertoire, brightness and poetry of the dances bring the ensemble "Stavropol" a well-deserved success to a very different audience.

Since its creation, the band has performed in almost all corners of Stavropol, Russia, CIS countries, repeatedly in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, the United States, Holland, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, North Korea, Japan and many other countries.

The ensemble "Stavropol" is a multiple winner and diploma holder of prestigious International festivals.  The team became the winner of the XII World festival of youth and students in Moscow in 1985. It was the owner of a Large Golden medal of the world fair in Bucharest (Romania) in 1987. The ensemble became the laureate of the international folklore festival in Thailand in 1995. In 2004 it received the Grand Prix of the International festival "Euro Folk-Russian Island" in Moscow and became the winner of the international folklore festival in Portugal.

In 2007, the ensemble received the Grand Prix of the First international festival "Golden autumn of South Ossetia" and took part in International folklore festivals in Canada, the United States and France, toured in Spain and the Republic of Belarus.

In 2013-2015, the group became a participant of the special federal program "The Culture of Russia" in the section "Support of creative events for the Armed forces of the Russian Federation, the FSB of Russia, the Ministry of internal Affairs of Russia, the EMERCOM of Russia". As part of the program, the ensemble gave more than 30 concerts for military men in the Krasnodar territory, Rostov region, Karachay-Cherkess, Kabardino-Balkar Republics, the republics of Ingushetia, North Ossetia – Alania, South Ossetia, Crimea and Abkhazia.

In 2014, the ensemble took part in the cultural program of the XXII Olympic winter and XI Paralympic games in Sochi.

The 2015 year was marked by the 70th anniversary of the Victory and was very eventful for the team:

  • A collection of "Songs of the village of Lysogorskaya" based on the materials of folklore expeditions to the edge of 2013-2015 was published
  • A tour in the Republic of Crimea (March of 2015)
  • A tour in the Republic of Belarus (May of 2015),
  • with the financial support of the Ministry of culture of the Russian Federation, a tour of the cities of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East "Memory is stronger than time" was held, dedicated to the labor feat of the inhabitants of the Urals, Siberia and the Far East and the end of world war II (August - September).
  • The orchestra of the ensemble received a diploma of the first degree of the III all-Russian festival-competition of orchestras and ensembles of national instruments «Many-Faced Russia»
  • The orchestra of the ensemble became a diploma holder of the international folklore festival in Belgium.

The group celebrated its 35th anniversary with a new premiere in 2016. The audience was presented a bright and colorful musical and choreographic performance (the rite of the Terek Cossacks) - "Trinity on the Terek".

A group of talented choreographers and musicians, costumers and folklorists worked on the production. Such as choreographer Valery Anuchin, artistic director of the state dance ensemble "Kabardinka" of the honored artist of the republics of Ingushetia, North Ossetia and the Chechen Republic Igor Atabiev, director and artistic director of the State dance ensemble of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic "Elbrus", honored artist of the Karachay-Cherkess Republic  Ismail Bayramkulov, artistic director of the state Cossack song and dance ensemble "Stavropol" and honored artist of  Russian Federation Elena Boyko, ballet master of the ensemble and  honored artist of the Russian Federation Alexander Styazhkin.

The selection and processing of musical material was performed by the head of the musical part of the ensemble, honored artist of the Russian Federation Vadim Abramov and chief choirmaster, honored worker of culture of the Russian Federation Natalia Korzhova. The musical material was selected based on the results of folklore expeditions by Elena Tolstokorova and Valery Sulaev, director of the cultural center “Sherstyanik”. The ensemble presented the audience with a real gift. They came into contact with one of the most colorful national holiday, which was formed over the centuries and passed from generation to generation, forming a spiritual connection of times.

In the same year, the ensemble took part in the thirtieth art festival of friendship “April Spring”, which was held in Pyongyang (North Korea). It was recognized as the best group performing songs in the Korean language, received the Grand Prix of the festival as the best ensemble and the prize for the best performance of mass dance.

The ensemble's specialists won the award of the Governor of the Stavropol territory to famous figures of culture and art of the region for staging the musical and choreographic performance "Trinity on the Terek" in 2017:

  • E. O. Boyko, artistic Director;
  • N.A. Korzhova, chief choirmaster;
  • V. P. Abramov, head of the music Department.

The Stavropol ensemble took part in “The Russian seasons” in Japan as part of the Russian delegation. The concert performances of the band were held as part of the world music and dance festival in Hakodate.

The ensemble toured the Volgograd, Astrakhan, Bryansk regions and the Republic of Belarus, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad in 2018.

The premiere of a new concert program of the pop group "Wheel of time" took place in February.

The ensemble took part in the IX Slavic forum of arts "Golden knight" in March.

With the revival of the Russian Cossacks, their historical and cultural traditions, the question of working with the younger generation naturally arises. The cultural heritage of our ancestors ' Cossacks includes inexhaustible sources of work with children, teenagers and youth.

The State Cossack song and dance ensemble "Stavropol" tries to use the potential of the Cossack culture in the education of the younger generation. In 2011, the team started general development program "Ascent to the origins", with the aim of preserving and popularizing Russian and Cossack national traditions, studying folk art, forming national consciousness, respect for the historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia, and family values.

The basis of the program "Ascent to the origins" was a diverse genre of musical and dance repertoire of Cossacks from the villages of Chervlena, Maryinskaya, Temnolesskaya, Baklanovskaya, Razshevatstkaya, Temizhbekskaya, and Nekrasov Cossacks of the Levokumsky district. The program is characterized by the accuracy of choreographic vocabulary, preservation of the features of male and female singing traditions, skill and professionalism of the artists. The brightness and originality of the rooms is emphasized by the costume, recreated with scrupulous accuracy. This program was highly appreciated and was awarded the Russian Government's award in the culture.

The project “Ascent to the origins” has been successfully implemented in the province for more than 9 years. Every year during the school year, about 2 thousand students from all over the region become participants in Cossack rites.

Understanding the importance of developing and popularizing the traditional folk Cossack culture, which has always been a moral reference point for generations, the ensemble specialists prepared a musical performance "Seeing off the Cossack to service", as part of the project "Ascent to the origins". The purpose of this event is not only to preserve and popularize the Cossack traditions, but also to create a sense of patriotism in the younger generation, to foster love for their Motherland, their region and readiness for worthy service to the Fatherland.

The scenario was developed on the basis of materials collected during ethnographic expeditions in the Stavropol territory. It is aimed at middle and high school students. The basis of the musical performance was the ritual of seeing off the Cossack to service and war, the love of the Cossacks for their weapons, the Cossack uniform, a special attitude to the horse as a combat comrade, and many others things.

The group turned to this important rite not by chance. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with the unique Cossack culture of the region, which has come down to our days once again. Studying the rites of the Terek Cossacks, the younger generation can get acquainted with glorious past of their ancestors, learning to love and protect the land on which they live, because the Cossacks are always been a bright example of courage, fortitude and love of country.

The program "Ascent to the origins" is a great importance for the modern public and cultural space of the Stavropol territory. It promotes to the preservation and flourishing of the traditional Cossack culture, the protection of the moral health of the younger generation, and the identification of possible ways and means of continuity of the national dance and singing culture.

Today, the group is characterized by active concert activities. Every year it gives more than 200 concerts and serves more than 120 thousand spectators. It is a participant in events of international and regional significance. It is well known in the cities and villages of the region. The team is active on-site, both in Russia and abroad, performing at well-known venues in the country. No the biggest regional event takes place without the participation of the Stavropol ensemble.

The main activity of the ensemble is concert work, but the group visits military men, veterans, disabled people, children's homes, and organize charity concerts with great pleasure.

 The constant delight of the audience, who were lucky enough to attend concerts and performances of "Stavropol", is an obvious proof not only of professional maturity and high creative potential of the team, but also that the Cossack folklore today is not a frozen cast of history, but it is living spring of spiritual power and wealth of the people, a connecting thread.

In 2016, with the support of the regional Government, it was decided to create a group of artists working in different genres of modern choreography on the basis of the ensemble. Under the guidance of Elena Mikhailovna Gritsyenko, a well-known choreographer in the province and abroad, a variety program was created over during two years, which included performances of various styles and directions of modern choreography, such as: "Appreciate the time, gentlemen", "Legends of the Nile", "Valley of the sacred peacock "Bollywood", "Land of the rising sun", etc. Her productions are a whole theatrical action with bright costumes and an interesting plot, characterized by brevity, originality of design, meeting the tastes and needs of both the young and older generation.

Many of the numbers, such as" Carnival of Venice"," Egypt " are not just choreographic compositions, thanks to the synthesis of choreography, music, costumes, scenery and various technical effects, they have turned into a real show that fascinates the audience. These compositions are very popular during the Grand holidays.

In 2017, the repertoire of the pop group includes the military block «Forward, for the Motherland! » dedicated to the Victory in the great Patriotic war, which enjoys constant success among viewers of different ages.

The pop group is in demand due to its excellent repertoire, bright costumes and high professionalism.  Only in 2018, the pop group took part in the opening ceremony of the world Cup in acrobatic rock and roll in Sochi; in the all-Russian festival "Russian student spring" in Stavropol; in the opening of resort seasons in the Caucasus Mineral Waters and Gelendzhik; in celebrations dedicated to the Victory Day in cities and regions of the region; in the opening of the Vladimir square in Stavropol light and music fountain, etc.

Everywhere performances of the ensemble "Stavropol" are held with constant success. A high level of professionalism, dedication to the traditions of folk dance and song, put it in the ranks of the best bands of the Stavropol territory and Russia. And the team continues to proudly bear the fire of folk culture and patriotism.

All this thanks to a huge daily rehearsal work, intense touring and concert activities and creative dedication of each artist, systematic work of specialists in search, recording and stage embodiment of Cossack song and dance folklore.

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