Russian dance as a whole is very diverse. It ranges from the world renowned ballet schools that they have to a small culture of modern dancers. Modern dance, however, is not very accepted in Russia and is not very revered by the rest of the world. Russian folk dance is so unique because, until the fall of the Soviet Union, the people had very little contact with Western culture. Therefore there was no real way to learn about modern dance. However, Russia's folk dance has one of the most diverse stories of any dance.
The oldest account of Russian dance was an account of dancing on unstable rafts in the middle of a lake found in the ancient script "About Country of Moravia." It is not clear what kind of dancing was being performed on the rafts but this is the first account of folk dancing that appears in the region. The most notorious event of Russian folk dance is known as dancing with the bears. This occurred in 907 after Prince Oleg defeated the Greeks in Kiev. He arranged for dancers to dress as bears and for bears to be dressed as dancer and they performed a dance to celebrate the victory. However, after the performance he set the bears free and killed the dancers.
In more recent years Russian folk dancing was a social divider. Only the commoners and peasants danced. The aristocracy did not dance but they enjoyed to watch the dances. They usually hired performers (usually males) to entertain them with dance at social gatherings or events. This split occurred by the disruption of the Russian culture in the Tartar-Mongolian invasion that devastated Russian progress. However, after the Russian civil war a national folk dance team was established in 1937. It was an instant success around the world and is still prominent today, thus salvaging Russian folk dance.