Monday, October 1, 2012

Ukrainian Hopak Dance (Cossack Dance)

The Ukrainian Hopak dance first began to develop in the sixteenth century. Men that were in the military practiced the dance as a diversion from the heavy military training, especially when a battle had been recently won. The dance is characterized by acrobatic stunts, uniform movements from a number of dancers, squatting and jumping motions, and kicks. The music behind the dancers often does not have a standard tempo or melody and will change drastically between movements to emphasize different aspects of the dance. This style of traditional dancing is still very prevalent today in Ukraine, often being incorporated into operas and ballets.

An example of the Cossack style dance to Reinhold Gliere's "Russian Sailor's Dance" from his ballet The Red Poppy:

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