Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya performed two school assembly concerts at the Wilcoxson Elementary School in Stratford, Connecticut on Friday, May 5th, 2017 at 8:30am and 12:30pm. Cast of Barynya Balalaika Trio included Russian dancer Vladimir Nikitin, Ukrainian-Cossack dancer Serhiy Tsyganok, balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina, garmoshka/guitar player/singer Mikhail Smirnov. The company performed Siberian Nanai Wrestling Dance "Нанаец", Russian folk button accordion "Гармошка" introduction with traditional Russian song "Kalinka", The Snowstorm, Russian folk dance ("Метелица"), Kamarinskaiya, Russian folk instrument balalaika introduction ("Камаринская"), Russian Tongue Twisters Medley ("Скороговорки"), Jewish wedding dance "Свечки", Russian Percussian Orchestra interactive game with students ("Трещётки"), Russian Romani Roma Gypsy song and dance ("Цыганский"), Russian folk dance lesson ("Урок танца"), Ukrainian folk song and dance Pidmanoola ("Украинский"), instrumental solo "Чардаш", Russian Bear dance "Медведь", and other selections. Artistic director/founder Mikhail Smirnov played the garmoshka, a Russian-style diatonic button accordion and guitar. In between numbers of the show Mikhail shared a little bit of the Russian language with the students. He taught them phrases such as "Thank You" (SPASEEBA), "Hello" (ZDRASTVUITE), "You're Welcome" (PAZHALUYSTA) and "Bye" (PAKA) as well as the alphabet and counting. He said each word in English and then slowly in Russian, allowing the children a moment to try the words themselves after each one. After the segment on words, the students attempted to chatter in Russian for a couple minutes, smiling and laughing about how they sounded. Almost in the end of the performance, Mikhail paused to share a couple of Russian tongue twisters, explaining each one in English first, and then saying them in Russian at top speed. With each one, the twisters got more complicated and lengthy. There was even a chance for a handful of students to get up on stage and try out moves of Russian dance BARYNYA. Ensemble Barynya is available for hire for Performing Art Centers, school assemblies, festivals, colleges, universities, libraries, concert halls, restaurants, private and corporate events as one powerful ensemble or in smaller groups.
Dancer Serhiy Tsyganok was born in L'viv, Ukraine in 1982. He started dancing with kids' folk dance ensemble "Iskorka" under direction of his mother Liliya Yurievna Tsyganok.
In 1996 he started dancing with teens' traditional Ukrainian dancer troupe "Karpaty" under direction of Honored Artist of Ukraine Mihailo Vanivsky. From 1997 through 2002 he stadied dancing and choreography at the L'viv State College of The Culture and Arts. Graduated in 2002. At the same time as he was a student at the L'viv State College of The Culture and Arts he was dancing with Jewish Dance Ensemble "MAZAL TOV" and Polish Dance Troupe "L'vovyatsy". With "MAZAL TOV" and "L'VOVYATSY" groups Serhiy performed locally in Ukraine, and internationally. In 2003 he graduated with Diploma of completion special training in Polish Traditional dancing from Lyublin's University of Maria Skladovsky in Poland. In 2003 Serhiy joined dance troupe to work 18 months contract with the show Sharm L Sheikh in Egypt. In 2006-2012 he was performing with various dance projects in Turkey, Israel and Dubai. In 2013 he started working as a dancer on cruise ships all over the world. In the summer 2014 Serhiy made his home in the United States of America. He started working with various Ukrainian groups, dance and music ensemble Barynya, Moscow Gypsy Army, Can-Can Cabaret Dance Show, and others. Serhiy speaks Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, and English.
ELINA KAROKHINA Elina Karokhina was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. She began her formal training at the Mussorgsky Music College of St. Petersburg and continued her training at N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, earning a degree as an Orchestra Soloist. Elina continued her training at the Conservatory, which included a brief residency in Germany. After, she returned to her native St. Petersburg and completed her education, earning a Doctor of Musical Art Degree in the Balalaika. Following her graduation, she began working as a musician, both as a teacher and as a performer, teaching balalaika. Elina Karokhina served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. She is a winner of International Music Competition in Cherepovets and a Holder of the First Place in Troyanovsky's Competition for musicians performing of traditional instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world.
Elina Karokhina on the stage of the Carnegie Hall in New York City
She was a soloist of State Concert Russian Orchestra of Saint Petersburg under direction of Honored Performer of Russia Vladimir Popov (Russian: Государственный Русский концертный оркестр Санкт-Петербурга, Художественный руководитель и главный дирижер – Заслуженный деятель искусств России ВЛАДИМИР ПОПОВ.) When she moved to the United States in 2009 she was hired as a musicial director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya (New York). In January 2015 Elina Karokhina was selected to perform the balalaika part with Mariinsky Theatre directed by world-famous conductor Valery Gergiev in Rodion Shchedrin's opera "The Enchanted Wanderer" at the Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. In May 2016 she was hired to play several concerts at the Carnegie Hall in New York City with symphony orchestra, choir, and opera soloists as a soloist of "The Orchestra Rocks" production.
About Mikhail Smirnov: Mikhail Smirnov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1966. He has been in the business of Russian folk dance and music for more than 25 years. Mikhail is an artistic director and founder of ensemble Barynya based in New York City, author of many articles about traditional Russian dance, music and instruments in English and Russian. Mikhail received his Master's degree from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts. As a child, he was a member of the famous "Moscow Boys Chorus" - one of the most prestigious all-male choirs in Russia.
Before coming to the United States in 1991, Mikhail was a soloist in a several Russian folk dance and music groups including the Moscow State Center for Russian song, "Russkaya Pesnya", under the direction of Nadezhda Babkina. In January 2009 Mikhail Smirnov and dancers of ensemble Barynya were featured on national TV, NBC's "SUPERSTARS OF DANCE" - breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance). This prestigious dance competition hosted by Michael Flatley ("Lord of the Dance") and Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA. Mikhail Smirnov was one of eight judges to decide which country will win. The show premiered on NBC network.
“The group was excellent. They did some interaction with the students. Music was great!”
Mary Kay Hennessy, Principal @ St. Norbert School in Paoli, PA
“This group was great! The students were all engaged and really enjoyed the show. They arrived on time and were very professional.”
Liz Legere, PTO @ Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton, CT
“Very engaging and flexible with time because of our buses.”
Michele Rowland, Asst. Principal @ Rodgers Forge Elementary in Baltimore, MD
“Very entertaining. A nice mix of traditional Russian music and dance with colorful costumes/traditional dress. The students learned some basic Russian vocabulary words too.”
Heather Jeanne, Principal @ Enadia Technology Charter School in West Hills, CA
Concert at the Tokeneke School in Darien, Connecticut, March 6th, 2018
Russian dance, song, and music ensemble Barynya led by Russian folk accordion garmoshka player and singer Mikhail Smirnov with Russian Gypsy singer Vasiliy Romani and Ukrainian Cossack dancer Serhiy Tsyganok provided two 45 min performances of Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Russian Gypsy and Jewish songs, music, and dances on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018, 8:45 and 9:45am at the Tokeneke School, 7 Old Farm Rd, Darien, CT 06820. Program of performance included Russian folk song with garmoshka "Subboteya" (Russian: Субботея), Russian folk dance Barynya, Russian song Katyusha, Cossack dance, solo on Russian seven string guitar by Vasily "Vengerka" (Венгерка), Jewish Bottle dance, dance of Russian Bear (Танец медведя), Russian song "My darling" (Живёт моя отрада в высоком терему), Ukrainian folk song and dance Pidmanoola, Russian Tongue-Twisters Medley (Скороговорки), Russian Alphabet Lesson, Russian folk song "Korobushka" with the percussian orchestra consisted of students, Russian folk dance lesson, Russian folk dance Kalinka.
Haynes Elementary School, Niantic, CT, February 26, 2018
Russian traditional dance, song, and music trio provided 45 min performance of Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Russian Gypsy and Jewish dances, songs, and music on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at the Haynes Elementary School in Connecticut. Cast od performers: Mikhail Smirnov, Vasiliy Romani, and Ukrainian Cossack dancer Serhiy Tsyganok.