Russian, Ukrainian, Cossack, Gypsy, Jewish dancers. Balalaika, garmoshka, dancing, songs, music. Russian Festival in Rensselaer, New York

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Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya performed during Russian festival on Saturday, February 25th, 2017 at 1pm, 3pm, and 5:30pm at the New Russia Cultural Center, 1550 Broadway, Rensselaer, NY 12144.  Cast of Barynya ensemble included dancer Andrei Kisselev, dancer Yana Volkova, dancer Aleena Kisseleva, dancer Alisa Egorova, balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina, and garmoshka/guitar player/singer Mikhail Smirnov.  The company performed Siberian Nanai Wrestling Dance "", Russian folk button accordion "" introduction with traditional Russian song "Kalinka", The Snowstorm, Russian folk dance (""), Kamarinskaiya, Russian folk instrument balalaika introduction (""), Russian Tongue Twisters Medley (""), Jewish wedding dance "", Russian Percussian Orchestra interactive game with students (""), Russian Romani Roma Gypsy song and dance (""), Russian folk dance lesson (" "), Ukrainian folk song and dance Pidmanoola (""), instrumental solo "", Russian Bear dance "", and other selections. Artistic director/founder Mikhail Smirnov played the garmoshka, a Russian-style diatonic button accordion and guitar.  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.

Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

Ensemble Barynya, New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, New York
Ensemble Barynya, Andrei Kisselev,  Yana Volkova, Aleena Kisselev, Alisa Egorova, Elina Karokhina, Mikhail Smirnov, New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, NY, New York
click image above to see full size high-resolution photo

New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, New York
New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, NY, New York New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, NY, New York
click images above to see full size high-resolution photos

New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, New York
New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, NY, New York New Russia Cultural Center, Rensselaer, NY, New York
click images above to see full size high-resolution photos

ABOUT PERFORMERS:
Yana Volkova was born in Voronezh, Russia. She dances principal roles with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet at Lincoln Center. Prior to that, she was a featured dancer with her husband, Andrei Kisselev, in Riverdance on Broadway as well as the touring production. Yana has appeared on television here and abroad and she has extensive teaching experience. She was trained in the Vaganova Ballet Method in her native Russia by Valentina Narozhnaya and she holds a B.A. in Choreography, Ballet, and Character Dance from the Russian Academy of Theatrical Arts in Moscow.

Yana Volkova, New York City Opera, Aleko
Yana Volkova, New York City Opera, Aleko

From Moscow, Russia, Andrei Kisselev began his career at an early age receiving intensive training in Vaganova Ballet Method. In 1992, he received a diploma from the Russian Conservatory of Culture and Art after four years of study as a ballet master and choreographer. In the same year of graduation , Andrei joined the world renowned Moiseyev Dance Company. After one year he became a principal dancer. In 1995 Andrei was discovered by the producers of Riverdance and for the next four years he performed with this international hit show in North America and Europe culminating in a two-year successful Broadway production. Throughout this time , Andrei was also ballet master, bringing new innovations in style to the stage and playing a pivotal role as a Riverdance choreographer. Settling in New York in 2001, Andrei performed as a principal dancer with, The Russian music, dance and song ensemble Barynya, Connecticut Ballet, Kentucky Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, and Rebecca Kelly Ballet. For four years he was Artistic Director of Bolshoi Ballet Academy Summer Intensive Program in USA. Currently Artistic Director of Art of the Dance World Public School Educational Program, which brings education in dance to public schools in the New York area. For the last 8 years he is a Professor of Ballet at Manhattanville College. He received a rave review in the New York Times for performance with Rebecca Kelly Ballet.
 
...The one bright spot was the suave, cheerful performing of Andrei Kisselev, a former member of the Moiseyev State Ensemble and a "Riverdance" veteran....
The New York Times

Andrei Kisselev, Yana Volkova, New York City Opera, Aleko
Andrei Kisselev, Yana Volkova, New York City Opera, Aleko

Russian dancer Aleena Kisseleva is a daughter of Andrei Kisselev and Yana Volkova. Aleena started to perform with Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya in 2014. Her first performance took place during Barynya's show in Erie, Pennsylvania. Aleena specializes in ballet, Russian, Italian and Cossack dancing.
 
Dancer Alisa Egorova was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alisa Egorova is the daughter of balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina. She started to perform with the Russian dance and music ensemble Barynya in 2012. Her first performance took place during Barynya's "Russian Spectacular" School Assembly Tour 2012-2013. Alisa specializes in Russian, Gypsy, Ukrainian, Siberian, and Cossack dancing. She is also capable of performing the costumed charachters: Russian Bear, Gypsy Fortune Teller, Siberian Nanai Fighters.

Dancer Alisa Egorova in Russian-Gypsy costume
Russian dancer Alisa Egorova in Russian-Gypsy costume, Maryland, Montgomery College, Cultural Arts Center, Takoma Park, Silver Spring Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring, MD
click image above to see full size high-resolution photo

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. She was a soloist of State Concert Russian Orchestra of Saint Petersburg under direction of Honored Performer of Russia Vladimir Popov (Russian: -, .)  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.

Elina Karokhina, Carnegie Hall, New York City, USA
Elina Karokhina on the stage of the Carnegie Hall in New York City

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.

Mikhail Smirnov performing folk song Korobushka

REFERENCES

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
 
Enjoyed the sharing of the Russian language.
   Eva Matthews, Principal @ Park View Elementary in Ripon, CA
 
We enjoyed the program.
   Nancy Whitson, Head of School @ St Patricks Day School in Thousand Oaks, CA
 
Our students enjoyed the rhythms and the energetic dancing. The performers were friendly and very talented.
   Mary Stadler, Counseling Director @ Stanbridge Academy in San Mateo, CA
 
Wonderful Great interaction with the kids
   Leana Wright, PTO @ Willow Creek Elementary in Tomball, TX
 
We chose this program because we wanted to expose our students to the beautiful culture, music, dance, traditional costumes, language of Russia. The three performers did a wonderful job entertaining and engaging our students.
   Barbara LaCorte Principal @ Hope Elementary in Santa Barbara, CA

Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

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Contact information: email msmirnov@yahoo.com, phone/text (201) 981-2497

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