In late November, China Development Foundation invited Kuban Cossack Chorus, Russia’s oldest folklore ensemble, to visit Taiwan for the first time, performing with students of National Taiwan University of Arts in celebration of the 60th anniversary of China Development Financial (CDF).
CDF has been promoting arts and cultural innovation via China Development Foundation in recent years. Not only has CDF been investing resources in cultivating local artistic talent, it has also been sponsoring international performing art activities in Taiwan. The Foundation set up a Taiwan-Russia art exchange platform by inviting the Chorus to perform in Taiwan. The event was even reported by local media in Russia.
Mr. ANATOLII AREFEV, Director of the Chorus, expressed on behalf of the Chorus theirs gratitudes by giving a Kuban-style silk scarf as a gift to the Dean of the College of Performing Arts of the University, also thanking China Development Foundation for arranging the event. He also said that the success of the event had prompted the idea of pursuing opportunities for arts performance exchanges during their overseas tours.
Students of the Department of Dance of the University performed “Night Fight”, where the two dancers exhibited the essence of traditional Chinese dance with swords and gentle yet powerful body movements. After the dance, a male dancer of the Chorus asked to “exchange weapons”. The students and the Chorus members than started dancing by using each other’s swords, knives and whips, and a female dancer challenged herself by spinning floral-shaped cloth used by the students in their dance. The Chorus members also invited the students to dance a traditional circle dance, symbolizing the formation of a friendship.
Students of the Chinese Music Department of the University played “Motherland”, a famous piece of music of the Chorus, and “Korobeiniki” with Chinese lute and zhongruan. The Chorus members clapped hands and screamed upon hearing the first few notes of the music. They also sang along. Afterwards, the students played a Chinese lute music piece entitled “Surrounded on All Sides”, a demanding piece requiring high playing skills. “Bravo!”, Mr. Arefyev exclaimed, at the climax of the event.
Founded in 1811, Kuban Cossack Chorus is the oldest Russian folklore chorus. It is well known and respected in Russia. The Chorus has toured in major cities in the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. Its lively and diversified ways of performance is admired all over the world as it successfully brings to the big stage the customs, folk songs and lives of people in Kuban, which is in the North Caucasus, by integrating them into classical ballet. The Chorus uses traditional weapons, including whips and military knives, as instruments in dances and choreographed dances based on women’s braiding and weaving culture. This feature has been refined over a hundred years, making the Chorus a unique performing arts group in Russia.