The Russians Are Coming

When someone first mentions “Russia”, the first things people tend to think of are bears, long novels, longer winters, and Don Bluth’s 1997 Anastasia film.

Dance usually gets left until later in the list, if not left out entirely.

Perhaps, though, during this year’s Idaho International Summerfest, the visiting team Rovesniki will change that.

Hailing from the far eastern reaches of Russia, Rovesniki boasts a team 550 members strong, all from the ages of 5 to 20. The team’s repertoire includes Russian folk dance, international dance, and choreographic compositions.

Russian folk dances have been around since at least the 10th century. They are characterized best by the high energy of the dancers and music, the bright and highly detailed costumes, and artful, gymnastic leaps and back flips. The color red will often be seen in the costumes of the dancers, as red is traditionally associated in Russia with beauty.

The origins of Russian folk dance are about as varied as the people of that nation. Spanning 11 time zones and getting its start somewhere in the 3rd to 8th centuries, it’s hardly any surprise that styles and dances have taken from not only the more well known stomping and knee bending of the Eastern Slavic, but also Turks, Mongols, and others.

Not content to strictly teach dance, Rovesniki also emphasizes family values. The children of the team are taught self-governance and principles necessary to create their own stable families in the future. All tutors for team members are former members of the team themselves.

The team, founded in 1967, also has a number of clubs focusing on children’s interests and developing talents. In addition to this Rovesniki is very active in charitable events, encouraging group members to be more merciful to those around them.

Rovesniki has performed all over Russia as well as in England, France, Japan, China, Turkey, Cyprus, and many other countries. In its nearly 50 year history, the team has been honored by the Russian Ministry of Culture, won the gold medal of the Peace Foundation, and been honored with more awards.

While Rovesniki boasts the largest choreographic group in Russia, only 30 or so of its members will be making their way to Rexburg for Summerfest.

For further information on the team, Summerfest in general, get involved in the Humanitarian Aid project, or if you would like to open your home and heart to two of these dancers, call 365-5700 or visit the website at