Geneseo Late Knight presents Russian dance ensemble

Geneseo Late Knight hosted instrumental and dance ensemble Barynya on Saturday Sept. 28 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom. The group explores Russian culture, along with others like Cossack, Ukrainian, Jewish and Gypsy Roma traditions. The troupe began the night with an introduction of traditional Russian instruments, including the Russian accordion, the garmoshka and a type of guitar known as the balalaika.

The group also wore traditional Russian costumes for the performance. The men wore black or colored pants with boots and colorfully embroidered shirts with billowing sleeves. The women wore skirts and shirts with flowing fabrics and cascades of colors, finishing the look with ornate headpieces.

One of the more humorous costumes of the show was a chicken costume worn by one of the performers, who emerged displaying hundreds of colors and fabrics interwoven with one another.

The chicken joined the audience and encouraged members to stand up and participate in the popular “chicken dance,” which originated in Russia. A performer dressed in a massive bear costume also joined, encouraging audience members to give him high-fives before returning to the stage to dance.

At one point, audience members were invited to the stage to play some Russian percussion instruments.

The cast created variety throughout the show; they mixed the singing and dancing with smaller acts including a performance of several Russian tongue twisters. The performers also attempted to teach the audience the Russian alphabet and then apply the newfound knowledge by teaching some simple Russian words as well.