An event at Ramapo College this weekend is giving residents the opportunity to be immersed in Russian culture, without leaving the township.
Barynya, a Russian Dance Company, is coming to Mahwah Sunday, December 18 at 3 p.m. to perform a Russian dance and music festival that will be a new cultural experience for much of the audience, its director said. “I think for a lot of people, it’s an interesting thing to see because it’s sharing a culture they are not familiar with,” Director Mikhail Smirnov said.
According to Smirnov, the costumes, music, scenery and overall experience reflect a compilation of Russian, Ukranian, Gypsy, Jewish, and “all other former Soviet Union traditions.” The group, based in Brooklyn, performs all over the world. Founded in 1991 by Smirnov, the troupe performing in Mahwah is made up of eight dancers, four musicians, and one singer.
Smirnov says Barynya, which first came to the Berrie Center to perform two years ago, is excited to come back to Ramapo College. In addition to introducing many in the area to his culture and traditions, “there are many Russian people in and around the area, so it is nice to bring them a bit of home,” he said.
As for the name, ‘Barynya’ is the name for the traditional dance whereby male dancers bend their knees and kick out their legs. “It’s a very difficult step. You’ve got to be Russian to do that,” Smirnov said.
Tickets for the Sunday matinee are $24, $21 or $18, depending on seating, and discounts are available for children, senior citizens and Ramapo College students. Get more information here.