Russian Folk Dance

Russians at Fort Ross

It is believed that the men at Fort Ross knew the songs Kalinka, and Beryozonka and longed for the melancholy melodies of their Motherland.  Certainly these very popular tunes might have been sung at Fort Ross

Native Californians

The artistic skill of the Native Californians is recognized to be of high order.  Music was an integral part of the lives of the native Californians.  Voices were raised at ceremonial dances, at work and around campfires at night.  The music was enhanced by flutes of an elder, whistles, panpipes and flageolets of bone.  There were also rattles of turtle-shells, deer hoofs, split sticks, seashells, gourds and dried cocoons.

"Flute Tune" that follows is a simple song, sung with just one syllable, Da.  The following story is associated with it:   "This is the Coyote song.  The Coyote was the best flute player.  Coyote sang da, da, da, da, while the rest of the people said sh! Sh! Shoo oo, oo, oo, so the Coyote was the best singer because the others got tired".

Teaching folk dance is fun, educational and good exercise for teacher, children and parent. Although it may seem hard to remember how to do the dance after the brief session at the teacher's workshop, we promise that it will all come back to you as you hear the music and read the instructions.

Although some groups show initial resistance to dance, most students really enjoy it once they get going. It is well worth the effort to get them going.


Position: Sets of three facing counterclockwise in a circle: e.g. sets of three arranged like the spokes of a wheel. All hands joined at shoulder height.
Starting with the right foot, take 8 straight-legged running steps forward.

Repeat with 8 running steps backward.

Retain joined hands. The right-hand person runs in front of the center person and through the arch made by the center and left hand person. The center person follows the right hand person, unwinding and all get back to their original positions. The left-hand person runs in place during this movement.

Repeat the above movement, this time with the left-hand person going through the arch formed by the center and right hand persons.

Join all hands together in circles of three dancers. Circle left with 12 running (or grapevine) steps. On measure 12, finish up with three steps in place.

Repeat running circle in the other direction. Instead of finishing with three steps, break circle between the left-hand and right hand person. Center person runs forward to join 2 new partners.

Repeat dance steps from the beginning.



Double circle, men's back to center, holding both hands (on hand hold, interlock tips of fingers with man's palms up).

Starting on man's left (man going forward) and lady's right (lady going backward), take one schottische step away from center of circle.

Man - LRL Hop    Lady - RLR Hop

Reverse direction, moving towards the center of circle. Repeat schottische step.

Man - RLR Hop    Lady - LRL Hop

Repeat beginning, with a schottische step moving away from center of the circle.

Man - LRL Hop    Lady - RLR Hop

Conclude with a Hungarian Bokazni step:

Hop with feet crossed - count l

Hop with feet apart - count 2

Hop with feet together - count 3

Face partner. Make 3-step turn to right, clapping on count 3. Make 3-step turn back to left, clapping on count 3. Partners face and join right hands, shoulder high. Balance forward on right foot (towards partner). Balance back on left foot (away from partner).

Retaining right-hand hold, man turns woman under his right arm and they exchange places. In opposite place, repeat section above, returning to original position.

Start dance again from beginning.