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Russian dance and music balalaika duo »
Once again, the main attraction is a traditional music and dance group: Barynya, the best-known Russian dance ensemble outside of Russia. --- The Register Guard
The show includes Dancing Bear Mascot, Ukrainian, Cossack, Gypsy, Jewish, Russian music and dance, live music performed on accordion-garmoshka, guitar and balalaika, singing, dancing, and several costume changes (Jewish, Gypsy, Ukrainian, and Russian).
About Elina Karokhina:
Balalaika virtuoso Elina Karokhina was born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. She began her formal training at the Mussorgsky Music College of St. Petersburg and continued her training at N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory, earning a degree as an Orchestra Soloist. She continued her training
at the Conservatory, which included a brief residency in Germany. After, she returned to her native St. Petersburg and completed her education, earning a Doctor of Musical Art degree in the Balalaika. Following her graduation, she began working as a musician, both as a teacher and as a performer, teaching balalaika. Elina Karokhina served in the Russian Army in the Military Ensemble in the Northwest Order of Red Stars. As a balalaika soloist Elina has toured all over the world. When she moved to the United States in 2009 she was hired as a musicial director and soloist with the biggest professional Russian music, song and dance ensemble Barynya based
in New York.
About Mikhail Smirnov:
Mikhail Smirnov was born in Moscow, Russia in 1966. He has been in the business of Russian folk dance and music for more than 25 years. Mikhail is an artistic director and founder of ensemble Barynya based in New York City, author of many articles about traditional Russian dance, music and instruments in English and Russian.
Mikhail received his Master's degree from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts. As a child, he was a member of the famous "Moscow Boys Chorus" - one of the most prestigious all-male choirs in Russia. Before coming to the United States in 1991, Mikhail was a soloist in a several Russian folk dance and music groups including the Moscow State Center for Russian song, "Russkaya Pesnya", under the direction of Nadezhda Babkina. In January 2009 Mikhail Smirnov and dancers of ensemble
Barynya were featured on national TV, NBC's "SUPERSTARS OF DANCE" - breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance). This prestigious dance competition hosted by Michael Flatley ("Lord of the Dance") and Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA. Mikhail Smirnov was one of eight judges to decide which country will win. The show premiered on NBC network.