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Soviet dance heritage recycling

сценография 11 января


Since 2015 Isadorino Gore dance cooperative has been researching the heritage of experimental dance practices, that were formed in the Russian Empire and were maintained after the Revolution up to the end of the 1920s. These experiments were forced to stop at the beginning of the 1930s and then reduced to hygiene approach of Soviet gymnastics.

What were these practices? Why were they transformed? How did they disappear? And in what manner they influence us now?


In this project we work with the heritage of experimental dance practices, that were formed in the Russian Empire (by Duncan’s and Dalcroze’s followers as well as self-made practitioners) and were maintained after the Revolution by numerous studios and even special department at The Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences (a part of huge social experiment of early Soviet Government). Almost all studios were forced to close in the beginning of 1930s and the accumulated practice was reduced to hygiene approach of Soviet gymnastics, that better served the ideology of new political course and parades of unified people masses. Classical ballet and ensembles of ‘folk’ dance also served totalitarian ideology well, so they were carefully preserved and highly supported as the only allowed forms of dance practice for sixty years until Perestroika happened.




Our artistic practice and the current political environment in Russia, that has a tendency to bring back decades of cultural isolation, stimulated us to dig into the history of Avantgarde period and look for dance practices that embodied ideas of liberation and value of personal experience, instead of unified people masses. We discovered that the phenomenon of Soviet dance experiments is discussed in numerous culture studies and books, however, its practical value is underresearched.


In our project, we peculiarly care about the difference between the restoration of the heritage and its re-thinking/recycling, so we reflect on the methods that could be relevant for practical recycling of the dance heritage in general. We also hope to find embodied traces of that practices (residual pattern of the Soviet embodiment) in contemporary dance and movement culture of the post-Soviet area.

In order to develop and enrich our research, we participate in the seminar "Century of Dance"  run by Akademie der Künste (Berlin)

what is done

In 2015 we started to explore culture studies (books of Irina Sirotkina and Nicoletta Misler) and collective postmemory of that period. 


Great thanks for Irina Sirotkina! She is our consultant of soviet dance heritage in all time of the project!

Oсtober 2017 - January 2018  we opened laboratory as a part of Black Box residency of Meyerhold theatre and researched materials of books about Soviet dance pioneers and a collection of articles published in 1926 with group of allies.

11 January 2018 presentation of the sketch /full version

Scenography - Anna Kostrikova
Playwright - Maria Ogneva
Participants - Marina Shilina, Elena Klabukova, Natalya Zhukova, Natalya Obelchak, Marina Kunilova, Jenya Yahina, Olga Semchuk, Olga Dergacheva, Olga Zlodeeva, Anna Belousova, Julia Veshnyakova

Spring 2019 we have kept in touch with matirial and showed 2 times sketch of Soviet Gesture


What we do now

now we continue our research by working with the existing archives (supported by the field research program of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art).

Summer 2019  research (in-progress): work with the archive of RAKhN (The Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences), where Сhoreological laboratory took place (summer, Moscow and Berlin, supported by Garage Museum)


Autumn 2019 open laboratory: the practice of the tools and methods discovered during archive research and recycling Soviet dance heritage into relevant embodied dance practice ( Moscow, Garage) ​

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