Russian dancers hone skills at Marian Center
November 25, 2009
By Sheila Julson
The Kavkaz Russian Dancers, a dance troupe that combines traditional Russian immigrant dance-think the Nutcracker-and steps of their own choreography, has found a rehearsal home in Bay View. The group practices Wednesday evenings in the social room at the Marian Center for Nonprofits, 3195 S. Superior St.
Kavkaz’s director David Pook met his wife through the dance troupe, which his uncle Chuck started 60 years ago. Pook’s father Jerry directed the group after Chuck, and Pook, a former Bay View resident, has been the director since 1993. The group has practiced their energetic steps at the Marian Center since October 2008.
Performed to the folksy cadence of accordions and tambourines, the group dons Old-World costumes as they kick up their heels at the annual Holiday Folk Fair, weddings, parties, festivals, and nursing homes. The dancers also act out storylines, such as reacting to a prankster accordionist who serves them a spur-of-the-moment tempo change.
Sue Murphy has been dancing with the group since 1982. She got involved after an assistant at work told her about it. “I’ve always enjoyed dancing,” Murphy said. She also praised the Marian Center’s rehearsal space as “clean and safe.”
Kris Ann Thiel was a dance major in college, and grew up with the Pook family. She also joined the group in 1982, after encouragement from her father. Thiel said that at one time it was a requirement to be of Russian heritage to perform with the Kavkaz Russian Dancers, but that’s no longer so.
“But I’m Russian by adoption,” Thiel joked.
For more information on the Kavkaz Russian Dancers, contact David Pook at (414) 427-0186.
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