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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Members of Music Group Barynya Entertain Russian Students

Ash F.J. Thomas
Members of Barynya pose with Russian language students and their professor.

On Mar. 28, Russian students of all levels attended a concert by three members of the Russian music, song and dance group, Barynya.


Barynya was founded in 1991 as the Barynya Balalaika Trio, but grew into a full ensemble as the group became globally renowned. They have performed in Carnegie Hall, the Smithsonian, and the United Nations, as well as multiple film premiere parties and official post-Grammy award parties.


The three members who performed at ODU were dancers Alisa Egorova and Arsentiy Oskin and balalaika player Elina Karokhina. A balalaika is a traditional Russian stringed instrument, with two strings tuned to the same note.


Elina Karokhina plays the song of a traditional Russian folk dance on the balalaika. (Ash F.J. Thomas)


Some of the most impressive performances were of a Russian-Jewish wedding dance, where Egorova balanced a lit candle on her head, and Oskin’s rendition of the bottle dance from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Both dancers showed incredible dexterity and precision balancing these delicate objects on their heads while dancing.


During the concert, they performed dances and folk songs from Russian, Jewish, Moldovan, and Romani cultures. Before each performance, Karokhina would provide some background information and cultural context on the song or dance. Each costume worn by Egorova and Oskin represented a particular culture.


The event was organized by the student-founded Russian Club, which was started in the fall 2023 semester by Avery Bentley, Leslie Okhirkhian, and Kasey Vaira, who are now the club’s leaders. Before the performance, they hosted a reception for the rest of the students to try homemade Russian food provided by a local cafe.


Before the performance, Russian professor Dr. Maria Grise spoke about the hurdles of organizing the concert, as the Russian club had been trying to organize a cultural event since the previous semester. She also celebrated her students, praising their “success in overcoming language obstacles” in her classes.


The concert ended with the Barynya members teaching students a few traditional dances.

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About the Contributor
Ash F.J. Thomas
Ash F.J. Thomas, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Ash F.J. Thomas is an English major working as the Arts & Entertainment Editor. Ash likes to review the many artistic events and exhibitions at ODU and the general Norfolk area. Outside of the Mace & Crown, Ash is passionate about creative writing, theater, and gaming.

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