The Russian word spektakl translates as performance, or spectacle. I think this is appropriate, as when any students put on a show for you in the FSU, it could really go either way or both. Maybe it’ll just be some cute kids singing or maybe it’ll be a bunch of pre-teens in disturbingly short skirts dancing and lip-synching to Madonna.
I joined a former colleague for a local school spektakl Saturday morning, where students performed dances and songs, shared national dishes, and conveyed facts about countries of the world. Peoples covered included Americans, Kyrgyz, Ukrainians, Russians, Roma (those are their flowing, flying red dresses at top), and Kazakhs. Twice. I got the impression that the whole affair was sponsored by the nation of Kazakhstan by the light in which it was painted, and the gusto with which these Kyrgyz children sang the Kazakh national anthem.
Displaying a portrait of President Medveev, a young boy announced that Medveev became president upon the endorsement of Vladimir Putin. Sharp kid.
Unfortunately there was no American dish or facts because the children were apparently too shy to share this info in front of the visiting Americans. That or there are no facts about America. They did however perform a Jabberwocky-esque dance routine.
Here’s something I didn’t know: Ukrainians are apparently freakin’ hippies.
I have to say it was impressive that the different groups sang in Kazakh, Russian, and Ukrainian. A little weird to sing someone else’s national anthem with your hand in your heart though. Traitors.
More fermented mare’s milk, anyone?