City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Beating of the Russian Heart

By Anonymous - Posted on 14 August 2007

Show details
Koleso Folk-Show Group

Beating of the Russian Heart is a big show from a small cast. It's big
on colour, big on emotion, big on variety and big on exuberance. In terms of
sheer entertainment value it's as big as it gets.

Beating of the Russian
Heart poster

This is a delightful show for all the family. It is a veritable feast of everything
enjoyable in traditional Russian music and dance.

The cast of five girls from St. Petersburg perform traditional songs and dances
to reflect every mood and emotion. There is great power and sensitivity in the
sad songs, a wonderful joie de vivre in the polkas and a strength and
resilience throughout which illustrates the best characteristics of the Russian

The show is introduced in English by a Russian girl who explains that the aim
of the show is to convey the depth of the Russian heart and I think they succeed

The richness of the vocal ability of the cast is matched by their grace in dance.
The pace of the show is fast with very skilful and well-managed changes of mood
throughout. The fast moving dance numbers had everyone clapping and tapping
their feet. In an interesting blending of cultures they sang the traditional
Irish melody "The Butcher's Boy". It was sung half in Russian and
half in English and delivered with such feeling that it moved me to tears.

The main accompaniment is from an accordion player and a fiddler. A soundtrack
is also used which sometimes overpowers a little. In another innovative move
the group use traditional Russian instruments which can be purchased after the


Their traditional costumes are colourful and beautifully crafted. Given the
small stage space, a lot of ingenuity goes into maximising the space.

The cast engage the audience very quickly with their warmth and enthusiasm.
Two-thirds of the way through the show the cast come down into the audience
and invite people to join them on stage. This is handled so well that all of
the audience and not just those on stage become more engaged with the show.
When audience participation is handled badly it is thoroughly unpleasant. Too
often it is used as a device to make the professionals look good by belittling
people. The Koleso Folk-Show Group is entirely different and joining them is
an entirely positive experience.

We joined in the traditional dances, giggled through the "Birdie Song"
and admired the grace and charm of a traditional "kissing song". It
was a wonderful piece of communication. Without a word of English, the cast
guided us through the dances, demonstrated what they wanted us to do and clearly
enjoyed our participation with a gentle humour. While sitting in the audience
I was most aware of the girls' strength and stamina but they seemed very different
while we were on stage with them. I was struck by their grace and warmth and
the mutual enjoyment in sharing experience and cultures.

I would recommend that the promotional leaflet is modified. It could lead people
to think this was a spoof comedy show and it would be a great pity if people
missed out on the show because of that.

I can't recommend this show highly enough. It is a wonderful experience which
everyone can enjoy. I'd love to see the Koleso Folk-Show group reach a wider
audience because they deserve the chance to share their talents more widely.
From the opening number to the rousing finale of Kalinka they succeed in demonstrating
the fiery yet profound depths of the Russian heart.

© Mairi Anderson 5 August 2007. First published on

Run Continues at Sweet ECA August 5-12, 21-26: 18.05 (1 hr) £8
Run continues at Sweet Grassmarket, Apex City Hotel, 61 Grassmarket (venue
18) August 14-19: 12.