ASTANA – The folk dance company Pulse, from Petropavlovsk, took the first place prize at the 9th International Competition of Youth and Children’s Art Workshop. The competition took place in Sochi, Russia, on January 4–9 and was organised by the Children’s Charity Fund Art Festival Roza Vetrov (“Flower of the wind” in Russian). Pulse is unusual for a dance company in that its dancers are deaf.
The festival in Sochi welcomed several thousand participants from CIS countries, Egypt and Israel. Some countries were represented by several teams; Moscow, for example, was represented by four choreographed ensembles. Kazakhstan was represented only by the Pulse team of six dancers. They were the only team whose dancers followed the gestures of their dancing instructor during the competition.
Neither the organisers nor the jury knew that they had been watching deaf dancers until after the performance. The students of the North Kazakhstan regional boarding school for children with hearing disabilities performed on par with the other trained dance teams. Their secret was revealed only after the jury announced them the winners, when Pulse dancers didn’t show any reaction. The girls were waiting, looking at the hands of their dancing instructor. Only after their instructor signed them the news did they begin to weep for joy.
Pulse, a folk dance ensemble, presented two competitive dances, performing the Kazakh national dance “The Girls-Dzhigitki” (“Horsewoman” in Kazakh) and “Uzbek Dance” in the folk dances category. Fascinating costumes, original choreography and the artistic skill of the dancers captivated the audience and immediately attracted the attention of the organisers, who asked Pulse to open the festival with their Kazakh dance. Pulse also participated in the gala concert of the winners at the closing of the festival. The girls were invited to the next Roza Vetrov Festival, to be held in October this year in Moscow.
The dancers Aynur Sainova, Katya Voropayeva, Nastya Guselnikova, Asemgul Esengazina, Zarina Nakenova and Christina Kovalevskaya proved that they could dance without hearing the music, but by feeling it. When asked “How do you feel the music?” by one of the local newspapers, Katya Voropayeva answered, “I think it is beautiful. I feel it inside me. Almost imperceptible and very pleasant vibrations just envelop my body”.
Pulse was founded at the boarding school in Petropavlovsk in 1995. Today the ensemble is made up of 56 people. The dancers perform at regional events, national competitions and now at international festivals. The beauty and synchronised movements of the team are the result of the hard work of students and teacher-choreographers.
To participate at the International Festival Workshop the contestants took part in a tough selection process which included winning a national contest in order to move on. The funds for the trip to Sochi were collected, they say, from all over the world. They even held a charity concert.
Over the years, the dance team has captured the hearts of many viewers and won several prestigious medals and audience awards. In 2012 alone, in addition to the national contest, they took second place in the International Folk Dance Competition Kus Zholy (“The Milky Way” in Kazakh) and received first and third degree diplomas in international сompetitions (amateur and professional) of youth and children’s art in Kazakhstan.
Their home town of Petropavlovsk met the victors with warm congratulations on banners and multi-coloured balls. Journalists, government officials and proud classmates were waiting for them at the station. Later, the akim (mayor) of the city, Bolat Zhumabekov, congratulated the winners.
“You are commendable representatives of our city and the whole country at international events. I am sure there are more victories headed to your piggy banks”, he said and handed each participant flowers, a letter of appreciation and a cash certificate for 100,000 tenge.