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Re: [sig] Cossack Martial Arts, Hopak steps

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  • John Kowal
    Greetings All; ... Granted the dance Hopak came from Cossacks telling stories and using expressive acrobatics as part of the story telling. But that doesn t
    Message 1 of 6 , May 24, 2007
      Greetings All;
      On 24-May-07, at 3:39 PM, bettybetravellin wrote:
      > Hmm, the debate about the video of the HOPAK martial art form is
      > interesting � the video was the first I�d seen of it and I was kind of
      > wondering how much of it was actual moves and how much evolved from
      > dance (which in turn had evolved from the fighting moves).
      >
      > However, martial arts aside, I would have to respectfully disagree
      > with Alex about the big, acrobatic steps from the HOPAK dance evolving
      > from an opera from the 18th c. While it�s true that the HOPAK has
      > evolved to a huge elaborate and highly choreographed stage production,
      > with both men and women dancing, and is now known as Ukraine�s
      > national dance, according to my dance resources, which seem quite well
      > researched (I teach Ukrainian dance), the HOPAK dance came from the
      > time of the Cossacks (in period) and was a show off dance.
      >
      > During the time of the Zaporozhian Sich, where only unmarried men
      > could reside, the Cossacks would tell stories of their war exploits
      > through song and dance and the steps supposedly mimicked their war
      > moves (with, I�m sure, a great deal of exaggeration for bragging
      > rights!). Eventually the HOPAK was brought to the villages and the men
      > would dance it, trying to woo the women (and naturally, the bigger,
      > the better!). The HOPAK has evolved from a dance of men bragging
      > amongst each other, to men wooing the women, to a dance done at
      > weddings, to women also dancing, and finally to a grand finale at a
      > performance. However, it has still retained its original character of
      > large acrobatic feats with the focus largely on the men.
      >
      > Jeanne

      Granted the dance Hopak came from Cossacks telling stories and using
      expressive acrobatics as part of the story telling. But that doesn't
      translate into a standardized traditional martial art form that has
      survived through the centuries and has now been rediscovered. What the
      video is showing us is something that isn't really a cohesive martial
      art. Like my friend Bob mentioned there is someone selling Traditional
      Viking Martial Arts in Scandavia and someone selling Traditional
      Spanish Martial Arts in Spain. Did Vikings fight hand to hand, yes. Did
      Spaniards fight hand to hand, yes. Did Cossacks fight hand to hand,
      yes. But it is doubtful these new masters of western martial arts have
      any hard basis for what they are selling.
      AVL


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