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“Kys-Khalyyr”, a show by Tuvan studio, was produced in Moscow

The show “Kys-Khalyyr”, a diploma production of the students of Tuvan Studio of GSII (State Specialized Institute of Arts), was recently presented to the Muscovites.

It is an idea-project thought out by Galina Dorzhu, based on Tuvan legends, traditions and customs hundreds of years old. Galina Dorzhu is one of the graduates of well-known Tuvan group “Shchuka”, which gave many famous talented artists to Tuva; she now is an instructor at the GSII in acting and stage speech.

The show is also rich in choreographic numbers, produced by the dance instructor, Elena Bidnaya. She successfully found the subtle heart of Tuvan ethnos, using elements of classical ballet mixed with folk choreography, but at the same time never adding contemporary flourishes by a single movement.

As Galina Vasilyevna tells it, the Tuvan studio of the institute specializes in puppet theatre of the theatre department, but the students are also dramatic actors, that is why the leaders of the institute decided to produce the show in Tuvan language. The entire productions – both puppet and dramatic, are completely made by the hands of the instructors and students, including stage props, costumes, etc. After finishing their studies, the graduates will go to Tuva with a complete repertoire and stage props; they will only need a place to work. This class will be the pioneers of professional puppet theatre in the history of Tuvan art.

There are few words and almost no dialogues in the production, all the action is understood without words and is communicated in the language of plastics and folklore.

Three white strips of fabric, hanging from the ceiling, are a remarkable invention, which connect all the heroes in dances, changing into cloud background during the flight of blackbirds, or veils over baby cribs, and at the end of the show, they become a river with rapids, over which the heroine leaps in escape from pursuit by her unwanted groom to another mountain-top, into the arms of her beloved.

The themes are presented in such a vivid, elegant, impetuous and engrossing way, and the young actors act with such lightness, that one watches the show “in a single breath”, from beginning to end. At the same time, you feel everything with your entire body, live through all the events as they happen on the stage – from joy to tears in the corners of the eyes, from tense expectation of the quiet activity of the shaman to blood pulsating in the temples from the sudden noisy flight of black birds, and from the energetic dances of the heroes smoothly changing into noiseless airborne flight.

The artists depict the elements of folklore and ancient Tuvan customs in such vivid manner in the scenes of the folk games of young people “Oitulaash” “Durgen Chugaa”, and the women sprinkling milk with the “nine-eyes”, and imperious, yet light gait of the noyons, that the deep and subtle meanings of the show will be comprehensible even to those who know nothing at all about Tuvan culture.

The show was concluded by long applause by the enthusiastic spectators, and presentation of flowers. It turned out that the vice-minister of culture and tourism of Republic Tyva, Maryatta Badyrgy, who was in Moscow on a working trip, was in the audience, invited by the members of Tuvan diaspora.

She expressed her great astonishment by the show, and honestly admitted that she did not expect such a successful performance by the students. She congratulated the instructors on having educated such talented artists for the Tuvan nation, and all those present were happy to hear that the drama theater, which is now undergoing a renovation, will have also a small auditorium for the Tuvan studio of the GSII graduates beside the main large stage.

There was a speech of gratitude by the guest of honor of the evening, a member of the Moscow compatriot community, front-line veteran of Tuvan cavalry, Dupak Nikolai Lukyanovich, who, in his time, played many leading roles on the scene of K.S. Stanislavski Moscow drama theatre, and was featured in many Soviet and foreign films; the first director of the legendary “Na Taganke” Moscow theatre of comedy and drama, merited artist of RSFSR, who is now the advisor of the general director of the “Corner of Grandpa Durov” theatre.

“They are already quite great actors, who feel the subtleties of their roles, and are able to communicate without words to the audience the mysteries of the arts; they should perform in front of a large auditorium, to find a common language with the audience hall”, the veteran of theatre arts told his young colleagues.

He promised to definitely arrange for the shows of the Tuvan group of the institute to be performed at the theatres of the capital before they leave for their native Tuva.

Summary of the show

There is a beautiful place in Tuva with a strange name “Kys-Khalyyr”, which means “a girl’s leap” in translation. The place where a mountain river runs between high mountains is connected with a legend. Long time ago, two rich families decided to become relatives, and arranged for their infant children to be married when grown. But, as she grew up, the girl fell in love with another man, and just before the arranged wedding was to take place, she ran away to her boyfriend.

The groom, with his father and friends pursued her. During the chase, the girl ended up trapped on a high mountain, with a deep abyss in front of her. A wild river ran down below, and a dark mountain towered on the other side. The girl could already hear the hoof-beats and sounds of pursuit. In desperation she took a running leap over the abyss. When they saw that, the pursuers stopped in astonishment. Appreciating her bravery and selflessness, the riders turned back. According to the narrative by the shaman who sits by a fire smoking a pipe (at the beginning and end of the show as well as during the story) the girl survived, met her beloved, and they lived together happily for a long time.

Produced by Galina Dorzhu and Elena Bidnaya.

Artistic leader V.S. Kryuchkov


  1. Lopsan Orlan
  2. Mongush Ayas
  3. Mongush Chechek
  4. Mongush Rudik
  5. Oorzhak Stas
  6. Oorzhak Chingis
  7. Oorzhak Eres
  8. Chadamba Aidys
  9. Mongalbi Uyana
  10. Kwon Jihyun – the only student at the institute who is from South Korea, who studies as a member of the Tuvan studio.

Roza Sashnikova, translated by Heda Jindrak
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