Soviet Gesture (in-progress)


Since 2015 Isadorino Gore dance cooperative has been researching the heritage of the experimental dance practices, that were formed in the Russian Empire and were maintained after the Revolution up to the end of 1920s. Some of them were later implemented in Soviet gymnastics and cinema. 


We distinguish the difference between the restoration of the heritage and its re-thinking, recycling. Hence it was important for us in this project to reflect on connection between choreography and ideology in dance practice and aesthetics, on the phenomenon of expressive embodiment at the beginning of the 20th century, and on the fascination with Power and Will which was an international dance trend of the mentioned period. During the research new questions arose: how do we approach our heritage? Where do we see it and where we don’t? What can be considered as an archive of ungraspable dance practice? And how could we recycle this unreachable knowledge?


To cover the above mentioned areas we gradually have been developing our research in different directions:

  • our research based on books about Soviet dance pioneers ( Misler N., The Russian Art of Movement, Sirontkina I. Free movement and early modern dance in Russia) resulted in a work-in-progress performance – Meyerhold Theatre residency (2017-2018)

  • work with Сhoreological laboratory archive of RAKhN (The Russian Academy of Artistic Sciences (1922-1929)) – supported by Garage Museum field research grant (2019)

  • collaboration and constant exchange with Moscow based studios, that preserve traditions and develop the methods of the musical movement (historical studio Heptachor) and Alekseeva’s original method of female gymnastic (2017-19)

  • laboratory research “Experiments in Choreology”: group practice with the developed archive work method, based on the materials found in RAKhN archive – supported by Garage Museum field research grant (2019)

  • publication of a manual-booklet on archive work for dance practitioners, where we share our experience of embodied knowledge extraction from textual material and approach to recycling ungraspable dance heritage into movement practice (to be published by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in May 2020)​

current stage

Based on this research and group practice we accumulated material for a new stage performance. We focus on the categories developed by the Choreological Laboratory in expressiveness research. These categories provide an alternative approach to study and perception of dance as opposed to the movement analysis based on Laban’s theory. For instance, they introduce such concepts as:

plastic chord” – compositional basic and the tool to compress art sign

figurative support”, “figurative body transition”, “elementary step and run

space shaping”, “emphasis”, “en face-ness” and others

project mission

The mission of this project is to reflect on current global dance trends and practices, explore culturally determined embodiment and grasp the residual pattern of the Soviet embodiment, that we were taught to be ashamed of. Working on this project we faced resistance of our teachers' generation and unconscious autocolonial moods. We do not blame them, since they satisfied their cultural hunger after the fall of the Iron Curtain by studying contemporary dance from Western institutions and artistically “grew up” in a certain aesthetic hierarchy: art that looked “western" was encouraged by international institutions, so it was considered as “proper contemporary”. Meanwhile, the younger generation of artists has less fear of studying soviet heritage and demonstrates rather remarkable interest in our controversial history.

In the era of globalization and cultural unification that happens whether we want this or not,  we still stay diverse and it makes the world a better place. We believe that communication and knowledge exchange are crucial for the art community, and in order to have resources for such exchange we should stay diverse.

project links

video for residency applications

detailed project info   

Meyerhold Theatre Residency

short version
full version  

text of Garage MCA 

video-trailer of laboratory “Experiments in Choreology”