Kozachok (Ukrainian: Козачок) or kazachok (Russian: Казачок) is a folk dance from Ukraine. It is a fast, linear, couple-dance in 2/4, typically in a constantly increasing tempo and of an improvisatory character in a major key. The woman leads and the man follows, imitating her figures- she signals movement changes by hand clapping.
The kozachok, from Kozak ("Cossack"), can be traced back to the Vertep, the late 16th and 17th century Ukrainian itinerant puppet theatre. Vertep plays consisted of two parts, the first dramatizing the birth of Christ, and the second with a secular plot. In Ukraine it was often a joyful celebration centred on the Cossacks from the Zaporizhian region, who sang, played the bandura, and danced. This dance became known as the Vertepny Kozachok, literally meaning "A Cossack Puppet from Vertep" and displayed all the characteristics of the fiery Kozak temperament.
Variants of the kozachok also include the Kuban-kazachok (from the Kuban district) and the Ter-kazachok (from the northern Caucasus).
The first known arrangement of a kozachok is attributed to the Ruthenian lutenist and composer K.S.R. Dusiacki (17th century). There are manuscript collections of kozachok melodies from the second half of the 18th century, and printed collections begin to appear toward the end of that century.
The Kozachok was often performed in the 18th century in French ballets and achieved widespread popularity after the Russian troops occupied Paris in the 1813.
In the 19th century the dance has changed, it was then performed as a circle-dance; since the end of the 1960s, it has been revived in many countries. There are arrangements of it in the works of Alexander Serov, Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers. Among works for symphony orchestra, notable are Alexander Dargomyzhsky's Malorossiysky kazachok (Малороссийский казачок), R. Simovych's Third Symphony and the Dance Suite by A. Kolomiyetz.
- Bobri, Vladimir - Notes on the Ukrainian Folk Dances //Guitar review - #33, Summer, 1970 p. 27
- Ukrayins'ke kozatstvo - (Entsyklopedia) Kiev, 2006
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