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Russian soldiers dancing in barracks. Painting by Frédéric de Haenen, 1913.

Trepak (Russian: трeпак) or tropak (Ukrainian: трoпак) is a traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk dance[1] from the Slobozhan region of Ukraine and Russia (around the cities of Kharkiv and Belgorod) settled primarily by descendants of the Zaporozhian Cossacks and settlers from Central Russia and Southern Russia[citation needed].

The dance is a brisk allegro in 2
time in a major key. Accompaniment is usually on two alternating chords; dominant and tonic. The tropak differs from the better known Hopak in chordal use and also in that the tempo gradually speeds up throughout the dance.

The Trepak was one of the traditional instrumental dances played by blind itinerant musicians called kobzars on their banduras and kobzas. It was also one of the dances often included in the repertoire of village violinists in Eastern Ukraine.

One of its best known representations is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Trepak (also known as the Russian Dance) from the ballet The Nutcracker. The dance music was also used in the last movement of his Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. The third of Modest Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death is named "Trepak".

In dance[edit]

The Tropak shares many musical and choreographic characteristics with the Hopak. Both developed as Cossack social dances, performed at celebratory occasions. Traditional Tropak choreography did not survive except a simple walk with a syncopated stamp, often done to a quick duple meter rhythm.

On So You Think You Can Dance (Season 4), Joshua Allen and Stephen "Twitch" Boss performed a Trepak routine, interpreted as a dance duel, in Week 9 (August 6, 2008).

See also[edit]


  • (in Ukrainian) Humeniuk, Andriy (1962). Ukrainian Folk Dances (Українські Hароднi Танцi), Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR.
  • (in Ukrainian) Humeniuk, Andriy (1963). Folk Choreographic Art of Ukraine (Hароднe Xореографiчнe Mиcтeцтвo України), Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR.
  1. ^ (in Russian) Фраёнова Е. М. Трепак // Музыкальная энциклопедия / под ред. Ю. В. Келдыша. — М.: Советская энциклопедия, Советский композитор, 1981. — Т. 5.

External links[edit]