Encyclopedia of Dance: Bullseye


The dance of Russian sailors «Yablochko» is a demonstration of the breadth of the Russian soul, strength, skill and daring

Serving in the Russian Navy has always been considered prestigious and honorable. Russian sailors are distinguished by their daring and enthusiasm, which is manifested both in sea everyday life on deck and in short moments of rest. The breadth of the Russian character, openness and daring are perfectly reflected in the dance of Russian sailors «Yablochko».

The history of the origin of the dance

The Yablochko dance, so popular among Russian sailors, has a foreign origin and a long history. The predecessor of this dance was the English hornpipe, known since the Middle Ages. However, the year of the appearance of the sailor dance in a form close to that in which it is known now is called 1760, when one dance was composed of two miniatures. At that time, it was performed exclusively by men, but now it is allowed to introduce women into the dance. For the first time, women performed the hornpipe in the Irish county of Cork. The melody of the “Apple” dance itself is a ditty song that appeared during the years of the Civil War. There were countless options for the text, but all of them were designed to increase the morale of the Red Army soldiers. According to some versions, the prototype of the main melody «Apple» was the Moldavian song «Kalach». The popular melody was further developed in classical variations. So, in 1927, the dance of military sailors to the melody «Apple» was included in the program of R. Glier’s ballet «Red Flower».

Since then, along with English and Irish sailors, the hornpipe has spread around the world, incorporating the national features of various nationalities. In Russia, the dance was called «Yablochko» and replenished with the movements of the Russian dance.

dance Bullseye

What is the Apple Dance?

The execution of the «Yablochka» does not require much space, which is important in the conditions of a limited ship space. The melody of the dance is built according to the musical square, and the figures of the dance are also designed for 8-16 measures of performance. The time signature is 2/4, the tempo varies from slow to very fast. Usually the dance begins with slow, wide movements, the performer appears on the stage, as if not dancing yet, but only walking around, but the scope and temperament are already felt. Gradually, the pace increases, and the dancers demonstrate a virtuoso performance technique. Sailor dance includes many male power tricks, squats, crackers. The traditional costume of the performers «Yablochka» is well known to the audience. These are obligatory vest, peakless cap, wide trousers. Irish sailors danced their dance in rough heavy boots, modern dancers tend to perform «Bullseye» in boots.

Features of the sailor dance «Apple»

Rhythmic meter and characteristic movements «Yablochka» is an English and Irish hornpipe, but rethought and modified in the Russian tradition. The movements of the British sailors and their Russian colleagues were put into a typically Russian melody, but the nature of the dance, its bravado and daring remained unchanged. The Russian version of the dance can be adapted for performance in a limited space. This is facilitated by the features of Russian dance — folded arms, a straight body, quick foot movements in one place. For the Russian version of the dance, dances are characteristic — one of the dancers shows some movement, and the other must reproduce it exactly, and then show his trick, which the first dancer must repeat. The naval team, isolated for the duration of the voyage, contributed to the preservation of the traditions of sailor dance. On the other hand, the length of stay on the ship during the voyage made it possible to enrich the dance with new elements.

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