The first performance the state academic folk dance ensemble of Bashkortostan, Russia's republic in the Urals, gave in London on Wednesday night scored a tremendous success. The folk group gave the performance in the Royal Festival Hall, London's most prestigious stage. The group won thunderous applause of the generally fastidious and conservative British public. Spectators appreciated the mastery and high level of choreography the Bashkir dancers displayed that night. The viewers were virtually drawn into the whirlpool of Russian, Ukrainian, Bashkir, Belarussian, Ingush, Jewish and other folk dances, failing to resist their dynamism and rhythm. Bright costumes and a wonderful orchestra accompaniment added to the impression. Rif Gabitov, artistic director of the group, said he was pleased with the way the dancers were performing and the audience reacting to the performance. This was the Bashkir team's second successful debut in a foreign country after more than a 10-year break in foreign tours, he said. The ensemble was established in 1939 and had frequent tours until it found itself in financial straits. These days, however, the folk dance team has an opportunity to resume foreign tours, with Russian sponsors, who are interested in developing Russian art and foreign public's contacts with this art, having appeared. "We are projecting more performances abroad, and are planning the routes," said Gabitov.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated