Artek kids learn Kalinka dance on Friends Day

On Friends Day, children from Artek and their new friends from Greece learned how to make Dutch clogs and many interesting facts about the world’s wonders. As part of the Artek Commonwealth Festival, exhibitions of national cultures of 33 foreign delegations were held. 

The Artek Commonwealth International Festival, organized together with the Artek Support Fund, is being held for the second time. Foreign interest in the festival is growing. The first festival involved creative teams from 13 countries, while this year, winners and runners-up of international and Russian contests from 34 countries, including Ireland, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, France, Czech Republic and Sweden, are taking part in the festival.

“Artek has always been a place for friendship between children of different nationalities. This kind of friendship eventually grows into cultural, business and technological projects between countries,” Artek Director Alexei Kasprzhak said. “Over the last three years, we have hosted over 1,500 children from different countries. By the end of 2017, we will have hosted hundreds of children from over 50 countries. Now 1.5 million of Artek children will carry with them the value of this friendship throughout their lives, which undoubtedly contributes to the development of international dialogue. A child’s voice is often louder than hundreds of adult voices because it is sincere – and this is your strength!” 

On Friends Day, Russian children presented their cultural program: performing traditional Russian songs with the Volnitsa Ensemble of Cossack Songs and then teaching the Russian folk dance Kalinka, which is usually danced at the end of all summer camp sessions. When they come home, foreign children will teach the Kalinka to their peers. Children from Armenia and Belarus showed documentaries about the traditions and history of their countries. And Greek children brought a lot of souvenirs and postcards depicting Greek historical monuments and world wonders, which got other children interested in Greek culture. 

“My mother told me that Artek is a very good children’s camp. Now I can see that this is true,” Vasilis Freskakis from Greece said. “For a week and a half here, I made friends with guys from Russia, Finland and Norway. At the art studio, I learned to make things from natural materials. It makes me happy that everyone asks me what country I am from. My brother and I tell them about Greek history, sights and wonders of the world. At the end of the session, we will give souvenirs and postcards to our friends or exchange with them so that we have something to remember.”

Alyona Makarova, coordinator of educational programs with the Artek Support Fund, said that children from different countries have no obstacle to communication: “Many children speak Russian and English. Even if they don’t speak these languages, they quickly find a common language – a kind of language of art – and this is something adults can learn from. It turns out that friendship doesn’t require that many words.”

Speaking about what friendship means for Artek kids today, Sofia Kononova (Netherlands) said: “There are so many wars in the world. But if we tell one another about good things in our countries and become friends, then in the future, we will be able to resolve many issues peacefully. Our friendship is the guarantee of peace in the future.”