KODIAK -- Russian culture is an important part of Kodiak's past, and the Kodiak Russian Balalaika Players are ensuring Kodiak children learn about it.
Last week a group of children in Kodiak had the opportunity to learn about different aspects of Russian culture, including dance, music and costumes.
"This Baranov Museum and Kodiak Arts Council have collaborated for the last three years," Baranov curator of education Marie Acemah said.
The Kodiak Arts Council reached out to one of its member groups to teach the class the first year, and the group has continued to teach children each summer during the Russian culture camp. The kids ranged in age from 5 to 11.
The students learned to play the balalaika, a three-stringed, triangular, guitar-like Russian instrument played by finger plucking.
The class was taught by Kodiak Russian Balalaika Players members Stephen Bodnar, Casey Janz and Nancy Bors.
"Dance comes easier to the kids because it's movement-oriented," Janz said. "Instruments take more repetition and focus."
The songs were altered for the children so they could learn them quickly, as the class was only a week.
"Research-wise, it's us looking at music we play and figuring out what fits for the kids from what we do," Janz said. "We start very basic, plucking one open string."
As the students progressed through the week the class added percussion instruments to the mix and learned to play "The Little Smithy" song.
The camp ended with a prazdnik, the Russian word for party. The kids performed a dance, played a song and ate Russian tea treats with family and friends.