About This Song
Russian Dance (Trepak, Трепак, Трoпак, Трiпак) refers to one of the most distinguished and celebrated dances in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker. One of several consecutive ethnic dances in the ballet, it is based on the traditional Ukrainian folk dance known in Ukrainian as the Tropak or Tripak, a dance with Cossak origins. The “Trepak” often also goes under the name “Russian Dance” (the other ethnic dances of the ballet have dual names as well, e.g. “Tea” is also “Chinese Dance”). The “Trepak” is arguably the most popular dance of the ballet (although a case could be made for both the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the “Waltz of the Flowers”, which are actually heard more often than the “Trepak”). The dance makes common use of ethnic Ukrainian folk melodies. Tchaikovsky’s “Trepak” is written in AABA form. Excitement, athletic prowess, and celebration all seem to describe this selection from the ballet and it is played in presto tempo, and is the key of G major. It is an animated dance in 2/4 time, and it is typically performed by men and features prisiadka (kicking the legs from a squatting position).