Special course

SPECIAL COURSE 2021
SPECIAL COURSE 2021
The program is supported by Gazprombank (Joint Stock Company)
Within the framework of Innopraktika & Russian Seasons School, a psychological support program is being held. The aim of the psychological support program is to guide students through the space of the “Russian code”, to help them each to see something of their own in Russian tradition that could become a new source of inspiration.
In 2021, the School included three educational sessions: visual art, music, and choreography. Within the framework of the program, the participants analyzed their experience of interaction with Russian culture and values, gradually coming to understand that the values of the “Russian cultural code” are of a global nature.
Andrey Podolsky, head of the program, Professor, Doctor of Sciences in Psychology, Head of Department of Human Development at Innopraktika company, tells more about the program of psychological support:

“The sessions were held in the form of discussions and short presentations and included the following elements:

  • Discussion of expectations and first impressions of Russia
  • Encouragement to capture experiences (in drawings, photos, and on social media)
  • Handling all three types of experience: emotional, rational, and reflexive.
  • Discussing unique events and impressions of School participants
  • Detecting and expressing potential conflicts
  • Discussing individual experiences in terms of understanding the value dilemmas of the modern world.

Over the course of the school, students developed their vision of the issue of values in the modern world. Naturally, the formulation and content of each participant’s dilemma were significantly influenced by their specialization in the arts.”

Art Session

During the opening of the school, we addressed the key points regarding the values of modern people, sometimes conflicting: Can art unite people around the world in the act of true creation? Can the modern man not lose himself, to survive in his uniqueness among the chaos of ideas and images and, at the same time, to achieve mutual understanding with people whose system of values differs from his own? How can we make meaningful choices in a world where all aspects of life have become commodities for consumption, a beautiful background for social media posts?

These issues seem to be global and universal to every person, regardless of where they were born or what culture and family they grew up in. Exploring one’s own identity, what it means to be a person living in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, is the goal of the creative exploration and the final projects of the School 2021 sessions.

The session participants were invited to reflect in their works the struggle taking place within modern people between eternal, true global principles and aggressively imposed meaningless temptations of the modern world to assess what kind of value conflict they intend to display in their works.

In the first class we addressed the problem of analyzing the initial attitudes and expectations of the students, reflecting on their first impression of Russia, and shaping the students’ understanding of the area of values of the «Russian cultural code.» In a group discussion, students were given the opportunity to reflect on their impressions and expectations of the School.

In the second class, group discussion also highlighted those fundamental values around which conflict is always relevant. We met with the leading professors beforehand and discussed their role in supporting this work of the students: to help them highlight the value conflicts represented in their forthcoming projects in some figurative form. Students were given the homework assignment to determine the conflict of values that could be represented in the final project.

In the third mid-term class, students discussed the results of this work. It turned out very lively and exciting. As a result, each student had its own «conflict» topic. These topics were given to the teachers with appropriate explanations. In this class, students were given the task of depicting the selected conflict in a short verbal description.

All students submitted the results of this work within the deadlines

In the fourth class, held online for obvious reasons, the presented works were discussed, and the necessary accents were laid out to help students combine the artistic content and the value conflict in the presentation of their projects.

Choreography Session

 Goals and objectives.

Goal:

  • to ensure, through carefully organized work with the participants, that their artwork reflects the value conflict of the modern world.

Objectives:

  • To enable team building during the first stage of work
  • To expand participants’ understanding of Russian culture as a source of inspiration
  • To organize a collective reflection on the topic of the value conflict of the modern world.
  • To facilitate the expression of individual understanding and interpretation of the value conflict of the modern world by the participants of the School

 Format and tools

Through the program, participants analyze their experiences with Russian culture and values, gradually understanding that the Russian cultural identity values are global. A reflective presentation also provides psychological guidance for the participants of the School.

The sessions were held in the form of discussions and short presentations and included the following elements:

  • Discussion of expectations and first impressions of Russia
  • Encouragement to capture experiences (in drawings, photos, and on social media)
  • Handling all three types of experience: emotional, rational, and reflexive.
  • Discussing unique events and impressions of School participants
  • Detecting and expressing potential conflicts
  • Discussing individual experiences in terms of understanding the value dilemmas of the modern world.

The participants of the choreographic session prepared their projects individually. Each one presented their vision of inner conflict through text, video, etc.

Needless to say, that vision greatly varied between dancers and choreographers with different life stories, different paths in the arts.

«I like to meet new people with similar thoughts and moods. It’s worth your time, and it’s always nice to explore your inner selves. I genuinely appreciate people who drive my imagination and challenge me to think deeper, and foster my skills and creativity. The initiative of bringing people from different cultures together to learn, practice, and develop their craft is very much appreciated.  And I especially value that, coming from a country where there are fewer opportunities for artists, the arts are undervalued and not considered a path to a successful career. I truly believe that «Union in Creation» is what humanity needs!»

Or, for example:

“From my point of view, a great artist must be an idealistic person, capable of translating ideas into artistic language. For a long time, I was being thorough about understanding the fundamentals of dance, focusing too much on the skills rather than the basis of thinking.

However, after I started doing choreography, I discovered that the most valuable part of the dance is that choreography offers a useful way of thinking and expressing ideas to society. I never consider choreography in terms of form and material. I consider it in terms of questions or problems, and when there are questions or problems, there is art. I think the approach to creativity in terms of materials and form is narrow. Art is a common channel for expressing personal emotions and feelings. But the key here is the extent of personal experience and the relationship between the artist’s emotions and social culture.  Alternatively: The topic of conflict is an interesting one. Conflict occurs inside my body as my muscles pray for rest, but my mind pushes me further. Conflict as a contrast. A change of temperature, a change of scenery, a change of mindset as I learn to accept change and draw patience from it. Language meeting places: Russian, English, Italian, Filipino. I’m looking forward to processing everything I’ve learned here. I’m looking forward to seeing where it might take me next time. I am so grateful for the opportunity. Thank you for inviting me.”

Music session

Participants of the music session worked in groups, each group presenting its answer to the question of the value dilemma of the modern world.

In contrast to the art and choreography sessions, it was much more difficult for participants in the music session to portray the issue of values in the modern world within the composition and performance of musical works. However, the group discussions have led to very non-trivial solutions. Here’s how participants of one of the session groups describe the difficulties:

“Our primary goal as composers at the Russian Seasons school is to write a piece for orchestra, using some of the themes composed by the famous Russian composer Rimsky Korsakov. After reading the assignment for the first time, I must admit that I felt a mixture of fear and confusion. After several days of deepest internal struggles, when I could not imagine possible bridges between these two worlds, I stumbled upon the idea of translating this very impossibility into music. Instead of looking for a synthesis of the two extremes, I decided to enact the contradictions by showing them instead of trying to dilute them and thus used them as the essence of the piece. After all, the kinds of experiences in which external circumstances seem to force you to work differently from the way you usually choose to work alone are the kinds of experiences that affect you the most, looking at the big picture. They require a certain degree of inner change, which of course, entails certain insecurity stemming from the fact that your inner self, your personality, is being transformed. My piece seeks to answer some questions that revolve around the idea of personal and collective identity. What are the limits of self-expression in art? Where is the boundary that separates the personal from the collective? What conflicts arise in the arts as a result of the interaction between the individual and society? Did we know that behind any work of art created by any person, there is a large amount of collective work? As a result of the attempts to connect these very distant worlds, inevitable conflicts arose, which are the main essence of the play and were embodied in the music.”

The work of one of the composers was called «Anthem.» The author was greatly influenced when writing the composition by his impressions of St. Petersburg and his study of Russian composers. According to the synopsis, the composer included a dance motif from Rimsky-Korsakov’s «Sadko». At first the motif appears only in fragments underneath the main melody, but it gradually grows, shining through in its entirety in the climax. The idea of conflict reaches its climax in the third section. Here the composer transforms a previously pensive motif to convey this. She sought to explore her conflict here, when she was deciding to devote herself to writing music full-time. The music was also inspired by the collective sense of loss experienced by humanity during the pandemic. For example, the violin solo represents one mournful voice, joined by others as the piece progresses.

Thus, by means of music, both in terms of composition and performance, the same problems of conflict of human values are reflected, albeit in a special way, as well as their projection onto creative activity.

PROFESSORS