This mesmerizing floating-step routine is a Russian folk dance known as "Berezka," which means birch tree, and was founded in 1948 by choreographer Nadezhda Nadezhdina. As a new member of the ensemble, dancers are sworn to secrecy about the technique. With a mix of traditional folk dances and classical choreography, this world-famous dance has gained enough recognition to be considered a new genre of Russian art.
Folk dance is a truly rich and varied part of our shared human existence. Influenced by the geography, culture, and social aspects of specific regions at specific times in history, folk dancing is often different from other forms, like ritualistic dancing or performance dancing for one major reason. It’s for the folks doing it!
One of the major defining characteristics of “folk dance,” regardless of where it hails from, is that it’s not meant for the pleasure of someone else, whether that be some worshipped deity, a king, queen, or even a normal audience. The core of folk dance is in the idea of a group of people, friends, neighbors, family, getting together and dancing for fun or socialization. This is similar to the way someone might dance at a nightclub in the modern era, only a little more community-focused.
Because they vary so much from region to region and culture to culture, eventually an interest developed, somewhat ironically, in staging performances of these kinds of dances in front of an audience. The fascination continues into the Internet age, with videos such as this one demonstrating that cultural diversity is both beautiful and quite interesting.