FUQUAY-VARINA — While the Olympics are underway in Sochi, a little bit of Russia is coming to Fuquay-Varina.
The Golden Gates, a youth dance and music troupe from Russia and Georgia, will present a free concert Wednesday at Stars Theater & Arts Center.
The students range in age from about 12 to 19 and compete for the chance to perform for about five weeks in the United States.
The program allows the youths to learn about American culture, visit famous landmarks across the country and meet their American peers when they stay with host families, said organizer Vitaly Bezrodnov of Fuquay-Varina.
Bezrodnov is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, where he studied music. He plays the Russian accordion.
Bezrodnov started Golden Gates about 10 years ago. He stayed in touch with several of his university classmates over the years, and some of them are now directors of performing arts programs.
He hit upon the idea of bringing students to the United States to share old Russian and Georgian folk dances.
“I think eveybody wins,” he said. “For the kids who are coming here, it’s a chance to share their culture, perform, learn about this cutlture and history of the U.S. They get to meet real people from other countries. It’s a window to the world.”
So far, this year’s group of teens has visited New Orleans, La., Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
Bezrodnov estimates that up to 50,000 people attend the live performances. The tour is scheduled to end Feb. 20.
Because of Bezrodnov’s ties to the Triangle, the group typically performs at Wake County schools and tries to do a performance every few years in Fuquay-Varina for the public.
“It is a very entertaining and educational show,” said David Morris, a member of the the Fuquay-Varina Arts Council, which is sponsoring the show. “It’s a lot of costumes and pageantry. You are getting a peek of the color, dance and music of old Russia and old Georgia. It’s totally a different kind of performance you can expect. They will drag people out of the audience and show them some dance moves.”
Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews