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Creating conditions for full-fledged leisure activities promotes a healthy lifestyle, so the company annually implements a multi-purpose "Culture and Sports" program. Almaz Palace of Culture is the pride of ALROSA Cultural and Sports Complex. There are dozens of folklore ensembles, a fashion studio, children's clubs, teenage associations, retirement clubs, a Museum of the History of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and a cinema.

We met with one of the Almaz employees – Elena Vasilyeva. This modest and charming lady told not so much about herself as about her pupils, who perform in a folk ensemble, and colleagues.

I come from Nam village of Verkhnevilyuysk district. I am a choreographer by profession. I graduated from the Yakut Republican Cultural and Educational College’s Dance Department, as well as the Faculty of Yakut Philology and Cultural Studies of YSU (now NEFU). For a long time, I worked as a choreographer for Aiylgy folk song and dance ensemble and a teacher of special subjects at the Department of Extra-Curricular Teaching of N. G. Chernyshevsky Vilyuisk Pedagogical College. I worked with very dedicated, intelligent and qualified teachers. I learned a lot from them and I remember this team with warmth and gratitude. At the moment I am Kustuk Yakut dance ensemble’s Artistic Director at ALROSA’s Almaz Palace of Culture in Mirny.

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I follow the mottos "Everything that happens is for the best" and "Perfection has no limit." As a creative person, I always try something new. Once my niece sent me an advertisement for a job as a choreographer in Almaz Palace of Culture. She suggested that I send a resume. I called the Artistic Director of Almaz Lev Kolesov (Author’s Note: he is now the Deputy Director of ALROSA CSC for culture), and he invited me to an interview. So, I ended up in Mirny, being interviewed by Vyacheslav Tarasov, who was the Director at the time. Then I met with the former Director of ALROSA CSC Georgiy Yust. Anyway, they agreed and I had no choice but to resign from my previous job. I didn't tell anyone about my decision to get a new job and even move until the last moment.

On September 1, 2014 I became the Head of the Kustuk folk ensemble. I remember how Lev Ivanovich showed the study, told about the history of the ensemble, and introduced me the team. That’s how I gradually started adjusting to my new job. Our first performance took place on September 27 – the Republic Statehood Day. I am very grateful to my girls, members of the ensemble, Ilona Vasilyeva, Marfa Markheeva, Aiyna Ivanova, Anastasia-Uygu Vasilyeva, Alena Danilova, Taisia Ivanova, Victoria Vladimirova, Christina Tomskaya, Anna Prokopyeva, and Anna Krylova for supporting me in the first years of work in the ensemble. They helped to gather the former members of the ensemble. We recruited more willing dancers. Alena and Lisa Ageenko, Albina Pavlova, Nastya Prokopyeva, Dunya Ivanova, Ivan Ivanov, Ilya Tikhonov, Alexander Nikiforov and others joined us.

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Kustuk folk ensemble of Yakut dance was created in 1983 by Honorary Worker of SR(Y) Anatoly Filippov as part of Almaz. Anatoly Alekseevich was the permanent Director and choreographer of this group for more than 30 years. His rich experience, knowledge of folk dance, customs and traditions allowed to express the rich culture of the Sakha people on stage. In 1992, the ensemble defended its title of a national under his leadership.

Today students of Mirny Polytechnic Institute, Mirny Regional Technical College, and working youth of the city are in the ensemble. Alena and Lisa Ageenko, Albina Pavlova, Vika Vladimirova, Sveta Abramova, Nyurgun Chelberdirov, Misha Vinokurov, Aisen Afanasiev, and Sasha Stepanov have been in the ensemble for six or five years. Also, Uygu Petrova and Alena Danilova have been in the ensemble for about ten years. We have high hopes for Kyunney Petrova, Zina Stepanova, Ayta Sivtseva, Andrey Androsov, Rostislav Popov, Semen Semenov, Erel Osipov and others.

After graduation, many of our children are employed in ALROSA and oil and gas companies. So, Uygu Petrova, Ilona Vasilieva, Aiyna Ivanova, and Uygulan Novgorodov work in different ALROSA departments. Taisia Ivanova, Evdokia Ivanova, and Anastasia Prokopieva work in an oil and gas company in Tas-Yuryakh.  In the future, I hope that even more local youth will be employed in industrial companies under the Local personnel in Industry program.

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Since 2012, the ensemble has a children's group that was created by Anatoly Filippov. It is led by a young and talented specialist Aytalina Andreeva. In 2018, we also have created an adults’ group for dance lovers over 30 years old.

Our team is the only Yakut dance ensemble in Mirny district. It promotes national culture among the population. We successfully participate in various competitions and festivals in the region, the Republic and beyond. Here is the list of our latest creative achievements: in March 2019, we took 1st place at We are the future of Great Russia International Festival-Competition; 2nd place at Wealth of Russia International Festival-Competition in Moscow; won in the Choreography category at In One Family Regional Youth Festival in November, and also won the Grand Prix of Kyun Michere National Dance Competition, dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Exemplary Ensemble of Russia, A. Okoemov Micher national dance ensemble. All this is achieved thanks to the talent, hard work, and dedication to the art of our dancers.

We would like to express our gratitude to the management of ALROSA CSC and Almaz Palace of Culture administration for their support for our ensemble’s participation in all festivals and competitions.

Victoria Stas’

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