Assist Dr. Svetlana Sorokina and Dr. Yelena Minyonok as they study and document the masquerading, play-acting, singing, dancing performers who usher in the New Year in rural Moldova. The quirks of Old Calendar/New Calender timekeeping allow you to greet 2019 twice — on January 1st at home and on January 14th in Moldova!

The Moldovan “Malanca” (Old Calendar New Year celebration) traditionally involves troupes of performers going house-to-house to perform ancient magical dances and folk plays.  Actors may be costumed as soldiers, kings, brides or other stock characters.  Dancers may be costumed as animals, particularly bears and goats.  The performances are traditionally believed to bring good luck in the new year.   Both the dances and the plays have roots going back for centuries.

The first days of the expedition you will interview villagers about the form and meaning of Malanca over the years. Our team will also shadow the groups of performers as they rehearse and perfect their costumes, and of course document the performances on January 14th.

Many villages support more than one team of performers, making it a challenge to record all of the New Year action. If you can shoot a video,  take a picture, hold a microphone, ask questions, help wrangle equipment and be a good audience,  you’re welcome to join the expedition!

Applications are now closed. Please view our other upcoming trips!

About This Expedition

  • Dates:

    January 4, 2019 to January 16, 2019

  • Location:

    Clocusna village, Ocnita district, Republic of Moldova

Meet The Team

  • Dr. Svetlana Sorokina

  • head shot Yelena Minyonok

    Dr. Yelena Minyonok

    Major Researcher and Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive
    Gorky Institute of World Literature, Moscow

    Lena Minyonok is a philologist, folklorist, and Principal Investigator of the American Friends of Russian Folklore. Dr. Minyonok graduated from the Philological Department of the Moscow State University, where she received her M.A. degree from in 1988. Her postgraduate studies were at the Gorky Institute of World Literature (Russian Academy of Sciences, 1988-1991). She received her Ph.D. in Folklore (Moscow, 1998) and now serves as Chief Curator of the Folklore Archive and Major Researcher in the Folklore Division of the Gorky Institute. Dr. Minyonok has been a Principal Investigator for countless folklore expeditions and has published over 60 articles about Russian folklore traditions. Most recently, she has led expeditions for the American Friends of Russian folklore in conjunction with the Institute of World Literature at the Russian Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky in 2007, as a Fulbright scholar.

Applications are now closed.
Please view our other upcoming trips!