If you’re like many Americans and your understanding of Russian culture is limited to Stoli vodka, Matryoshka dolls and the cartoon characters of Boris and Natasha in “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” then you are in for a terrific opportunity to expand your knowledge and appreciation of one of the oldest and most accomplished cultures on earth. On May 23, the Russian-American Culture Center is holding its “Russian Festival” at University High School campus (2825 W. 116th St., Carmel) to benefit the Indiana Russian School. The festival will be a full day celebration of Russian culture featuring Russian art, music, dance and authentic Russian food. For adults, the day starts at 1 p.m. with a documentary about Russia which will be followed during the day with a panel discussion on “Russia Today” and a Russian movie with English subtitles. Beginning at 2 p.m., there will be a two-hour concert for young and old alike entitled “Welcome to Russia!” The concert will feature world class performances by Carmel’s nationally acclaimed ballet company, Indianapolis Ballet Conservatory, and also a Cincinnati-based Russian folk dance group. There will also be Russian vocal performances. This concert will be a wonderful chance to feel the overwhelming passion of the Russian spirit as expressed through its native arts. For the kids, there will be an interactive educational kids’ corner where they will have an opportunity to see individuals dressed in traditional Russian costumes, a chance to paint nesting dolls, participate in ballet workshops, watch Russian cartoons, a chance to write their name in the Russian language and much much more. The Russian School of Indiana was founded in 1993 by a group of Russian-speaking immigrants/parents who had a concern to keep their children engaged in their Russian heritage while they were assimilating to their new American culture. Today the school is a fully-functional non-profit, tax-exempt organization with a great team of professional instructors and energetic leaders. The number of students has grown to over 100. Classes are held on Sundays at the University High School. Many classes are geared toward children from families where Russian is spoken in the home, but it also has classes for students who are learning Russian as a foreign language. Admission to the festival is free, but access to all activities is provided with a $5 donation. Authentic Russian food and artisans’ wares will be available for purchase. For more information, visit indydeti.com or call 317-399-4685.