Wichita Grand Opera
Century II Concert Hall
225 W. Douglas Ave.
Wichita , Kansas 67202
316.683.3444 Admin Office
316.262.8054 Box Office
Ukrainian National Dance Company October 10, 2009, 7pm
Wichita Grand Opera proudly presents the Ukrainian National Dance Company, which the New York Times has acclaimed as "Astonishing!" and the Washington Post proclaims that they are "Crowd Pleasing by Leaps and Bounds!". Famous for its brightly colored costumes, high spirited hi-jinks and athletic precision, the 80 dancers and musicians have embraced the beauty of their native Ukraine. The wisdom of its people mixed with folkloric humor and optimism is expertly portrayed in this truly electrifying performance.
Each and every performance is a romantic, elevated, passionate and exciting show. The ensemble’s diverse concert programs presents the exquisite charm of Ukrainian folk dancing and the wealth of its traditions spanning from the Cossacks to the fertile plains, the Black Sea and the Carpathian Mountain regions. This precision and charm has been warmly received by audiences all over the world.
Myroslav Vantukh, Artistic Director of the Ukrainian National Dance Company and expert in folk traditions and ethnography has been in charge of the ensemble since 1980. His main objective is the careful preservation and development of folk choreographic art.
1. UKRAINE, MY UKRAINE!
In their tradition, bread and salt on an embroidered towel is a symbol of the sincerity and kindness of the Ukrainian people. This is a greeting dance encompassing the vast and diverse regions of Ukraine. Each region has its own local flavor, its own dialect through dance—here, all these wonderful flavors are united into a single dance just as the various flowers in a garland.
2. POVZUNETS (COSSACK PLAYFUL DANCE)
One of the more popular and well-known dances for spectators, “Povzunets” is a light-hearted jaunt that demonstrates the technical ability of the performers with impressive tricks, and an amazing, almost inexhaustible technical mastery. The ingenuity, joy, bravery, and free-spiritedness of the Zaporizhia Cossacks is highly valued by the Ukrainian people, and their song evokes feelings of audacity, courage, and abandon.
3. KMIL (HOP)
Performed in folk traditions, the “Kmil” is a choreographic performance of boys walking in the evening. Accompanied by Ukrainian folk music “Oh Khmil, My Khmil,” the merrymaking also evokes male staidness and respect. The evening is enhanced by the appearance of a female soloist, who demonstrates incredulous skill. She invites the other women to join with the men in performing this traditional dance. Colorful male and female costumes and traditional music coalesce in this ancient Ukrainian dance.
4. HOPAK (UKRANIAN FOLK DANCE) from the opera, Taras Bulba
Great Ukrainian Hero Taras Bulba fought against Polish nobility with the help of his son Ostap. Hopak performed by Ostap symbolizes strength, courage, and the kind hearts of the Ukrainian Cossack. As Ostap skillfully performs this expressive and light dance, he shares with us the invincible spirit of Ukraine.
A very happy dance, full of delicate, lyrical scenes. As a whole, it is a bright and dynamic narration about Ukrainian women. The lively costumes and beautiful music, and high professionalism of the choreographics—all of this can assure of a brilliant performance for spectators.
6. KYIV FELLOWS
This dance showcases youth in competition, and is accompanied by comic and even satirical parts. It celebrates the shrewdness and vigor often associated with youth, while also finding humor in the boastfulness and arrogance that accompanies it. The competition is filled with passion and shades and swings of mood, however the audience is able to guess the distinct characters of each of the competitors. This dance is typically Ukranian, but known in other countries as well.
7. VERBICHENKA (LITTLE WILLOW)
“Verbichenka” is a female dance-allegory. In the words of a Ukranian song:
8. ZAPOROZHTSI (NATIONAL UKRANIAN DANCE OF COSSACKS)
This dance mimics the warfare rituals of the Zaporizhia warrior-host and “Hetmen” (military commander) Bohdan Khmelnitsky. The legendary Zaporizhian Cossacks, vigorous defenders of their country and heroes from Ukraine’s ancient past, partake in a soldier game before the audience. Equipped in their Cossack uniforms complete with weapons dating from the 12th century, the dancers perform their routine to music that evokes a distinct military romanticism.
1. THE CARPATHIANS
Called by a trembita (a long wooden horn used by the locals of the Carpathian Mountains) after a long workday, the youth gather at a polonyma (a plateau in the mountains, usually covered with thick grass where livestock graze) to sing and dance. The dance describes various regions of Carpathia—Gutsulschyna, Bukonya, Zacarpattia—each region having its own costumes, character, rites and customs, songs and dances. It is an ethnographic illustration, comprised of 3 main parts: a song of the mountains, a song of the water, and a song of the sun. The composition is a bright and dynamic representation of the Carpathian people.
2. PODOLIANOCHKA (GIRL FROM THE PODILLA REGION)
This is a choreographic image full of subtle lyricism. It speaks of spring and the pure love between two young people. The tender musical accompaniment complements this graceful dance.
3. GIPSY DANCE
The classical dance of Bess Arabian gypsies. The gypsies camp is comprised of happy music and passionate dances performed by young men and girls. It is a competition amongst the gypsies, with one group trying to win victory over the other group in the dance. The scene changes with a similar competition amongst the young gypsy girls.
4. SHEVCHYKY (SHOEMAKERS)
This dance speaks of an ancient profession of humanity, that of the shoemaker. While teaching his apprentice how to make shoes, the senior shoemaker also teaches him to adopt a joyful and respectful attitude toward the profession and towards one’s elders.
5. PRECARPATHIAN DANCE “THE BELLS”
This is a lyrical dance exemplifying pure and true love. Two young people in love start dancing. They are overwhelmed with feelings; their small bells tinkle like tiny strings of the soul. They invite young boys and girls who also hold small bells to join with them. It is an ancient tradition of the Precarpathian region, and a hymn to purity and beauty.
6. MORIAKY (SAILORS)
With great pride in their heritage, the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet are the pride and hope of an independent Ukraine. The vivacity and ingenuity of the sailors can captivate us. Their dashing appearance on the stage can remind us of the fresh wind. This dance tells the story of “Peter Pipeclay,” about the energetic and fickle beauty of the sea, and Peter’s abiding love for it. In “Sailors,” the dance churns like the foam of the hollow sea, unwinding headily like a maelstrom that sprays showers all around. Then, but a moment later we share in a quiet chat on the ships deck with the crew responding in unison to each cue. The crew then erupts into a merry dance that evokes ideas of endurance and durability, both characteristic qualities of sailors.
7. CHUMACK JOY
This is a choreographic picture from the past of the Ukrainian people. It is a humorous piece, but at the same time sensitive in nature, depicting the adventures of four poor men, whose poverty forced them to migrate to the southern part of the country to make a living (such people were referred to as Chumacks). The long and difficult journey taught them to appreciate the small tokens of life, such as receiving a new pair of shoes.
8. HOPAK (UKRAINIAN FOLK DANCE)
From time in memoriam, no Ukrainian program would be complete without the “Hopping Dance” (Hopak). With almost every dance step being accompanied by a “Hop” exclamation, this dance eventually came to be known as the “Hopak.” This dance form is comprised of numerous bravura solo performances and breathtaking feats, with spectacular, dynamic and intricate choreographic formations of the company. The female dancers are adorned with the most beautiful blouses, skirts, chaplets, necklaces and colorful headbands, which are representative of the great culture of Ukraine. With its incredible choreography, the “Hopak,” is the quintessential Ukrainian art form, and is a fitting way in which to end this spectacular program.