Enter Kyiv, the final stop of our tour.
On Aug. 23 (day 13) — the Day of the National Flag — we had a workshop with the P. Virsky National Ukrainian Folk Dance Ensemble. That's right, Virsky, the group Ukrainian dancers look up to starting when they can put their hands on their hips. Troyanda, Sopilka, along with the Shumka School of Dance (the same group that joined us in Lviv) participated in a ballet warm up led by Valentina Vantuh, the director of the Virsky school.
After barre, centre work, and across the floors, we went to another studio in the building to watch the Virsky men's technique class. They blew us away. It's one thing to watch Virsky on video (check out this and this), but it's a whole other thing to see them up close and in person.
While Sopilka had a dance workshop in the morning, Troyanda explored the Sergei Korolev Space Museum. Sergei (1907-1966) was a spacecraft engineer and lived in Zhytomyr. Part of the museum was in the house he grew up in.
Later in the day, Troyanda workshopped with the legendary Rafael Malinowsky. We've heard about Rafael since Kristina joined on as Troyanda's artistic director years ago. He's a Polissian genius, and though we couldn't always understand what he was saying (he speaks only Ukrainian), we caught a glimpse into his magical mind.
Our stay in Chernivtsi was short and sweet (and sweaty). Troyanda had a workshop with Leonid Sidorchyk, a choreographer with the Bukovina State Ensemble. He was lots of fun to work with and was patient with us even though most of us don't speak Ukrainian well, or at all. (Thanks for translating, Paul!) It got hot in the studio — Leonid, who was wearing and dancing in jeans, said it was about 46 C. But we adjusted to the heat, seeing as our rehearsal hall in Selkirk gets just as hot at times.
The dance we learned is quick, our feet never stopping, always stamping and moving to the music. (Here's a sneak peak of a fun lift we do.)
Between this past week of travelling, performing, and workshopping, we've had little free time (not complaining whatsoever!) hence the lack of blog posts. We'll have a couple more up shortly to update you on what we did in Chernivtsi (Bukovinian region) and Zhytomyr (Polissian region). In the meantime, check out Troyanda's Instagram and Facebook.
Also, click the following tags to see dancers' posts of the tour! #troyandatour2017 #stut2017 (stands for Sopilka Troyanda Ukraine tour 2017).
I don’t think we could ever get sick of waking up to the views and fresh air of the Carpathian Mountains.
We started off Wednesday by heading to the bazaar in Kosiv. The bigger bazaar is on weekends only, so we didn’t get the chance to check that out, but we still had plenty of fun, and spent plenty of hyrivnia, at the smaller market. It took about an hour to drive there from our hotel — it wasn’t that far, but the countryside roads sure are bumpy. It gave us a taste of home during Winnipeg’s pothole season, drivers swerving side to side but in the end, hitting the unavoidable dips and bumps.
On Saturday morning, Troyanda and Sopilka, along with the Shumka School of Dance, had a workshop with the Volyn Folk Choir and Dance Ensemble. Class started off with a ballet warm up before we started the choreography part. We learned various Volyn polkas — who knew there were so many ways to do the basic “1-2-3” step. An accordion player accompanied us during the class — the Volyn dancers saying “8-and” for tempo, and the accordion player taking it from there.
Later that day, we had our first performance of the International Ukrainian Dance and Culture Festival on an outdoor stage at Rynok Square in Lviv. Troyanda and Sopilka each performed two dances, and that was plenty, considering the sun was shining bright and hot, hot, hot. It was 32 C, though of course wearing our multi-layered costumes, it felt quite a bit warmer.
We're proud to say, 14 years after our last time here, Troyanda is back in Ukraine! The majority of the group came to Lviv on Thursday, meeting up with others who arrived earlier to visit family and tour Europe. We're here with our friends Sopilka's Performing Ensemble who we will perform alongside throughout the tour, and some of our ladies will join them in one of their dances.