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.)
Right after the workshop, we quickly cleaned ourselves up as best as we could with limited time and headed to a performance by Gerdan Theatre. We saw the folk choir perform in Lviv, but it was even more special seeing them in their home town and home theatre. Click here to see a few photos and a video from the show.
The next morning we went to the Khotyn Fortress, which was built in the 1300s. The 1300s! Amazing. We didn't have much time to tour around but did quickly walk inside the fortress, including the dungeons.
We had a quick turn around after the fortress tour to prepare for a show in Mamaivtsi, a village in the Chernivtsi oblast. The village organized a show for us to perform in, along with its own local dancers (who wore the most beautiful costumes, with beaded Bukovinian blouses — one dancer said it took her Baba two years to make it).
It was such a meaningful and powerful show for us. It truly seemed like the whole village came together to put on the show, and at the end of the performance, they treated us with fresh fruit, which was so, so welcome after a week of nearly no fruit. (We always had plenty of vegetables, but fruit, even at breakfast, didn't seem to be as popular.) The people who put on the show invited us back to the village next year to perform in their annual festival.
The local performing group was fun to watch and fun to meet. Though we couldn't speak much of their language, and they couldn't speak much of ours, we still made friends with them. Picture this: two Ukrainian dance ensembles in full costume, standing outside each in a semicircle facing each other. We smiled at them, they smiled at us. And we all became friends. (Eventually we did get our wonderful guide Bogdan to help us translate, so we could officially become friends, but before that, it was basically a smiling, giggling stand off.)
The next day, before heading to a workshop with Leonid again to review our dance, we went on a tour of the Chernivtsi National University, which was founded in 1875. It was good for us to explore the grounds of the campus because we had a long bus ride ahead of us to go to Zhytomyr, which is in the Polissian region.
Phrase of the day
початок (pochatok): beginning
We may not understand as much of Ukrainian as we'd like, but we (now) do know when the workshop leader asks us to do the dance from the beginning again.