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presented by - Sid and Nellie Braaksma
VIRSKY | THE UKRAINIAN STATE FOLK DANCE COMPANY
The renowned folk dance ensemble named after Pavlo Virsky is famous for its bright colors, unity of content and form, and the vivid embodiment of its stage concept. This magnificent artistic group has embraced the beauty of its native Ukraine, the wisdom of its people, as well as the folk tradition of humour and optimism. Each and every performance is a romantic, elevated, passionate and exciting show. The ensemble’s diverse concert programs, presenting the exquisite charm of Ukrainian folk dancing and the wealth of its traditions, have been warmly received by audiences all over the world.
The history of the ensemble goes back to 1937 when Pavlo Virsky and Mykola Bolotov, well-known Ukrainian ballet-masters, brought a group of folk dancers together. From 1955 to 1975, Pavlo headed the ensemble, and, under his guidance, the ensemble matured into a professional dance company that has thrilled audiences and critics in England, throughout Europe, South and Central America, the United States and Canada. In 1962, Pavlo created a children’s two-year choreographic studio.
Drawing on folk traditions, Pavlo created We’re from Ukraine, The Sailors, The Dolls, We Remember, and The Funny Zaporizhia Cossack Dance Povzunets, The Steppe Wagoner’s Delight, Under the Cherry Tree, A Girl from Podillya and The Weeping Willow.
ABOUT MYROSLAV VANTUCH
Myroslav Vantuch, Pavlo’s disciple and an expert in folk traditions and ethnography, has overseen the ensemble since 1980 as Artistic Director and Managing Director. His main objective and creative quest is the preservation and development of folk choreographic art. New numbers The Carapathians, The Tambourine Dance, TheYoung Years, In Peace and Harmony and TheRussian Suite highlight dancers’ exquisite and expressive moves, a bright palette of costumes, a wealth of music and complete choreographic plots. In 1992, Myroslav turned Pavlo’s two-year studio into a choreographic school for children, which later became a source of talented young performers for the ensemble.
Today, the Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company continues to create new dances full of surprise and delight, under Myroslav Vantukh’s direction.
ABOUT PAVLO VIRSKY
Pavlo Virsky’s first efforts at founding a folk dance company came in 1937, and were rewarded in 1940, when his group Virsky—The Ukrainian National Dance Company became recognized as Ukraine’s Song and Dance Company. Pavlo trained as a ballet dancer and performed as a soloist with a number of theatres in the former Soviet Union, where he also staged classical ballets such as Swan Lake, DonQuixote and Raymonda. He was, however, fascinated by folk dancing, which he believed to portray a people’s culture and soul.
During World War II, his company performed for the soldiers on the front, and the group was recognized in Moscow’s Decade of Ukrainian Art and Literature in 1951. As a choreographer, Virsky created a number of the dances, including Povzunetz, Khmil, Under The Cherry Tree, Zaparozhtsy, The Needle Women, Sailors’ Dance and Hopak, and earned a number of awards and honours prior to his death in 1975.