Monday, 4 June 2012

Ukrainian Dancing in Calgary

Ukrainian Dancing is alive and well in Calgary!  There seem to be so many dance schools!  Well, at the Calgary Ukrainian Festival this June 2012, audiences were entertained by many, diverse, and talented groups of Ukrainian dancers.  I saw little children - seemed like maybe 4 or 5 years old - take the stage for solo dancing!  Imagine having the stage presence, the personal discipline, the ability to handle a crowd, to stay focused!  Wow, these little ones learn a lot about life through Ukrainian dancing.   
 The costumes were widely disparate.Everything from costumes that looked like little wind up dollies, to traditional Hutsul, Transcarpathian, Bukovinian - the clothing was colorful, practical and comfortable.  One girl told me she prefers to wear her Ukrainian clothing at these festivals, especially when it is hot - she can't stand sweating in a t-shirt and jeans.  Plus, she enjoys being recognized, and showing off her ancestral heritage.
 I particularly enjoyed the large montage performance of upwards of 30 children on stage - they had to have some real idea of space, time, and coordination!  How does a little person remember when to go on, when to take their turn, how to respond to an audience - in this case an adoring audience?  Clearly these little dancers, and their dance school teachers are onto something!  I'll bet a lot of learning goes on on all sides!
Perhaps the best performances were the adult groups though.  The fact that so many "grown ups" are still enjoying their traditional Ukrainian dance forms just makes me happy.  Whether it is for fitness, for companionship, for fun, or maybe even because it is an expression of some sense of identity with the whole Ukrainian thing, it is just great!

Congratulations to all the dancers - you had audiences cheering, little people enthralled, and parents and guests amazed by your talent!
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