Monday, 11 November 2013

Chaika - Tchaikovsky

People hear the name Tchaikovsky and instantly beautifully dressed ballet dancers and the Trepak Dance of the famous Nutcracker Suite take shape in the memory. And because winter is right around the corner, for some traditionalists it would be a sadder Christmas season without visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in your head. But, of course, that is not the whole story.

Given his Ukrainian heritage, for an opportunity to see a Ukrainian folk ballet based on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, incorporating Ukrainian Christmas traditions, folk dance, costumes and the grand orchestral sound featuring many Ukrainian folk song themes, head to Edmonton's Jubilee Auditorium on January 10 and 11th to enjoy the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers and soloists of the Virsky Ukrainian State Folk Dance Company and Kyiv Ballet perform Clara's Dream.
Though often referred to as a Russian composer, his family lineage extends deep into Ukraine's history. I suppose if a person like Rick Mercer moved to work in the States, he might eventually be considered an American, but there are a lot of Canadians marketing their talents internationally! So, let's consider Tchaikovsky in such a circumstance.

During the Russian Empire and Soviet Union's domination over 15 separate countries, most everyone seeking serious economic opportunity got to Moscow somehow. Learning the language, making cultural faux pas and adapting, gaining economic advantage over time was part of the journey. And Tchaikovsky journeyed in the arts world, too.

Chaika, the root word in Tchaikovsky's name actually speaks of the fortified military camp life associated with the Zaporizhian Sich on the island of Khortytsia, a convenient place where Cossacks could defend themselves, fish, keep bees, breed livestock, hunt and of course build ocean worthy ships. Today a State Historic and Culltural Reserve, its nearby rocks and islands attest to the water-worthiness of the chaika boats (fly like a gull over the water!) that plied the Dnipro, and Ukraine's Velikey Luh - the alkaline Black Sea.
Post a Comment