Dance company interprets soul of Ukraine through movement

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Special to the Journal-World

Virsky Ukrainian, the national dance company of the Ukraine, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Lied Center.

Eighty-five dancers in elaborately embroidered costumes will perform split-leaps and spins, mazurka steps and squatting Cossak martial dances when the Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company takes the Lied Center stage.

The troupe will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday as part of the venue's Concert Series.

Pavlo Virsky created the company in 1937 by combining brilliant ballet technique with traditional Ukrainian folk dance. Known first as the Ukraine's Song and Dance Company, the ensemble today carries its founder's name and has gained worldwide acclaim for its technically superb and innovative choreography.

In 1980, Myroslav Vantukh, a disciple of Virsky, became artistic director of the company. Vantukh, who is a recognized expert on Ukrainian folk culture and considers himself a choreographic ethnographer, has since worked to preserve and develop folk dancing as choreographic art. In this spirit, he has created "The Carapathians," "The Tambourine Dance," "The Young Years" and "The Russian Suite," all of which are part of the company's repertory.

Friday 10.01

  • 7:30pm :: Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company
  • more info

In 1992, Vantukh transformed a children's two-year choreographic studio founded in 1962 by Virsky into The Ballet School of the Ukrainian National Dance Company. It later became a source of talented young performers for the ensemble.

As an independent state, Ukraine first appeared on the world map in 1991, but its history dates back to the ninth century, when one of the largest and most powerful states of medieval Europe was founded under the name of Kyivska Rus. Ukraine is in Eastern Europe and the second largest country on the continent. Ukrainian folk dances are an artistic expression of the soul of the Ukrainian people, its age-old hopes, customs and traditions.

A dinner and discussion will take place before the performance at the Dole Institute of Politics. The event costs $40 per person and will include a reception at 5:30 p.m. Dinner is at 6 p.m. Paul D'Anieri, Kansas University associate professor and director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies, will give a presentation at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Lied Center by Monday.

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