Razom: A Fusion of Ukrainian Dance Thrills Prairie Audiences

This fall, after two years of planning, western Canada’s largest Ukrainian dance show hit stages in Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. “Razom” in Ukrainian means “together” and featured a cast of 90 dancers, pooling the talents of the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company (Edmonton, AB), Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Winnipeg, MB) and the Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble (Calgary, AB).

Playing to a total audience of over 5300 people (and a sold out house in Winnipeg), Razom brought the audience to its feet with comments such as “Tremendous”, “Inspirational” and “…would have been heartbreaking to have missed it.”

The show featured twenty dances by the three dance companies, each showcasing the best of their own repertoires. This included dances from western and eastern Ukrainian, comedic choreographic vignettes, and works created in a more balletic style. Razom’s grande finale was a re-staging of Pavlo Virsky’s Hopak with 48 dancers from the three companies. The Artistic Directors (Mykola Kanevets – Cheremosh; Marijka Stanowych – Rusalka; Vasyl and Anna Kaenvets – Tryzub) had their hands full ensuring that Virsky’s Hopak was polished and ready for the stage. As Cheremosh dancer recalls:

“We rehearsed for close to twenty hours over the September long weekend. It was challenging, as this was the first time all of the dancers were together in one rehearsal. We didn’t even know each other’s names, but by the end of the weekend the choreography was coming together and we were beginning to feel comfortable as a new cast. By the final show in Winnipeg the dancers were really working together and Virsky’s Hopak in Winnipeg was electric!”

Razom’s combination of three different styles emerging across the Prairies gave the audience an interesting perspective on current Ukrainian dance scene in western Canada. This melding of groups and passions has made Razom: A Fusion of Ukrainian Dance a true triumph in Ukrainian Canadian dance history. This project is one of which Cheremosh, Rusalka and Tryzub can all be proud.