The Commuinity Press: Cheremosh dancers bring Ukrainian flavour to Daysland

Christine Cherry. The Community Press. The Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company of Edmonton dazzled the crowd during their Sunday afternoon performance at the Daysland Palace Theatre, presented by Daysland and District Cultural Arts Society.

The troupe of 36 semiprofessional dancers performed a variety of dances that highlighted the agility and athleticism of the male dancers and the grace and beauty of the female troupe members.

The dancers leapt and spun in their vibrant costumes, while the audience frequently broke out in applause during the routines.

The company opened with a traditional Ukrainian welcome dance, or Pryvit.

In the Pryvit, the ensemble preview dances and the various representations or regional folk costumes which will be seen later in the performance.

The audience was welcomed by a dancer bearing bread and salt. The bread and salt represents the land’s fertility for Ukrainian people.

The ensemble performed a total of 13 routines from various regions across the Ukraine, including the Polisska Polka, Kartichka – Transcarpathian Dance and Bukovins’kyl Dance.

Dances celebrating the change in seasons, including the arrival of Spring were also performed.

The ladies in the troupe danced the Pleakach, a Spring dance where the women compete to see who dances best while clapping their hands.

They also were featured in the Vesnianochky Panianochky (Beautiful Women of Spring) that comes from the Ukrainian tradition of tapping one another with pussy willows in the week before Easter. In the Ukrainian folkloric tradition, there are celebrations of Easter where an entire community comes together to sing and dance, holding hands in a circle.

In this routine, the women wore pastel colour dresses, a departure from the bright blues, reds and greens that they wore during the rest of the routines.

Very popular with the audience were the Hopak dances, performed before the intermission and at the end of the show.

The Hopak, also referred to as Gopak or Cossack dance, is often popularly referred to as the “National Dance of Ukraine.”

The dance features the men in the troupe as they jump and spin in moves that require a huge amount of athletic ability. The men leapt into the air, touching their toes behind their backs, or straight out to the side. They jumped in a circular motion with their heads almost touching the stage and they squatted down while kicking in out. The audience at the Daysland Palace Theatre clapped from almost start to finish during those routines.

At the end of the performance the Cheremosh came to the front of the stage to take a bow, receiving a standing ovation from everyone in attendance.

Credit: The Community Press