A Ukrainian Summer: where to go, what to do...

Serious about Ukrainian folk dance? Sign up for the Voloshky Dance Academy


by Taras Lewyckyj

HORSHAM, Pa. - Attention all serious dancers: Don't miss out on the opportunity to attend the nation's premier summer program for Ukrainian character dance training. The highly acclaimed Voloshky Performing Dance Academy, celebrating its sixth year, will once again bring top-notch instructors and performers from Ukraine to give aspiring dancers an authentic Ukrainian cultural experience.

The two-week academy, running August 8-22, is sponsored by the School of the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, and will be an intensive, full-time program of classes in character, ballet, choreography and performance technique. This program is designed for dancers of ability who are ready to excel. Academy students are notably motivated and enthusiastic, and come from all over North America. Most have substantial previous training and are prepared to work hard for two weeks. The students thrive on the rigorous schedule of eight hours of classes daily.

The 2004 academy will be held at the Tryzub Ukrainian American Sports Center, in Horsham, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. This will be the first time that the beautiful sprawling acres of Tryzubivka will host the academy.

The academy goes to great lengths in obtaining the highest caliber instructors from Ukraine. Stepan Zabredowsky, who teaches classes in character and choereography, is the dean of faculty and professor at the National Cultural University in Kyiv, and specializes in the methodology of teaching techniques for Ukrainian dance at the professional level. Instructor Victoria Ihumilova is a National Artist and current Soloist with the Virsky National Ensemble of Ukraine.

Victor Guzeyev, concertmaster with the Virsky Ensemble Symphony Orchestra, will provide musical accompaniment for all classes and performances. Mr. Guzeyev specializes in Ukrainian music for character classes.

Instructors' assistants Larissa Steinhagen, Dora Shoturma, Mark Kalyta and Matej Korzeniowski are senior dancers with the Voloshky Ensemble. In 2003 all four received teaching certificates in Ukrainian dance pedagogy from the Kirovohrad Ukrainian Dance Complex. Their studies in Kirovohrad included training in dance history, theory, technique, choreographic process, traditional costuming and music.

They were accompanied by 10 other Voloshky ensemble members who all completed the training program. The project was made possible by a grant to Voloshky from Dance Advance, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by Drexel University.

What makes the Voloshky Performing Dance Academy unique is the direct exposure interaction between students and premier Ukrainian artists at the top of their professional careers. These artists bring extensive insight into the latest developments in the Ukrainian dance art form. This kind of experience can be a turning point in the life of a developing dancer.

The choreographies taught at the academy cover various regions of Ukraine and are technically difficult and artistically challenging. Classes are typically conducted in Ukrainian, though students who don't understand Ukrainian have no trouble following, proving the adage that dance is a universal language.

The two-week program will culminate with a performance by the academy participants on August 22 at the enormously popular Ukrainian Independence Day Festival at Tryzubivka. An exciting performance is planned in conjunction with the Voloshky Ensemble. An off-site performance is also being coordinated for the second week of the academy.

Classes are small, and enrollments limited, in order to allow for maximum individual attention. Therefore, early registration is recommended to ensure a spot. Applicants must be at least 8 years old and have a minimum of two years' dance experience. Classes will be arranged according to age and ability level.

The cost of the two-week academy is $725, which includes class fees, and room and board. The deadline for registration is June 15. A $75 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a place in this year's academy.

To request a registration packet or for more information, call Taras Lewyckyj, 215-763-8500, or e-mail him at taras@voloshky.com. Photographs from past years can be seen on the website www.voloshky.com.


A Ukrainian Summer (main page)


Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, May 2, 2004, No. 18, Vol. LXXII


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