The Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia is currently hosting a joint artistic project with Zoriany Ukrainian Song and Dance Company from Kirovohrad, Ukraine during August and September, 2012. During this time the groups are working together on major artistic projects and performances. One of the most significant endeavors for both companies is the collaboration on a new contemporary work by world-renowned choreographer, Mark Morris. Both companies have also worked over the past 8 years on recovering and restaging the famed Yatran performance program that toured the USA in 1977.
With support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Voloshky has commissioned an original work by Morris during its 40th season. Morris has been referred to as “the most important choreographer since Balanchine.” His work is deeply rooted in culture and custom–seamlessly integrating elements drawn from traditions as diverse as Eastern European folk dance, classical ballet, and modern dance. The new work is currently being set on the Voloshky and Zoriany dancers by Morris during three weeks at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY. The new work will be shown during a preview performance at Bryn Mawr College’s McPherson Auditorium in Bryn Mawr, PA on Friday, September 14th at 8:00 p.m.
The Zoriany Company includes over 30 dancers and musicians. During its U.S. visit it will perform dances and songs from a highly acclaimed program which briefly toured the US in 1977 under the company’s former name, the Yatran Song and Dance Ensemble. Earlier this summer, Voloshky Artistic Director Taras Lewyckyj and Anatoly Kryvochyzha culminated eight years of work in Kirovohrad, Ukraine and restaged original choreographies from the 1977 Yatran program. Kryvochyzha was Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of Yatran Ensemble from 1957 to 1978. During his tenure as head of Yatran, the company grew from an enthusiastic amateur group to one of the finest professional folk ensembles in Europe. Yatran made a brief visit to the U.S. in 1977 but was abruptly and mysteriously canceled by soviet authorities. Although the tour was brief, it made a very lasting impression.
NY Times dance critic Clive Barnes wrote about Yatran’s debut NYC performance in 1977: “… the Ukrainian Dance Company Yatran arrived for a far, far too brief two-night engagement as part of the Radio City Music Hall Pop Festival. And surprisingly Yatran has not been seen in North America before. It should be brought back as soon as possible. Two nights is by no means long enough to get even acquainted. [Kryvochyzha] knows how to point up a folk dance, his program moves exceptionally smoothly, and he understands the need to vary the pace and texture of the various numbers. As a result, his show never for one twinge of a moment bores.”
For tickets to the Bryn Mawr College Performing Arts Series call 610-526-5210 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com
The commission of Mark Morris to create a piece for the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.
The Yatran Choreography Recovery and Restaging Project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.