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This site in Ukrainian The Cossacks of Oz Concerts
Starring the Veselka & Zahrava Dance Ensembles


Marichka Halaburda-Czyhryn
Sydney, 17th & 24th September 2007

“In dance and in song – let us unite, dear friends…”

The programme of the concert was similar to that held at the Ukrainian Youth Centre, except without the smallest/youngest of the performers… additional items were performed by bandurist, Larissa Kowalczuk-Buriak and on the “stringed-cymbals” by Liudmyla Voronova. Sadly, they only performed two items. They received an appreciative ovation for their magnificent performance. The programme also had two additional dance performances – “the Tambourine Dance” and “The Puppet” – from the repertoire of the well know Virsky Ensemble of Ukraine.

All that I have written, I should repeat as well as make some additions. It was as I believed it would be – especially on a larger stage with appropriate lighting – all the performances provided the audience with a more effective viewing. And even the dancers felt a lot more at ease on this stage, most likely buoyed by the fact that there were well over 500 people viewing this concert. Many of them were non-Ukrainian. The audience reaction was extremely positive.

During the interval, and at the end of the concert, I had the opportunity to speak to some of the non-Ukrainians, especially to those who sat around me and who said to me that they came to the concert because they had friends in one or the other ensemble. On the question of which item they liked best, overwhelmingly the response was “the Dance to the Sultan of Turkey”. I reiterate – this was the highlight performance of the concert – including at this performance on 22 September.

Equally impressive were the “Spring dance”, the “Hopak”, and the performances by Larissa and Liudmyla.

I spoke also to the elderly who came to this concert, because they attend many concerts at the Parramatta Riverside, and they were impressed by the advertising. Most had never been to a Ukrainian concert. Both sets of people canvassed (in total over 20) thoroughly enjoyed the concert and would readily attend a new concert even at the Ukrainian Youth Centre. It is very important that non-Ukrainians enjoyed the concert programme.

Amongst those present I also had the opportunity to meet with many of my friends and colleagues whom I have not seen at a community concert for some time.

This concert concluded with the traditional “Hopak” (which is extremely impressive) – the thunderous applause of the audience continued as all the performers came out on stage – our Ukrainian youth. Both concerts passed with unbelievable success and, we will have to wait for the next such concert.

I take this opportunity to remind everyone, that the now defunct Volodymyr Ivasiuk Ensemble maintains some lovely traditional national costumes. Many of the founders of this ensemble, as well as those who joined later, believe that it is time to pass them over to our dancers for their use. For years they have been hanging unused in a cupboard – they were bought by community funds. It is time therefore, for us to get together to proclaim and fulfil our wishes, and not just whisper our thoughts in the corridors of the Riverside Theatre or at the Ukrainian Youth Centre – or to me.
  This site in Ukrainian

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