Posts in Dance
The intriguing city of Poltava, Ukraine

If Poltava were an animal, it would be an alligator.

On our drive to the city, Kyrylo from Cobblestone Freeway Tours told us a story as a way to prepare us for our next home.

I don't remember the entire story word for word, so let me tell you my own version.

There was this guy. He was from a village. Not many people left this village. But he did. He went on an African safari where he spotted countless new sights. When he returned home to his village, he told his friends about what he saw.

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Inside the Volyn ensemble studio

Since moving to Ukraine, I've been keeping a journal. I try to write in it every day, even if it's just a couple lines, about what I did, what I learned, who I met, how I felt, and so on. I wrote seven pages about my last night in Lutsk, the evening of our farewell dinner. Seven pages. About one night. I think that's an indication of how many memories I made in my two months there.

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The legendary Virsky studio floor

I’ve danced on many memorable floors.

In Hungary, there was the stage made of rotting wood, the holes hidden by fallen leaves and twigs.

In Croatia, there was the concrete stage we danced on while it was pouring rain. And then it started storming, the lightning striking as we hit a pose.

In Ukraine, just a couple months ago, I danced on a raked stage, meaning it inclined toward the back of the stage so the audience had a better view (but the dancers had a harder time).

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A day full of dance in the Virsky studio

I'm still standing.

It's been a month since I started training with the Virsky studio group, and nearly two months since my Ukraine adventure started.

After one month of dancing six days a week for three hours a day that's right, 18 hours per week my body's not broken yet. Coming from dancing up to only six hours per week back home, I was worried about how I'd react to 18 per week. But so far so good.

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Starting my stay with Troyanda's tour

I was supposed to tour Ukraine with my dance group, Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, in 2014, but because of the Euromaidan Revolution, the tour was cancelled. Visiting Ukraine has been on our minds since, and this year we made the trip happen. And conveniently, our tour ended just days before the yearlong program started.

I wrote about the 15-day tour at troyanda.com/blog, so check that out for more details of what we did and what we saw, but below are some photo highlights from the trip. We stayed in Lviv, the Carpathian Mountains, Zhytomyr, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv but also made stops in other cities and villages, including Kolomyia and Mamaivtsi.

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Why I moved to Ukraine for 10 months

Привіт!

What makes a science student turned journalism student move to Ukraine to study dance for nearly a year?

Well, if you think of a good reason, let me know and I'll pass it along to my parents.

Actually, it's not so out of the blue. I've been a Ukrainian dancer for 19 years, starting out with Rossdale Ukrainian Dance School then Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, a group I joined seven years ago.

In 2014, Troyanda travelled through Croatia, Hungary, and Austria, and after our trip, I went with my mom and her cousin to Ukraine for a few days to meet our relatives. Our connection to them is my mom's baba (grandmother) who moved to Canada in the early 1900s.

I've been interested in Ukrainian culture for a while, dance sparking my interest. Through dance, I've learned about folklore, traditions, and history, but I never made studying Ukrainian culture my focus until now.

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