Posts tagged Friends
Exploring the streets of Chernivtsi

Chernivtsi felt like home.

I've had the feeling a few times while living in Ukraine, like the time we hosted the Virsky Studio dancers over for Canadian Thanksgiving in Kyiv or when my sister came to visit in Lviv or even any day I have a fully stocked fridge (OK, maybe not fully but more so than usual) after grocery shopping.

One reason I felt at home was because of the people, most notably the Bukovyna State Ensemble of Song and Dance. Another reason is because so many Canadians are from the Bukovynian region, which Chernivtsi is in.

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A not-so-traditional Christmas

Happy New Year!

I hope your holiday season was full of health and happiness, and if you're still celebrating (like us Ukrainians), may your stamina be strong (Old New Years is today, but the celebrations aren't done yet!).

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Lviv: A photographer's paradise

I think I found the winter wonderland everyone keeps singing about.

It's Lviv.

As I write this, giant snowflakes fall from the sky  the ones that are just fluffy enough that they're not too wet that they soak your clothes and not too dry that they hurt your eyes.

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St. Andrews Day and other traditions in Lviv

Happy St. Nicholas Day! (Or happy belated St. Nicholas Day to all those back home in the west who celebrate it on Dec. 9.)

Lviv is alive with the holiday spirit. The snow here may come and go (last week it was 4 C and rainy just about every day, but this week we're back to the minuses), but that doesn't mean the feeling of Christmas and New Years isn't here. The streets are decorated, the Christmas markets are full of gifts, and the skating rink in Rynok Square is open.

I've heard stories of how special it is to spend the holidays in Ukraine Lviv in particular and I'm so thankful to experience it for myself. Last week, I took part in folk celebrations on the eve of St. Andrews Day, a day full of jokes, games, and fortune telling.

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My time in Kyiv: An overview

Just as I was starting to feel comfortable in Kyiv, more into a routine, I moved. Two Sundays ago, my roommate and I sat on our couch to thank our apartment for the shelter it provided and the good times we had. (Kyrylo, someone helping organize our year in Ukraine, said it's a Ukrainian tradition to thank your home).

Though I was sad to leave, I am happy to be in Lviv, the city that made me fall in love with this country three years ago.

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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 week in the life with Virsky studio

While we're in Kyiv, we're training with the studio group of P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble (commonlya known as Virsky). The studio group has about 40 dancers who train six days per week for three hours per day. There's also the Virsky school with younger dancers. Many of the studio dancers were with the school, but others have moved to Kyiv from surrounding areas.

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