Ukrainian Dancing from Down Under

Stephanie Turenko, Toronto.

Fresh from performing sold-out shows throughout Australia, Lehenda Ukrainian Dance Company based out of Melbourne, is bringштп its new production KAZKA to North America this summer. During their tour from June 29th – July 12th, Lehenda will perform in Toronto, Chicago, Wilmington, New York and at the Ukrainian Cultural Festival at Soyuzivka.

KAZKA, “a fairytale or love, loss…and a mysterious blue fox” is an original folk ballet inspired by Ukrainian fairy tales. The production is the creation of Producer and Artistic Director Melanie Moravski Dechnicz, one of only two Australian-born recipients of the Ukrainian President’s ‘Merited Artist of Ukraine’ award, in collaboration with her artistic team.

KAZKA is an exhilarating and innovative production, performed by a cast of 39 dancers. The performance will provide an opportunity to showcase traditional Ukrainian dance and folklore in new and creative way. It is a tale of love and betrayal, with original choreography giving it a fresh and contemporary flavour in the mix of modern and traditional style.

KAZKA is the creation of a group of talented young Australian Ukrainians, including the acclaimed composer, conductor and part-time New York resident Nicholas Buc, who created the original score in between touring and conducting Disney’s Pixar in Concert, Psycho and Star Trek.

The majority of dancers are from Melbourne and Geelong’s Ukrainian communities. A small number are non-Ukrainians who have joined to learn Ukrainian dance, having come from a diverse range of dance backgrounds and experiences. In just one year Lehenda has quickly risen to become one of Australia’s premier Ukrainian dance ensembles.

As Lehenda’s first full-length production, KAZKA is a huge undertaking for its dancers and production partners. Not only do the dancers rehearse an average of two to three times a week, but they also volunteer their time assisting in the construction of sets and the making of props. Even friends and parents of dancers have become involved, volunteering their time and offering hands-on assistance with costumes.

So what exactly did happen to that blue fox? Come solve the mystery and see a tale of romance and misfortune in the supernatural form. A very blue tale indeed…

Lehenda performs in Toronto on June 29 at Hammerson Hall, Living Arts Center, Mississauga. Tickets: lehenda.com/kazkabookings.