Cultural Dancing With Barvinok and Yunist- Voices For Ukraine


Veronika Pankiv, Journalism Class Reporter & Staff Editor

**Editor’s note:  This article is written from one of the performer’s point-of-view.

On Sunday, March 27th 2022, the Strand Theatre in Lakewood New Jerset held performances to support the Ukrainian Army. They gathered money for the troops and frontlines from 12pm to 6pm. Out of all of the dancers and performers, Ukrainian dancers from Yunist and the middle group from Barvinok were chosen to come.

Yunist is a compilation of college students and high school graduates who used to dance for Barvinok and wanted to longify their dancing career. They performed the Welcoming Dance, in Ukrainian Pryvitalnyy Tanets, and later the Hopak/Gopak which has no concrete translation. 

As always, they performed excellently and gracefully, energy was truly radiating from them. As of tradition, they danced with embroidered towels and at the end came out with bread and salt, a sign of welcome from Ukraine. 

The middle group of Barvinok had some issues. Some girls including myself forgot the solo part for the girls, so we practiced it over and over again to get it right. And we did! The stage was very very small and no one told us before that. Although the middle group had to dance two dances, they performed only one, the Hutsul/Gutsul with no concrete English translation. The second was supposed to be the continuation of Hopak/Gopak. 

The beginning went very smoothly without error, no one was dropped. When the issues came was during the male solo, that’s when everyone realized that the music was incorrect. The girls solo part was even harder, nothing was on beat because of the song which was a lot longer. At the final part of the dance, the music kept playing when it was supposed to stop, which caused the girls to spin for a minute longer and the boys to repeat the move. 

At the end, the performances were a success. Back in the dressing room I saw girls crying thinking they messed up so much, even the teacher’s daughter from Yunist was tearing up. It was an emotional moment for no one knew what would happen if we were still in Ukraine. We are all incredibly fortunate.