Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group: Here and There

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The spirit of Ukraine lives strong in Thunder Bay as distant memories, history, and cultures are passed down to her descendants in Canada. Over 85 members from young children to older adults of the Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group performed in a three-hour concert to share the story of Ukrainian traditions, history, and culture. The performance succeeded in getting even the most tired on their feet as the dancers flipped, twirled and lept across the stage. Through their expressive performance, I could see the fun summer love of the youth, the war and history that tore them apart, the heroes that saved them, and the traditions that kept them together. The addition of a live band for several of the dances invoked a feeling of being swept to a new world. I learned so much about Ukrainian pride that I ached to be a part of it, and couldn’t help but clap along with the crowd to the music. This went beyond dancing; it was keeping the heritage of Ukraine alive in a world so far away. The performers deserved nothing less than a standing ovation; as one member of the audience remarked, “It went over the top as far as I’m concerned. Even the little ones and have them learn at the same time!”

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