Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, dedicated to representing traditional Ukrainian culture in the United States, celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012 with the world premiere of Carnival, an original dance piece made for the ensemble by contemporary choreographer Mark Morris. Morris is the artistic director of Mark Morris Dance Company in Brooklyn, NY, and the recipient of multiple awards and honors, such as the 2010 Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. He is well-known throughout the world for innovative choreography that integrates a diverse range of traditions and techniques, from Eastern European folk dance to classical ballet and modern dance. Voloshky's Artistic Director Taras Lewyckyj felt that Morris' background as "a choreographer who [embraces] folk traditions while creating wildly innovative contemporary works" made him an exciting choice to expand the range of company performance vocabulary. In another partnership that reflects the significance of this collaboration, two of the world's foremost Ukrainian dance companies, Voloshky and Ukraine's Virsky Dance Company, joined together to perform Morris' new work.