Yatran Choreography; Recovery and Restaging

Taras Lewyckyj



Taras Lewyckyj and Anatoly Kryvochyzha.

As artistic director of Philadelphia's Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Taras Lewyckyj oversees performances that combine Ukrainian and American dance aesthetics, culled from folkloric traditions and contemporary styles. In this project he recovered, restaged, and documented lost works of acclaimed Ukrainian dance artist Anatoly Kryvochyzha. Lewyckyj first saw the work of Kryvochyzha, who was artistic director and chief choreographer of Yatran Ukrainian National Dance Company, in 1977, when Yatran performed in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Kryovchyzha was removed as head of the Yatran company for his interactions with the Ukrainian Diaspora community in Philadelphia and exiled from his native country for 14 years by the ruling Communist regime but has since returned to the Ukraine. Lewyckyj traveled to the Ukraine to work with Kryovchyzha and the Zoriany dance company to recover a series of dances, including restoration of the original musical scores and costumes. Working with videographer Henry Nevison, Lewyckyj made a film of the recovered work, which includes the history of Kryvochyzha's experiences with censorship and political exile. Recent political uprisings in the Ukraine were incorporated into the narrative of the film. This was Lewyckyj's first grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.