Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012 by collaborating with contemporary choreographer Mark Morris on an original Center-funded dance piece.
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 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 work. In another partnership that reflected 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. The ensemble expected the work to appeal to both sides of its audience: "Those who believe that folk dance is primitive and naïve will have their vision broadened. Those who have been reluctant to embrace newer artistic visions will expand their way of seeing this art."
The above video of Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble by Henry Nevison features an interview with Mark Morris talking about his work with the company in creating the new piece.