What is Ukrainian Dance? 

Beginning and Intermediate classes in Ukrainian Dance for children and adults! Free trial class.

Ukrainian dance is an incredibly fun, energetic and exciting style! Gain flexibility, strength and be part of dance style that has been proven to sharpen your mind! 

History below photos

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The Hopak developed initially as a Kozak social dance (Ukrainian: побyтовi танці, translit. pobutovi tantsi), and was practiced in the lands of present-day Ukraine beginning in the 16th century.

Hopak (a late, unfinished painting by Ilya Repin)

These celebratory hopaky were performed only by male participants, as they took place in an all-male environment. The performers were young, boisterous freedom fighters, and not professional dancers; as such, the dance steps performed were predominantly improvisational, reflecting the performers’ sense of manliness, heroism, speed and strength. The steps exhibited included many acrobatic jumps (Ukrainian: стрибки, translit. strybky). Often fights from the battlefield would be re-enacted in pantomime, with real swords, lances or other weaponry, as the performer lashed out at invisible enemies. These dances were not tied down to specific rhythms, and the dancers could change tempo at any point.

Such festive dancing differed greatly in character from the older ritual dances (Ukrainian: oбpядовi танцi, translit. obryadovi tantsi), such as the Khorovod, which had previously been the dominant choreographic works in Ruthenian lands. A primary distinction was the gender of the participants – all male – as opposed to the predominantly all-female ritual dances.

Today, Ukrainian dance is primarily represented by what ethnographers, folklorists and dance historians refer to as “Ukrainian Folk-Stage Dances” (Ukrainian: Українськi Hapoднo-Cцeнiчнi Taнцi, translit. Ukrayins’ki Narodno-Stsenichni Tantsi), which are stylized representations of traditional dances and their characteristic movements that have been choreographed for concert dance performances. This stylized art form has so permeated the culture of Ukraine, that very few purely traditional forms of Ukrainian dance remain today.

Ukrainian Dance is often described as energetic, fast-paced, and entertaining, and along with traditional Easter eggs (pysanky), it is a characteristic example of Ukrainian culture instantly recognized and highly appreciated throughout the world.