Kyiv - the end

After the third travel day in a row, we arrived in Kyiv, our final destination, and checked into the stunning IBIS Hotel, where we quickly changed into our tech clothes and headed to the venue of our final performance, Zhovtnevyy Palace. Although we were now on day 3 in a row of full performances and many people were tired and sore, we were all in awe as we got a view of the stage and theatre for the first time - what an absolutely beautiful place for us to end this tour. It was a 2,000 seat theatre, with two balconies, spacious wings and ample change rooms (which is hard to find when you have almost 50 people performing together). Some walked throughout the building and were blown away by the beauty of each room, especially the grand ballroom, where the dancers warmed up. To see such an old building that still looks so incredible really puts it into perspective how grand it must have been when it was first built. We had a lunch at the theatre of pizza and salad and then got to work on tech.  Tech rehearsal was probably one of our smoothest of the trip, the sound of the choir was great, the dancers had a nice big stage to use and everyone was getting excited for the show. Dancer Ryan was still not feeling 100%, and opted to give up his spot in two dances, but was ready to power through the rest. Kudos to Jordan and Liam for stepping in and learning new spots on the fly. Once tech rehearsal was wrapped up, we were fed an amazing pre-show snack of veggies, sandwiches, crackers, cookies, juice - and they even found hummus, a little taste of home. It was the perfect recharge before the show, which would be one of our biggest of the tour. 

The emotions began to flow as the group congregated for our usual pre-show pep talk. The last show on tour is always bittersweet - not only would it be our last time performing for the amazing audiences in our homeland, and our last performance with our great friends Darmohrai, but for some members, it would be their final performance with Viter. Many tears and hugs were shared prior to the show, and the nerves grew slightly as we were informed that several dignitaries would be watching from the audience, including people from the Canadian Embassy, and the Minster for Culture for Ukraine. One of them was even scheduled to fly out of the country the night of our show, but changed his flights so he could attend. 

The audience was amazing. What energy they gave for us to feed off, and as we closed the first act everyone was feeling great! We were having our best show yet and couldn't wait to get back on stage after intermission! It seemed like the show was flying by and before we knew it, it was all over. The final bow brought more tears, and many hand squeezes with the person next you, as if to say "we did it". There were many heartwarming and tear-jerking speeches made on stage, and Viter was presented with an honorary award from the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine which recognized our commitment to the preservation of Ukrainian culture, as well as a lovely congratulatory plaque from our production company, PRO - what an honour! We took a formal group photo on stage with the dignitaries who were present and then many other informal photos with each other in an attempt to preserve this feeling and these memories forever, then hit the change rooms to pack up as we had dinner arrangements for after the show. 

Although our final show was now complete, we still had one last workshop day. The morning after our show, dancers and choir crossed the street from our hotel to participate in the final workshops. Dancers had a great 3 hour class at Virsky studios with the Artistic Director of the Barvinok Ensemble, which specializes in the Kuban style of dance, while the choir had a workshop with Zenoviy Korinets at Veriovka studio. We have been so lucky to have made such incredible connections through our workshops over the last few weeks and Viter is so looking forward to connecting and working with our new friends again. 

After the workshops were complete, we took a group photo outside the Canadian Embassy and then the dancers stormed to MacDonalds - we were all starving after the workshop and a cheeseburger has never tasted better! Once we were fed, and all a bit less "hangry", some enjoyed a city tour of Kyiv, while others explored the market on their own, or took advantage of the free time to take a nap before our farewell zabava later that night. Oh the zabava - what a perfect way to finish this trip,spending time eating, socializing, singing, dancing and reminiscing the past few weeks together. We were fed like royalty and a great time was had by all, which included many toasts of thanks to the team who made our tour the success that it was: Cobblestone Freeway, PRO Productions, the bus drivers ("Serhiy Squared" - they both had the same name), the videographer Roman who captured so many special moments, Dr. Donna who kept everyone healthy, Jackie and her costume team who repaired costumes, props and more after every show, the backstage security, the on stage helpers who moved microphones...the list goes on and on. 

As we head to the airport this morning, there are many people reliving special moments, laughing at the not-so-special ones, and sharing their bittersweet feelings of heading home. While it's definitely sad for such an experience to come to an end and to say goodbye to new friends and those Viter members who are deviating elsewhere, there is an excitement that grows when you think of the comforts of sleeping in your own bed and reuniting with friends and family that are waiting for us at home. I have no doubts that there will be many more photos and videos posted online upon our arrival home, many memories shared and stories told. It has truly been a once in a lifetime trip that we will all cherish for a long time to come!

Vinnytsia - a hometown advantage

We had an early start leaving Chernivtsi and after a 4.5 hour bus ride (a very quiet and sleepy bus ride), we arrived in Vinnytsia, the home town of Darmohrai! We were greeted at our hotel by band member Valeriy and ate a quick lunch while we checked into "Podillya" Hotel. We would only be sytaying here for one night, which was a welcome thought to most people as this hotel is a little bit older, a little bit smaller beds and some "interesting" showers. From the hotel we loaded up our costumes and headed to the venue for our performance that evening - the Officers' Palace. It was an older theatre, but the stage was a great size. While the choir had a quick sound check, dancers spent some time resetting dances (again) and getting some understudies up to speed as we had another dancer go down over lunch. Many have been battling stomach bugs and head colds and injuries over the last few days. And to our misfortune, another male dancer fell ill during the show. Thankfully the Viter dancers are quick to react and pick up new choreography and we could still put on our full show - we even had our stage manager, Nick Doblanko (who dances with Cheremosh in Edmonton) make a couple of cameos for solos during Hopak.

Other than the sick boys, the show wet off without a hitch and we had such a generous audience to help us pull through. One audience member even threw flowers at dancer Nick Fedori in the middle of a dance! And when I say "throw", I mean literally, she wound that bouquet up like a baseball bat and chucked it on stage...she hit Nick right in the face! She must have REALLY like that dance! At the end of the show, there were some very genuine speeches made and once the curtain closed, Darmohrai surprised us all with a toast and a souvenir shot glass for each of us!

Once we had costumes and props packed, we headed to the famous Roshen Fountain. It is one of the worlds top five floating fountains, and was donated to the city by President Poroshenko. Our friends from Darmohrai insisted that we not leave Vinnytsia without seeing the light show at the fountain. We got there just in time! As we found a place to sit, the show was just beginning. It was quite extravagant, with the fountains, lights, music and projections all coordinated. We watched the full show then took the bus back to the hotel for a late dinner.

[wpvideo ObamG3vy] As we leave for Kyiv in the morning, for our LAST show in Ukraine, we have many tired bodies and voices and everyone is trying to get as much extra rest as possible. We have heard that there are many dignitaries who may be attending our final performance, and we were told after our show in Vinnytsia that Myroslav Vhantuk, the Artistic Director of Virsky (just the most highly respected Ukrainian dance group in the world), phoned a director in Vinnytsia to say he is waiting for Viter in Kyiv, and will be in the audience - NO PRESSURE!

Chernivtsi

We arrived in the quaint city of Chernivtsi just in time for lunch at our 4-star hotel, Hotel Bukovyna. We ate a quick lunch and then choir departed for their workshop with Holos, a dinner-theatre type singing group, while the dancers headed for their workshop with the Bukovyna Song and Dance Ensemble. Both groups learned so much and had a wonderful time singing and dancing.  After the workshops, we returned to the hotel and most dancers took the fastest shower ever and we headed down for dinner in the hotel. While eating dinner, we were so spoiled to have Holos perform for us. I think it's safe to say that everyone was absolutely amazed by the sound, energy and character of these singers. Once we were all fed and watered it was early to bed for most as we headed into another show day. We had some free time in the morning and some members enjoyed a city tour while others explored the city and the shops on their own. We loaded into the theatre for tech rehearsal, and soon realized that this would likely be one of our more challenging shows, just due to the size of the stage and wings. Trying to fit 50+ people on one tiny stage is quite the puzzle, however, after some clever re-arranging and re-setting, we were ready for showtime. 

We were particularly excited to perform in Chernivtsi as many members of our ensemble have family and friends in this area - one dancer, Maria, had so much family attending our show that they chartered their own bus into the city! We were told after the show that it was chaos outside - many people still trying to get tickets, and one lady who couldn't afford a ticket but brought along fresh produce from her garden in the hopes of trading for a ticket. As the curtains opened to reveal our "beyond full" house (literally, they had placed extra chairs in the aisles and along the sides of the theatre) the adrenaline kicked in and Viter successfully put on another incredible show. The choir brought the entire theatre to their feet, and brought many to tears while performing Реве Та Стогне.Дніпр Широкий (The Mighty Dnipro Roars), and audience members were bringing flowers and gifts on stage throughout the entire concert. 

The end of the show was charged with emotions! Many hugs, many photos, and after some time savouring that amazing high that comes from performing for a sold out theatre in Ukraine, we got word that members from Holos and the Bukovyna Song and Dance Ensemble were waiting outside for us. As we exited the doors to the theatre, we were blown away to walk through a never-ending hallway of audience members clapping and shouting "Bravo", only to see that the entire street outside was FULL of people clapping and cheering for us!! We truly felt like celebrities and were overwhelmed with emotions! We had some time for photos, and interviews and once things began to wind down we headed back into the theatre to change and pack up.

[wpvideo IFVDQiMP] We had a late dinner (and a surprise appearance by some very suave looking gentlemen) before showering up and heading to bed. Tomorrow would be a long, busy day as we travel to Vinnytsya for our second last show, which has been highly anticipated as this is the hometown of our band Darmohrai.

Kosiv - the Land of the Hutsuls

After one last hurrah in Lviv, we ate breakfast at the hotel and boarded our buses for our adventure up the winding, narrow roads of the Carpathian Mountains into Kosiv. There were times when we could not believe our bus drivers would dare take two huge buses through these tiny roads...seriously, we had tree branches scratching against the windshield and the sides of the buses, but eventually we made it up the mountain to our new home for the next two days, "Maetok Sokilske Resort". You truly need to be here in person to realize the beauty of this place. Just picture, you step outside to the fresh, crisp mountain air, the sound of birds chirping, cowbells ringing in the distance, and as if that wasn't serene enough, you are overlooking the lush, foliage-covered Carpathian Mountains! We were greeted immediately with delicious welcome shots and then began hauling our suitcases (remember, most of us have two hefty fifty-pounders) up the stairs to our rooms on the third and fourth floors - there are no elevators here. We dropped our bags and met up downstairs for lunch.

After lunch we split into smaller groups, each heading to their own "workshop" or "master class". We were given a choice of the following workshops: culinary, pottery, wood-working, sopilka-playing, or a nature hike. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their workshop, and it was fun to reunite as a group and hear about each others' experiences.

 

After the workshops, dinner was on our own and since we are in a quite secluded location, the only real option was the hotel restaurant, but that wasn't an issue - the food here is amazing! Once we had eaten, it was a fairly early night for most and it sounded like everyone had a great sleep in this picturesque place (especially the group of 4 boys who thought it was better to move all of their beds into one room to create a "MegaBed").

Breakfast was again delicious (this time we were treated with homemade donuts!) and then we boarded the buses for our day trip  to Verkhovyna, where we were scheduled to spend the day with the infamous Eliuk family, who are known for their passion for keeping Hutsul traditions alive, and sharing these special traditions with others. But along the way we stopped for a quick tour of St. Vasyl's Church in Kosiv. As the story was told, this 150 year old church tragically burnt down several years ago, and with the help of the villagers and in some cases, complete strangers, a replica was built to match the original church. What a beautiful story to match this beautiful church. Some choir members were so moved that they felt compelled to sing from the loft. Their renditions of Отче Наш and Чуєш Брате Мій were absolutely breathtaking, and many were brought to tears, including the Kosiv representative who was giving our tour.

Once we were done in the church, we hopped back on the bus to finish our drive to Verkhovyna. It was amazing to watch out the bus window and see all of the tiny houses perched way up high on the mountains, and to think about the simple lifestyle that these people live. Imagine your children walking down the mountain on Monday for school, and staying in the village until Friday because the walk could not be made every day.

We reached our destination and parked the buses, then had a small hike up the hill where the Eliuk family and other villagers were anxiously waiting for us. As soon as we turned the corner and they could see us, the musicians started up and the women broke into song. We were given a brief performance of their very specific styles of song and dance and then choir and dancers split up for our respective workshops. The dancers learned some great village dancing while the choir learned several Hustul folk songs, which told tales about the Hutsul lifestyle. When we all had tired feet and tired voices, we walked to a local restaurant for a lunch (which would be more accurately described as a FEAST). We shared many toasts and a few more songs together and then began our journey home for the evening.

Dinner was again on our own although it's likely most didn't even need dinner after the feast at lunch. Some brave dancers took a dip in the outdoor (unheated) pool and then warmed up in the sauna. The band Tyt i Tam joined us at our hotel and we had a nice, fire to finish off our mountain adventure - next stop, Chernivtsi and Viter show Number 3!

[wpvideo RqJo9NTg]

Lviv - International Ukrainian Dance and Culture Festival

After our departure from Ivano-Frankivsk we were scheduled for a quick stop in the village of Nebyliv where there is a monument commemorating the very first Ukrainian pioneers to emigrate to Canada - but first, we had to make it there alive. Traveling along the winding, pothole-ridden roads (think Edmonton potholes, in a huge bus - but 1000x worse) proved to be a bit of a problem and many people quickly began to suffer from motion sickness (I'm sure the multiple vodka shots the night before didn't help). Dr. Donna was frantically handing out baggies and Gravol on the dancer bus until finally we needed to pull over for a "break". After some fresh air and freshly emptied tummies we were back on the road and after some time arrived in the village where we were warmly greeted by the mayor and many other locals. We took some great group shots, and the choir sang a very emotional rendition of Чуєш Брате Мій which held a special significance as the lyrics loosely parallel the idea of leaving your homeland to find a new life. Many other locals were drawn over by the sound of the choir and the sight of such a large group of people in their small village. We even met a woman who claimed to be related to the very first Ukrainian pioneer to seek a better life in Canada (far right in the photo). After a few more hours we were excited to arrive in Lviv where we would be feature performers in the first ever International Ukrainian Dance and Culture Festival. We ate a late lunch at Hotel Lviv, which would be our home for the next few days, and then headed to the Yunist Studio/Theatre to view the opening ceremony of the festival, which included a performance by the host dance ensemble, Yunist - what a show. The next morning led us back to the theatre where the choir had a workshop with the amazing Ruslana, the biggest pop star and human rights activist in Ukraine. Many happy choir members raved about the workshop, some even said it was life-changing. While the choir enjoyed their workshop, the dancers had a workshop with Yunist. This workshop was not just for Viter dancers, but involved ALL dancers participating in the festival. It was a great experience to learn, dance and sweat (and boy, did we sweat) with dancers from Vancouver, Athabasca, Manchester and Beunos Aries. That afternoon we had our first performance of the festival. It was an incredible setting for a show, a stage set up in the middle of Rynok Square, surrounded by a sea of people excited to see what this new festival was all about. Our "change rooms" however, were a different story - there weren't any! We set up our costumes on the street behind the stage, which in itself drew quite a crowd. There were many photos taken of people changing and getting ready, and warm up for dancers felt more like a game of street hockey when someone would yell "CAR" and we would need to step to the side. The show itself was very well received, and it was our first chance to watch the other groups from Australia and England perform - everyone did a great job. The festival had organized a private zabava for all performers for that evening at a local club. We walked in to see tables full of fancy h'ordeurves and drinks. The bands Bourdon and Tyt I Tam played the night away and we even had a private performance by Ruslana - what a great energy in the building that night! We mixed and we mingled with Yunist, Manchester, Australia and Canada long into the night and left feeling as though we had all made many new friends....and we would probably win the prize for world's best kolomeyka!

The next morning we were scheduled to walk in a procession with all festival participants, but due to some wet, rainy weather, this was cancelled and our outdoor performance that evening got relocated to the Yunist theatre. All performers put on yet another great show, and it was so fun to be backstage with all of the other groups to cheer on our new friends from all over the world. The following morning dancers had a rehearsal bright and early at the hotel, as some dances needed to be reset due to a nagging ankle injury suffered by Deeyana Baydala. After rehearsal, most people hit up the local market before choir and dancers headed out for a group lunch at Da Vinci restaurant. After lunch we had some time to pack costumes and get hair and makeup ready for our much anticipated performance at the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. We had a quick tech rehearsal and learned a small finale that was performed by all groups at the gala concert, which featured the festival's top picks for dances and songs. We found some time to take an absolutely stunning group photo outside the Opera House before walking in the procession with festival participants to the Taras Shevchenko monument where each group layed flowers and the Viter choir gave another emotional performance of one of Shevchenko's songs. Once the procession was over (and it was starting to rain), we all ran back to the theatre to warm up for the big show - which already had a lineup of audience members outside.  And then it was showtime. What an emotional experience for dancers and choir alike. Just imagine, Viter kicking off the concert with Pryvit and the curtain opening to reveal the most beautiful and royal looking theatre ever, only to see that the main floor was FULL...first balcony, FULL....second balcony, FULL.....THIRD balcony - FULL!!! All groups performed incredibly, but Viter was outstanding!!  What an honour for us to have the opportunity to perform in such a grand and highly respected venue. There were members of the choir who performed here 26 years ago with Shumka, so to be back performing here again was extra special for them. Dancers also had an extra treat that night -Artistic Director, Tasha, joined us on stage for part of Hopak!! It took some convincing by the dancers, but since Deeyana opted to rest her ankle for this performance, we told Tasha to come on stage for Deeyana's solo. Of course, she danced amazingly and looked just like "one of us" in her Hopak costume, which fit her perfectly. The close of the show brought many more tears, hugs, photos and we even popped a few bottles of champagne on stage with the other participants. I'm sure there are already loads of pictures on Facebook, but the photos don't do justice to the experience that we were all so fortunate to have had. It was a surreal feeling to be on one stage with Ukrainian dancers and singers from all over the world, having just danced and sang our hearts out together- truly something special. 

After the show it was a mad rush back to the hotel where people changed, freshened up and we all met to have another champagne toast - this time in celebration of dancer, Kalyna Gunderman's, sweet 16th birthday - I am sure this is a birthday she will never forget! 

From there most people walked to a club where we were given one last evening to socialize with our new worldly friends before all parting ways in the morning. It was a late night for most and a very early morning for all as we loaded the buses at 7:15, ate a quick breakfast at Hotel Lviv and said a reluctant goodbye to this beautiful city that treated us so well and made such a lasting impression on each of us. There is definitely a specific energy and vibe to Lviv that is different from other cities, and although it's difficult to say goodbye to such a place, the pain was slightly eased knowing that we were heading up into the Carpathian Mountains for a new adventure. 

Ivano-Frankivsk and an incredible beginning!

Where to even begin?! We are only a few days into tour and already it seems there is so much to tell! After many much needed showers and a good night's sleep, we began our first day in Ivano-Fankivsk with breakfast at the hotel (absolutely delicious; meats, cheeses, fruits, oatmeal, eggs..you name it) and set off shortly thereafter for a walking tour of the city. We saw beautiful churches and scoped out some great restaurants and pubs to hit up later on. Once the tour was over, we walked to the Muliarovyis' Family Resaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful three course lunch (salad, borscht and stuffed chicken with a kind of potato gnocchi) and officially reunited and welcomed our friends Darmohrai to our tour. Some of the guys even tried their hand at the trembita...Phil Sembaliuk, you may have missed your calling! After lunch we walked back to Nadiya Hotel and changed for our first FULL group rehearsal - we had our first show coming up the next day and wanted to take any chance we could to get in some extra practice. Dinner was on our own, some enjoyed pizza or pasta, while others chowed on more traditional fair. It was an early evening for most, as some were still catching up on sleep from the flights, and others wanted to ensure they were fully rested for our performance. 

The next morning we again enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, and then walked across the street to the theatre where we had the honour of viewing some selections of choreography by the Hutstulia Ensemble. What a treat for us to watch, to ask questions and learn from this group - especially since they are on summer holidays right now! When asked to perform for us, they simply couldn't resist and managed to scrape together 8 dancers and the artistic director to show us a little more about their ensemble. What an inspiration for our show that evening, especially when they announced that they would all be in the audience cheering "Bravo" for us (and we definitely heard them!).

After lunch the reality of our looming show really set in. Everyone had their game faces on as we headed into technical rehearsal - there was only one problem: one of our props, the Bereznianka stick, was confiscated in Canada at security and had to be shipped to Ukraine separately. Luckily, our new friends from Hutsulia provided us with a plain wooden stick, and our costume lady extraordinaire got to work attaching ribbons and flowers to spruce it up - no rest for Jackie...even now I am sure she is somewhere hand sewing the 3 or 4 pairs of boys pants that had the crotches completely ripped out of them during the show. And wouldn't you know, during the dance immediately prior to Bereznianka, THE STICK ARRIVED FROM CANADA - our tour guide, Vince Rees with Cobblestone Freeway Tours, picked it up at the airport and ran it directly backstage. So at least now we have a backup.

I don't think any of us were prepared for the reception that was given to us at the end of the show. A full theatre, all on their feet, cheering, whistling, shouting "Bravo!" and "Molodtsi!" for what felt like an hour after the show was over. There was not a dry eye in the theatre, neither on stage or in the audience. It was truly an amazing and heartwarming way to begin our tour. Once we were packed up and loaded out of the theatre, we attended a reception dinner in our hotel. There were many toasts, many "bydmos", and many people who were reeling on adrenaline and couldn't stop replaying the evenings events. A memory that surely won't be soon forgotten. 

BUT, we sing/dance hard AND we play hard, so after dinner (around 11 pm) we shared some drinks and most people got ready to depart for the night market in Kolomeya. We were told this is where many merchants from across Ukraine come to purchase embroidered goods to sell in their hometown markets and stores. The bus left at 1 am and after our 1.5 hour bus ride, arrived in Kolomeya with many excited shoppers. How surreal to be out in the middle of the night surrounded by so many beautiful blouses, dresses, scarves...how to choose which ones you wanted?! We spent two hours shopping, and boarded the busses to return home at 4:30 am. Many tired, but satisfied people arrived at the hotel around 6 am, the sun already risen, and went straight to bed.  The next day had some optional activities for members; some slept in and enjoyed a day spent in the city at their leisure, others travelled back to Kolomeya where they toured the Hutsul museum and saw the worlds largest pysanka (that's right, bigger than Vegreville), and another group travelled to Maniavsky Skyt where they saw a beautiful waterfall and toured the monastery.  Dinner took us all back to the Muliarovyis' Family Restarurant for our farewell dinner in Ivano-Frankivsk where we also celebrated Fr. Semotiuk's 47th year of priesthood - what a special blessing to have him along on tour with us and to be able to recognize such a momentous occasion. There was some socializing afterwards and slowly everyone made their way back to the hotel to pack up and prepare for our trip to Lviv in the morning. Along the way, several dancers had such a wonderful experience, their story is below: "Today we bought flowers from a baba who was falling asleep in her chair at midnight in Ivano Frankivsk. When we woke her up and informed her we wanted to give her 100 Hryvnias ($5 CAD) for her flowers she was taken aback and offered us her whole collection of flowers, to which we refused and only accepted one bouquet. We have never felt so special in our lives. $5 Canadian has made such a difference in her life that she began crying and thanking God that he has brought us to Ukraine to help her tonight. We also began to cry and  at this moment we realized how lucky we are to live in Canada, and how good it feels to give back. Only after we purchased the flowers did we learn that this baba was at one time a doctor in Ukraine, whose pension did not nearly cover her cost of living. We will never forget this moment and will continue to support the locals living in these cities."

What a special time this city has given us over the last few days. We have gotten over the hurdles that come with travelling such a far distance, we have began to bond closer as a group and as we look forward to the next adventures to be had in Lviv we will not forget the many memories that were made in Ivano-Frankivsk.

We Made It!!!

Вітаємо Вітер! Our Viter tour has officially begun and after a long day of travel, all of our members have safely arrived in Ukraine, where they were greeted in the Lviv airport by our "early arrivals" or "welcoming committee" as they called themselves (those who arrived several days prior to the rest of the group), with delicious bread, vodka, and song.  Many tired but excited people loaded onto our blue and yellow buses and departed towards our first stop, the city of Ivano-Frankivsk, where we will reside for the next four nights, and complete our first performance. In our short 2.5 hour commute we encountered a traffic accident (which our drivers expertly maneuvered two huge buses around by jumping the curb), road construction and a detour through the village of Рогати (Rohaty), and hundreds of escapee cows running down the road while being chased by babas carrying sticks (just picture that). 

We arrived at our accommodations "Nadiya Hotel" and noticed as we pulled into the parking lot that the theatre we will be performing in is right beside the hotel - we also noticed the first advertisement for our show! How exciting to pull into a strange new city only to see ourselves plastered across the theatre on a giant banner! After checking in, everyone quickly freshened up and we enjoyed our first group dinner with some incredible live bandura music. Tomorrow we will take a tour of this new city and reunite with our band, Darmohrai, for rehearsal before our show on Wednesday. 

We are so excited to finally have arrived in Ukraine and can't wait to start exploring and experiencing this beautiful country!

Just a few more sleeps...

With just a week until we depart for our tour to Ukraine, you can start to feel the buzz of excitement in the studio. Dancers and choir have both been hard at work, the costume ladies have been busy completing final alterations and fixes, and with a dress rehearsal and an in-house show for our families now under our belts, Viter is ready to get this show on the cobblestone road! Our friends from the Ukrainian band “Darmohrai”, who will be joining us on tour as our musicians, have been practicing in Ukraine and are anxiously awaiting our arrival in their home country. We are so excited to reunite and share the stage with them in the coming weeks!

We wish all of our travelers a safe journey and will post an update upon our arrival in the Motherland!

darmohrai

Gearing up for Tour!

Welcome to our blog! In July of 2016, 52 performers of the Viter Ukrainian Dancers and Folk Choir will embark on an incredible journey to Ukraine, where we will be performing for excited audiences all over the country! We've set up this blog so that you can come along with us via the  internet and share in our experiences over our 17-day tour! We welcome you to share this blog with all of Viter's friends, family, and fans.

We can't wait for our adventure to begin and look forward to sharing the many memories we will make along the way!

ukraine 2012