July 9th 1986 represents a very important date in Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Ensemble's calendar when it became only the second Ukrainian Dance group from England (and the first 2nd generation born in GB) to win at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod after Orlyk (1st generation of Ukrainians) won in 1953.

Twenty five years later to the date - Saturday July 9th 2011 - the next generation of Hoverla Ukrainian dancers (third generation of Ukrainians born in GB) were attempting to emulate the previous generation of Hoverla dancers by performing in Competition 16 - "Choreographed Folk Dance". Hoverla were originally up against 9 other groups from Ghana, India, Kurdistan, Northern Ireland & Ukraine.

llangollen-2011-derby-02.jpgLasting just over 9 minutes, eight boys performed "Yikhaly Kozaky" - a traditional kozak folk dance in which the Hetman and his men have returned successfully from battle to celebrate their victory in true kozak style, backed by 5 talented musicians. (N.B competition rules state that the total duration of the performance must not exceed 10 minutes).  The dance itself was performed to a very high standard. 

Preparations for the Eisteddfod competition began before Easter and culminated with three intensive rehearsals during the final week (in the immediate aftermath of gaining 1st place during the Ukrainian Youth Association's Annual Rally and Competition held on 2 July).

I could not have asked more from the dancers, especially after one of boys sprained his ankle four days before the competition and had to withdraw, leaving the Hetman to take his place in some of the choreographed sword fighting scenes.

Hoverla received 87 points and gained runners-up position behind the Loughgiel Folk Dancers from Northern Ireland.     

We had dreams of coming first but second place on an International stage at Llangollen is no mean feat.

During our weekend stay in Llangollen, our beautiful young ladies also performed the 'Lastivka' dance in the Competitor's Tent and were then joined by ladies from an Indian group called 'Heritage' with our musicians playing together with their drummer. This was nice to see where 2 groups combined their talents and performed a joint dance creating this unique atmosphere only Llangollen can create.

At 5.30 on Saturday evening, Hoverla performed a 20-minute show in The Amphitheatre in front of hundreds in the sunshine crowd. The audience were given a  treat when the young men performed 'Khloptsi z Kyeva' and the young ladies 'Lastivka', which culminated with the most famous Ukrainian Folk dance, the 'Hopak'. The audience enjoyed and were well impressed with the athleticism of the boys and gracefulness of the girls.

llangollen-2011-derby-03.jpgOn Sunday July 10th Hoverla was also invited to give a 20-minute performance in the town centre - inside St. Colleen Church - the famous local parish church of Llangollen. Again the audience were given a treat and despite the wooden built stage in front of the aisle and the area behind the alter being very narrow in depth, nothing could suppress or phase our dancers.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone associated with Hoverla and a very special thanks and praise to all the Boys ! Molodtsi !!

(Leader of Hoverla Ukrainian Dance Ensemble)



Ukrayinska Dumka


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