Kaleidoscope of dance

Ukrainian troupe performs Sunday

You don't need to have Ukrainian ties to appreciate Virsky, a renowned professional dance company that performs Saturday, 4 p.m., at Sagebrush Theatre.

Founded in 1937 by Ukrainian ballet masters Pavlo Virsky and Mykola Bolotov, the troupe is famous for its bright colours, content and form, and the vivid embodiment of its stage concept. The show features aerial acrobats, sweeping movements and folk costumes.

The concert is part of a cross-Canada tour for the company. Dancers are trained from as young as four years old. Nathan Fitch, a Ukrainian dance instructor who will be teaching the Pokotillo (a Ukrainian word meaning "tumbleweed") Ukrainian Dancers in Kamloops, knows the discipline well - he studied with Virsky.

"The men and women who are part of the Virsky National Dance Company dedicate the next 26 years of their lives towards becoming a professional dancer," he said.

"When I was at the academy, you were on your feet no less than eight hours a day. The style of dancing is demanding, the pressure to perform is intense."

Beyond the discipline, the centuries-old traditional dance is an expression of national heritage.

"Each costume and dance is a story that represents the people and different regions of Ukraine that's been preserved and exemplified through performance."

Tickets are available in advance from the Sagebrush box office.

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