Control in Ukrainian Dance

By Dick Oakes


Dick Oakes, Patti Wentworth, 1964 Control is a most important consideration in the dances of the Ukraine. While this is true to a great extent in all nationality dances, many folk dances leave a little "wobble" room. The dances of the Ukraine leave little of this.

The toe in most steps is extended or pointed but not so much as to stiffen the entire leg into "shakiness." The leg itself is rotated outward when extended above the floor and is many times slightly bent at the knee. The Ukrainian dances are primarily leg and footwork dances but when body, arms, and head are used, they are used with the same control as in the legs and feet.

Body carriage is as important in the Hopak as in the Flemenco, although extreme rigidity is the exception rather than the rule. A high chest, raised chin, and pleasing smile are essentials. The arms, while used more for balance by the men, serve an even greater function for the women by holding down beads, skirts, and over-anxious partners.

Copyright © 2014 by Dick Oakes