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"Kozaks of Podillia" academic Kozak song and dance ensemble


The ensemble’s history begins back in 1938 in the city of Kamyanets-Podilsky. The group started out as a choir cappella, which included the best amateur and professional artists.

In 1945 the Symphony moves to a new regional center - Proskuriv. In 1954 Proskuriv is renamed into Khmelnytsky. The choir gets reformed into a song and dance ensemble called "Podolianka" and works under that name till 1989. In 1989, on the initiative of Mykola Balema, directing the ensemble from 1975, the ensemble is renamed into "Kozaks of Podillia".

For three decades, the ensemble has remained in a constant state of creativity, that contributed to the development of the ensemble’s signature artistic style. Thanks to a thorough study of Podillian Ukrainian folk songs and dances the ensemble was successful in forming a repertoire, where folklore was combined with contemporary music.


The base for the ensemble’s repertoire is primarily local folklore. Every year the number of folk songs in the compay’s repertoire grows too, thanks to the works of folklorists, such as Nastya Prysiazhnyuk, Hnat Tantsyura, Rodion Skaletskyy Maria Rudenko, Zoia Chorna and others. Generally speaking, the folk material of Podillia region is quite ‘colorful’, varied and fun. To name an example there are the comic, playful songs people in Podillia call ‘chabarashky’ or ‘shumky’, which basically are the equivalent of ‘kolomyjky’ found in the Carpathians.

Currently the company is directed by choreographer Olena Yefimchuk. Interesting productions are always performed on a high professional level. These include: "Podilski Vechornytsi" (‘Podillian Evenings’), "Hopak", "Provody Kozaka" (‘Seeing off a Kozak’), "Kozak Quadrillion", "Crooked Dance ", "Vasylechky", "Kozak Council" etc. Through the means of their productions the ensemble represents all the best from the inexhaustible folk art treasury from all the regions of Podillia. Heart-warming song creations, fun dances, virtuoso folk music, avant-garde and authenticity – it’s all that defines the "Kozaks of Podillia".

In 2015, Ukrainian Dance World, partnering with Cobblestone Freeway Tours, is planning workshops with the “Kozaks of Podillia”, within the framework of the annual Ukrainian Dance Workshop Tour. On this tour participants get a unique chance to learn traditional dances from various regions directly from the sources, from local folk ensembles and only the best choreographers. Please message us to find out more!



Podillia (Podollia) [Поділля (Подоля)] - a historical-geographical upland region of southwestern Ukraine, consisting of the western part of the forest-steppe belt. Podillia is bound in the southwest by the Dnister River, beyond which lie the Pokutian-Bessarabian Upland and Subcarpathia. To the north it overlaps with the historical region of Volhynia, where the Podillian Upland descends to Little Polisia and Polisia. In the west it is bounded by the Vereshchytsia River, beyond which lies the Sian Lowland. To the east Podillia passes imperceptibly into the Dnieper Upland, with the Boh River serving as part of the demarcation line, and in the southeast it descends gradually toward the Black Sea Lowland and is delimited by the Yahorlyk River and the Kodyma River. The Podillia region thus coincides with the Podillian Upland, which occupies an area of approx 60,000 sq km.

The name Podillia has been known since the mid-14th century, but it did not originally refer to the aforementioned geographical region or to a single administrative-territorial unit. It usually meant the land between two left-bank tributaries of the Dnister River, the Strypa River in the west and the Murafa River in the southeast, and the Boh River in the east, an area of approx 40,000 sq km. Podillia voivodeship, established at the beginning of the 15th century, encompassed only the central part of Podillia. During the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Podillia was understood to include not only Podillia voivodeship but also Bratslav voivodeship and the northeastern part of Rus’ voivodeship. Its southern and southeastern areas, however, remained unsettled, and the border between the Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire marked by theKodyma River and the Syniukha River was only conventional. In the 19th century eastern Podillia often meant Podilia gubernia, which consisted approximately of the former Podillia voivodeship and Bratslav voivodeship, whereas western Podilia meant the eastern part of Galicia. At the beginning of the 20th century the name Podillia was applied to lands as far west as the Zolota Lypa River. Today Podillia encompassesTernopil oblast (although the Kremenets area historically belonged to Volhynia), almost the whole of Khmelnytskyi oblast and Vinnytsia oblast, and small parts of Lviv oblast and Ivano-Frankivsk oblast.

The history of Podillia was strongly influenced by its proximity to the steppe, for centuries the source of nomadic raids. For a long time much of Podilia was under the control of the Pechenegs, Cumans, and Tatars. From the mid-15th century Podillia was the favorite target of Tatar raids. When they diminished, the fertile region attracted Polish colonists from the northwest, who filled the political power vacuum.

Info source - encyclopediaofukraine.com

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