"The purpose of art is to force different people to share tears and laughter"
A great choreographer, Valery Debelyy, seems to have adopted these words as a basis, and a sort of mantra, for creating the Kalyna Ensemble. When it comes to dance, it really doesn’t matter where the audience members are from, what language they speak; Kalyna’s productions are easily understood by everyone and evoke the same emotions of delight and admiration.
The group has its unique style. Unlike many dance companies, who mostly focus on dance technique, Valery allows his dancers to experiment and show off their skill and personal styles. Along with perfecting steps and technique, something this company constantly works on is character – developing choreographic images, finding the ‘voice’ of each dancer, and focusing on mannerisms.
Kalyna Academic Ukrainian Folk Ensemble is, in a manner of speaking, a whirlwind of various genres. They bring together folk music, choral singing and choreography. The ensemble’s creative works represent the folklore of many Ukrainian regions – starting west, and moving through central areas all the way to the east. The ensemble recreates ceremonies and rituals from both the religious and heathen legacy of Ukrainian people. "Spring", "Obzhynky", "Christmas", "Weddings", folk ‘musicals’ are just a few topics Kalyna explores.
Beautiful stage costumes, images impeccable in their musical and choreographic form, the unity of folk dance, song and music, definitely contribute to the treasury of modern Ukrainian culture.
The Kalyna Ensemble has won many competitions and festivals in Ukraine and beyond. The group has toured in Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany, China, Korea, Indonesia, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Italy etc., ending every performance with a standing ovation.
Last year participants of the Ukrainian Dance Workshop Tour had the great pleasure of seeing the great skill of the "Kalyna" dancers; witnessing the passionate and dedicated work of Valery Debelyy,; getting acquainted with the cast – original and present, and, surely, creating lifelong memories.