Bukovyna is not only the land of picturesque views, dense forests, Clearwater rivers, fresh air, but also the land of incredibly talented people who cherish a priceless treasure. The treasure of folklore.
Bukovyna has always been famous for its songs, dances, music and traditions. Working as a choreographer of the State Bukovynian Academic Song and Dance Ensemble, I’ve always tried not to step away from original sources of Bukovynian national dance art.
By far my favorite dance is ‘Kaperush’. The population of Bukovyna is a mix of numerous nationalities, including Moldavians and Romanians. The word "Kaperush" was introduced into local slang as a transformed Moldavian word "kiperush", meaning pepper.
You’re probably wondering about the origins of this dance now? So here’s the story. Many people know of the Koperush dance, popular throughout the Ternopil region and neighboring territories. In this composition, one male dancer is known as ‘Kyi’ and plays the main part in the dance, showing off his movements, with all the other male dancers repeating after him. Those who are clumsy or make any mistakes are punished by the ‘Kyi’. This is a humorous dance, of course, that shows off local folklore.
Here in Bukovyna, the ‘Kaperush’ dance (which the Bukovyna Academic Song and Dance Ensemble has been performing since 2013), is a couples’ dance, which allows us to bring in female dancers. In the ancient times, going to dance parties girls would bring dark pepper (Moldavian ‘kiperush’) with them. Before the guys got there, they would grind the pepper and put all over the dance floor. When the guys started dancing, pepper dust would form clouds around the men, making them cough and sneeze terribly, which the girls found incredibly entertaining.
The name also reflected the ‘spicy’ character of the dance.
So here you go, a short story on the Bukovynian folk dance called ‘Kaperush’.
Written by Leonid Sydorchuk, Honored Artist of Ukraine, head ballet master of the Bukovyna Academic Song and Dance Ensemble.