Founded in 1937 by choreographer Pavlo Virsky, the Virsky Ukranian National Dance Company has been celebrating the culture of the Ukranian people with its soaring routines for decadesand earning rave reviews in the process. The New York Times once praised the company for its astonishing lightness of bravura and the Cleveland Plain Dealer last month called a Virsky show a brilliant performance of precision choreography. Though others havent always been quite so impresseda reviewer for Philadelphia City Paper once lamented the troupes hollow, idealized version of traditional Ukrainian folklifemost anyone will be floored by the skill of the dancers, who begin their formal training at age 6 at Virskys affiliate school. Even that critical City Paper reviewer admitted he couldnt help but be impressed by the dizzying spins and high-flying turns that are the troupes trademark.
— DANCE FOLKS: The Virsky Ukrainian National Dance Company performs on the Penn Presents stage. 3 p.m. Nov. 21 in Irvine Auditorium. Tickets: $35, $25, $19. Tickets/Info: 215-898-6701 or www.pennpresents.org.
Originally published on November 18, 2004