Regions and Costumes
Pryvit is a Ukrainian welcome dance. Many regions can be represented in this dance. Dancers offer bread, salt and wheat to their guests, which represent a wish of prosperity and health.
Representing the culture and traditions of the Ukrainian Kozaks, Poltava and other lands in central and eastern Ukraine surrounding the Dnipro River, these are the dances most commonly associated with Ukrainian dance. The Poltava culture developed under many influences, the greatest being from the semi-military society of the Kozaks. Their love of social dances spawned the Hopak and Kozachok.
The men’s costumes for these dances are styled after the Kozak dress, with boots, a comfortable, embroidered shirt, a sash (poyas) tied around the waist, and loose, billowy riding pants (sharyvary). The women’s costume consists of a blouse with red and black embroidery, a full or straight skirt worn in many colors with the most common being a straight skirt (plakhta) made of colourful, geometric woven fabric; long vests with matching aprons are sometimes worn, red leather boots or shoes, red beaded necklace and a headpiece of flowers and ribbons.
The style of these dances is acrobatic and physically demanding for the men, while the women display grace and beauty while dancing in technically demanding unison. This style of Ukrainian dance is easily recognizable and the costume of this area has been deemed the national costume of Ukraine.
This region is located high in the Carpathian Mountains where the people had to adapt to the severe climate and limited living space. This is represented in the costumes with narrower skirts and pants and the rich colors and details used. All dancers wear leather moccasins (postoly) and highly decorated vests known as keptari. The men’s pants are straight legged and the women’s skirt consists of front and back panels, tied at the waist. Hutzul costumes incorporate orange, brown, green, and yellow embroidery.
Hutzul dances are lively and energetic, characterized by quick stamping and intricate footwork, combined with swift vertical movements. This dance has become the second most recognizable style of Ukrainian dance.
Also known as Zakarpattia, this consists of a large area of both foothills and fertile plains. These regional dances are known for their large sweeping movements and colourful costumes. Costumes from this region have similarities to Polish folk dress with a lot of lace and floral detail. Women’s skirts are full and swish with movement; a traditional embroidered blouse is worn with a short, dark, decorated vest. The men wear narrow white pants with a traditional white shirt and dark embroidered vest. Decorated hats are common accessories for all dancers.
The men clapping and slapping their boots and bodies characterize these moderately paced dances. It is rhythmical and bouncy with distinct twisting motions.
This area is located in the transitional highland between Ukraine and Romania.
Costuming for this region is very narrow with coins often being a part of the costume, representing a Ukrainian superstition that coins ward off evil spirits. The men are dressed in white with a decorated vest, belt and hat for accessories. The women wear a traditional white blouse with darker embroidery. The dark skirt is sometimes open at the front revealing an embroidered slip. The women’s headpieces are very distinct, consisting of tall wheat stalks, ostrich feathers or other unique protuberances.
The dances from this region are lively, energetic and characterized by high stepping, intricate foot stamping combinations.
Volyn lies in northwestern Ukraine. This region is rich in tradition and culture. The costumes and dances from this region have been influenced by Poland’s extended rule over the area. Men wear long, swirling jackets and the women have skirts that swirl when turning. The costumes are bright and vibrant.
Dances from this area are couple oriented and polka-like. Dance steps are characterized by energetic jumping, high legs, lively arms and twirling steps. Generally the choreography is light and fun.
This area of the Ukraine is below sea level and therefore has very marshy soil. Residents of this region are cattle farmers and fishermen. The costumes incorporate white, red, and beige as the main colors and the girls often wear aprons.
This fast paced, bouncy dance incorporates high leg movements with repetitive tapping and stamping.
This represents the cultures and traditions of the Ukrainian Tsyhany. The Roma people living in the Carpathian Mountains have developed their own dialect, customs and traditional dances limited to their own villages. In these dances you will see the men clapping and slapping their boots or chest.