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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ukraine's 21st Century struggle for independence

While watching one of the wonderful, breath-taking and thought-provoking videos out there these days, a couple of things occurred to me.

First, that the dance steps in Ukrainian dance, in particular of the men, were developed with more practical purposes than for entertaining audiences on a stage.

They were, literally, moves designed to save a solder's life and for defeating a murderous enemy.

In the last half of the 20th century, and the first couple of decades of the 21st, the origins of the dance moves were but a distant memory, interesting footnotes in the history of Ukrainian dance.

 Now of course, the circumstances that led to the development of those dance moves are no longer a distant memory, but today's stark reality.

Things have changed tho.

So my second thought is how today's Ukrainian freedom fighters will be mythologized long after we're all gone from this earth.

Hand to hand combat is pretty much a thing of the past now, thanks to the horrible weaponry developed in the last century. So intimidating posturing and clever kicks won't be of any use to today's kozaky fighting for Ukraine's freedom.

With the resurgence of folkloric symbols and musical styles, probably the dance moves will remain, albeit modified somewhat by modern choreography.

But the rest of it ... the songs, the symbolism, and the sentiments ... these should be recorded for posterity.

It's a different world, and not just because of technology. It's the attitudes and mindsets that technology empowered.

I believe in my heart of hearts that Ukraine may, for the first time in centuries, be able to break the yoke of foreign oppression, once and for all.

 So we should all chronicle this time in our lives.

We should keep meticulous records, digital or analogue (or both), for future generations to understand better than we ourselves do, being in the middle of it with only an eye of the storm view.

Perhaps if, with details chronicles and records, we can help them step back in time, we can help them avoid the mistakes that we have made, and are bound to make before this is all over.

 I'd be interested to see if this video inspires you as it did me. Enjoy. Lyrics and translation below.

Їхали козаки, їхали по полю
І лунала пісня про їхнюю долю.
Про їхнюю долю, про справжнюю волю.
 Їхали козаки, їхали по полю...

Cossacks rode, rode on the field
And the song was heard about their fate.
About their fate, and about the price of freedom.
The Cossacks were riding, to the battlefield ...

Їхали козаки та й пісню співали.
Про те, як любили і як воювали
За рідную землю, за батьків і друзів,
 І за спів дівочий, що дзвенить у лузі...

The Cossacks rode, singing songs.
About learning to love and how to fight
For their native land, for family and friends,
And the songs of their sweethearts rang throughout the meadows.

Ой, у лузі-лузі тая пісня ллється,
А дівоче серце, як пташина, б'ється...
Віддала кохання хлопцю молодому
Їхали козаки, їхали додому...

Oh, in the meadow a song flows
And a maiden's heart beats like a bird’s wings,
Because she gave her love to a young man.
The Cossacks were riding, coming home ...


Orysia Tracz said...

Hi, Paulette,

The dances were also calisthenics -- to stay in shape between wars and battles and riding. Also, Kozak, Kozak rather than Cossacks. The latter includes all kinds of Russian, Central Asian Cossacks.

Thanks for all that you do with Nash Holos.


Pawlina said...

Thanks for those two clarifications!

Trust Ukrainians to make exercising entertaining!

As for Cossacks vs kozaks, that distinction needs to become better known. Thanks for doing your part here!

And thanks for all you do with your good work, Orysia! In particular, your wonderful Christmas book, First Star I See Tonight.

Perhaps a book on kozaks is on the horizon? ;)

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