ARKAN DANCE – UKRAINE

ARKAN DANCE, UKRAINE

Performed mainly by an ethnic community called “Hutsul” is an Eastern European dance form known as Arkan. This “traditional” dance is said to have originated from Ukraine, and is performed mainly by men around a “bonfire”. Apparently, this ritualistic dance was performed by young men belonging to the Hutsul community to celebrate their transition from teenage to adulthood. Furthermore, this dance involves the use of steps such as skipping, stomping, squatting etc. In addition, the rhythm of this style of dancing is not constant and keeps changing continuously.

A. History/origin of Arkan:

According to the cultural history of Ukraine, Arkan dance was first created in the country by an ethnic community called Hutsul. Furthermore, this dance was created with the sole purpose of celebrating the transition of young men belonging to the community from teenage to manhood. In addition, this dance was also created to celebrate the fact that a performer was found to be a potential “opryshko” i.e. a member belonging to the peasant insurgency group in Galicia Transcarpathia and Bukovyna.

B. Costumes used in the Arkan:

The costumes used by the performers (mainly male) includes a long sleeve shirt, an overcoat, a trouser, a wide belt known locally as “cheres”, and ax and walking stick locally known as bartka or topirets.

C. Music involved in the Arkan:

The musical instruments used in this dance form includes the skrypka i.e. violin, the buben i.e. drum, cymbals, and sopilka i.e. a pipe.

D. Training availability and technique involved in the Arkan:

In terms of technique, the performers (mainly males) initially form a circle around a bonfire. Furthermore, the dance begins with the performer placing his right foot to the side, and crossing the left foot from behind. The right foot then once again is brought to the side while the performer hops with his left foot and with a bent knee. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “traditional” dance style is mainly performed in Ukraine.

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