Monday, August 16, 2010

Viter wows Prudentopolis – August 12-13

Imagine entering a city through a gate topped with church style domes and Ukrainian folk art (rozpys). 70 % of the people are of Ukrainian descent. Where are you? Why in Prudentopolis Brazil of course! And to top it off, a traditional greeting of bread and salt at the Ukrainian Museum.

For those of you that have been to Ukraine, visiting the museum was déjà vu. Fascinating information about their immigration to the country, beautiful artifacts, and warm caring people willing to share with us. There was a donation board with names of people from Calmar, Vegreville, Thorsby, Edmonton and more.

As we walked outside to see the Shevchenko monument we hear intricate drum beats. Beside the monument are locals practicing the Brazilian dance/martial art known as “capoireira”. After a group photo by the monument Viter walked across to the Ukrainian Catholic church – St. Josephats.

It was here that the Viter family truly had a special moment. Not only was the church beautiful but had amazing acoustics. A simple “Amen” from the choir loft brought tears of joy. We then began to sing church music – dancers and choir members, together in harmony.
Veselka dancers hosted a dinner reception where many of us saw (for the first time) a roasted pig – in its entirety! Great varenyky with a tomato/onion cover and excellent mingling! Suddenly a rhythm is being clapped. Viter is called to join the “capoireira” battle. Imagine Zenon Bihun and Alynna Lirette taking on a Brazilian. Or the Toroshenko sister battle. We have it all on video!
We were entertained by the Veselka dancers performance of Hopak, followed by…Povzunetz! (definitely a legendary and popular dance amongst male dancers here!) Just like in Cascaval, our boys joined in! The evening continued with polkas and fellowship.
Back to our separate hotels, where tour bus #2 had an “interesting” evening of synchronized dryland ballet! A walk to the local grocery store ended up with meeting local Ukrainians and let’s just say a novel could be written!
So, day two in Prudentopolis brought out more emotions for all of us. We headed to selo “Esperenca” (which means hope), and saw another beautiful church with great acoustics. One of the sisters in the community gave us a history of the church and the “colonia” (village). We continued to drive to St. John’s Falls (by the way Prudentopolis is known for their beautiful falls), and stopped for some photo opportunities.

As our bus was driving through the village there were children on the road waiting for their school bus. We threw candies and treats to them, and initially they shied away, then slowly went to get the small gifts.
Lunch was at a farm that also hosts tourists. The family was of Ukrainian descent and we were served a delicious meal in a bamboo enclosed dining area. Little oranges that taste like lemons were squeezed onto freshly cooked tilapia (fish) from their fish pond on site. The varenyky were delicious and the shots of espresso hit the spot! We thanked our hosts with a rendition of “Mnohaya Lita” and continued on our way to Barra Bonita.

Here we had a special surprise awaiting us. As we walked past the bright yellow school buildings we entered into a hall where over 100 children of all ages greeted us with warm applause. They sang a welcome (Vitayemo) song, the local dance group Dibrova performed for us and made us feel welcome. The boys of Dibrova performed for us the ever popular Povzunetz! We left the children our treats of chocolates, stickers, pencils and pins.

One small boy touched our hearts. He stood in the front row, performing with the others. His eyes were crossed quite badly and he looked confused. This tugged at the heart strings of Viter, and members of our Viter family generously donated towards the purchase of glasses for this small boy.
It wasn’t over just yet. Imagine Orest Fialka teaching small boys Ukrainian dancing. The looks on their faces said it all. Then outside, Lesia Pohoreski takes a group of children and teaches them a Ukrainian children’s song with actions. The looks of sheer delight made it all worthwhile!

And now it’s show time! Back to the hotel to get ready for a night that no one could have expected. The lead up was news of a sketchy outdoor stage, unsure of audience response, and who knows where we will change?
Well.. it was an unforgettable experience! Here is the scene – Outdoor stage in a Brazilian winter ( you could see your breath), busses as choir change rooms, blockades for outside change rooms for dancers, topped with over 1000 enthusiastic people in the audience. Oh yes! And little gypsy boys trying to get onto our bus, their hats turned asking for coins.
By far, our most emotionally and spiritually charged show! Dancers, singers and parent crew were all on a high as we stormed the local pizza parlor. Imagine 48 types of pizza – from garlic and chicken heart to… chocolate and strawberry pizzas! Many “boodmohs”, and a special toast to Tasha Orysiuk and her family.
The night ended and Viter family #1 and #2 went to their respective hotels. And from there….”what happens in Prudentopolis, stays in Prudentopolis!”


  1. I can't wait for the cast party and to see the rest of the photos's!!!! Congrats on another show and thanks for the toast! Lots of Love, Tasha, Michael and Marco

  2. Thanx so much for the ongoing blog & pics! (I'm sure I speak for all of us back in Canada). You've managed to include us in your exciting tour, and to share at least a few of the highlights while the emotion is still fresh. Dyakuyu! PS: Anyone know when I might see my daughters again....? ;-)
    Natalia Toroshenko