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    • Day 11

      Found Our Show Poster!

      August 7, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      The bus ride to Ivano-Frankivsk was actually quite short, less than 2 hours. I actually was a bit more reserved on this bus ride, partially because I'm starting to get prepared for our show tomorrow and also to catch up on some blogging.

      We arrived in Ivano-Frankivsk and repeated the check in process once again. The room we have actually has a ton of space and has one main bed for the two of us! This evening we actually have the entire time to ourselves, which has been a rarity! After a moment of chill out in the room, we walked across the street with one of our tour guides to the supermarket to stock up on water and bananas for tomorrow.

      Our hotel is literally right beside the theatre where we are performing tomorrow. While walking out of the hotel we noticed our show poster in the theatre window!! That was super cool to see! Stopped to take a picture and then we headed off to find some dinner.

      Ivano-Frankivsk is really beautiful and super cute. We walked down the main pedestrian drag which is lined with different restaurants, cafes, and storefronts. While walking, we saw our show poster two more times on billboard advertisement walls! It's starting to make us super excited and feels sort of celebrity like. We also heard from other dancers that they spotted some different ones.

      We looked at a couple of menus and nothing really caught our attention. So we leaned on the power of Google Maps and found a pasta restaurant which had good reviews. The restaurant actually turned out to be a Ukrainian farm-to-table type of restaurant. They only use ingredients that are found in Ukraine. We had dinner with Nathan, Audrey, Jordan, Christine, and Joren and we were all in the mindset to fuel up for the show tomorrow.

      The restaurant actually had Ukrainian craft beer, so we ordered something that looked interesting and the menu said it was from the Hutsul region. Brooke and I shared a pasta dish and then each ordered a steak to get some solid protein. Side dishes of fried potatoes and grilled veggies along with a garlic sauce. Christine said her spaghetti bolognese was to die for. It was an excellent meal and we were very impressed with the restaurant!

      We took a meandering pace back to our hotel and then spent the rest of the evening ironing our costumes and getting prepared for tomorrow.

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    • Day 12

      Ivano-Frankivsk Show Day

      August 8, 2019 in Ukraine ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      It was a nice treat to sleep in to 8 am and have a fairly relaxed day leading up to our second and final full length performance. Breakfast at Hotel Nadiya was awesome. The restaurant had a lovely outdoor terrace and made our coffee and croissants with Nutella even more enjoyable.

      Our walking tour started at around 10 am. Our guide explained that Ivano-Frankivsk used to be called Stanislav, for the son of the Polish man that once owned the city. It was renamed to honour a Ukrainian poet, Ivan Franko. We learned that this city was really quite multicultural - having Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, and Armenian origins. Some of this diversity was really devastated by World War II and there are just a couple buildings left particularly from the Jewish and Armenian quarters today. Ivano-Frankivsk was also a fortress city but none of the original walls exist anymore.

      Our guide explained that there are now a couple NGOs devoted to improving the city. One to build structures and parks for children, and another to preserve beautiful and historic doors and other building features.

      We visited a beautiful arch that was a gift for 350 years since the city was created and also passed by the city hall and peeked in at a few churches.

      The tour ended at around 11:30 and we had a bit of time to prepare for our show. We got to load our props to the backstage and Kristen braided my hair and I braided Christine’s. The time flew by and it was time to meet for lunch. We walked to a restaurant a few blocks away. We had a cabbage salad, borscht with chicken in it, and the main course was a plate of banosh (corn meal porridge) with mushroom sauce. Tyler thought and I agreed that it was an unusual pre-show meal and not quite what we’d usually gravitate toward before a big dance show.

      We had about half an hour to prep the rest of our stuff (pretty sure I did my makeup on record time) and then it was time to go to the theatre. The theatre was literally across the street which was very convenient. Mikhailo was already outside of the theatre when we were heading there. So Tyler and I said hi for a couple minutes. He had already got tickets for the show. He was with a friend of Natalia’s named Lilia who lives in Ivano-Frankivsk.

      In the theatre we got our stuff set up, in the dark at first before the theatre lights were turned on. The stage was wooden, and quite uneven with metal plates in some places. It was definitely a challenging stage to dance on compared to what we are used to. However the actual grippy-ness of the stage was quite manageable.

      Our tech rehearsal was quick for a few reasons. The lighting was very simple and I don’t think there was much to adjust or decide. Also, as we had recently done the full show it wasn’t that difficult to set spacing again so soon.

      We finished ahead of schedule and had a very comfortable amount of time to get ready for the show. The change rooms each had their own music going and it was a fun upbeat feel in the building.

      The kolach for pryvit was absolutely stunning... it was ornately decorated and even tryzubs on its sides. I decided to get my costume on a little early to get some photos with the bread. I otherwise never get to do that since the bread is at the end of the dance and there’s always a quick change after. Before the show, we had our usual pow wow on stage. It was Jordan’s 300th show!!! Pretty amazing timing given that Christine and Jordan were performing the lead roles for Heroiam Slava.

      The show was again full of energy and emotion. There were a couple hiccups... one of the girls took a fall during the Transcarpathian dance (luckily I think she was ok after). The audience was very supportive of all of the dancing. At the end of the 1st half, a lady ran up onto the stage after the curtain had closed to give flowers to Christine. It was very sweet. At intermission, Josef’s daughter came backstage. I said hello quickly but then needed to head to change.

      After the final bow of hopak, the crowd chanted Molotsi! This is like bravo or saying the show was amazing and felt amazing to hear! After a quick group photo, it was time to find the relatives who had come to the show. Mikhailo and Natalia’s friend Lilia, a couple and their two children (I must admit that I don’t know their names nor relation) were the first we saw. I did recognize the mom in that group and Mikhailo explained she was pregnant the last time I was here in 2013 with her first daughter and now she has three children! The oldest two were at the performance. They brought flowers and other treats.

      We took some photos and then Josef and his daughter Natalia (and her husband Yuri and granddaughter Marta) found us too! They all seemed to have enjoyed the show. I introduced everyone to Tyler and Kim and we took some more photos. Next it was time to go pack up all of our costumes. I did this quite fast... Tyler is always one of the slowest to pack up and especially since we were already behind the others that changed immediately he was the last one out of the theatre.

      I hung up all the costumes in the hotel room and changed my clothes. Then I went downstairs and found the group of family. We went to the hotel restaurant and got settled. Mikhailo’s English is still pretty good, and so it was fairly easy to communicate and he translated back and forth. Tyler joined us just about ten minutes later. We had coffee and tea and apple strudel. At one point, Natalia Melnyk phones from Germany and said she was very sad she couldn’t make it to see us. We showed everyone some pictures of recent family gatherings and of our wedding. It was a really nice visit!! Everyone said we should come back (and bring Halya/Gail and other family) but not on a dance trip so there would be more time to visit! Tyler officially knows more Ukrainian than I do. The relatives could tell that he was understanding more and saying a couple words back a bit more often than I was. Josef’s daughter Natalia said something to this effect.

      The rest of the dancers meanwhile had showered and some had gone for dinner. Some dancers had convened in one hotel room to visit after the show. We had some vodka, pizza and chips and celebrated our last full length show in Ukraine.

      Now we’ll be off to Lviv for the International Dance Festival!!!

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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Ivano-Frankivs’k, Ivano-Frankivs'k, Stanisławów, Ивано-Франковск, Івано-Франківськ

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