The Hutsul’shchyna region of Ukraine is located in the Carpathian Mountains.
The people from the Hutsul’shchyna region are easily distinguished from other ethnographic groups in Ukraine. They have distinct traditional costumes which, today, are worn only on festive occasions.
Outer garments of both sexes consist of a black or dark red coat (serdak), a linen blouse or shirt with multicolored embroidery or glass beads, and a short, sleeveless white sheepskin jacket ( kyptar) often ornamented with appliqués of leather, embroidery, and string, and mirror inlays. Men wear a broad-rimmed hat (krysania) decorated with colored string and plumes, a sheepskin hat in winter, a long shirt over narrow linen trousers, and a wide (remin) or narrow (cheres) belt with purses and brass ornamentation over the shirt. Women wear a wraparound skirt (zapaska or horbotka) and a headband (namitka) or colorful kerchief (khustka). Footwear consists of leather moccasins (postoly) laced above the ankle.
The Hutsuls are renowned for their artistic wood carving and inlaying of wooden objects with contrasting wood, brass, silver, bone, mother-of-pearl, and glass beads; their ceramics; their handmade jewelry, ornaments, and implements of brass, leather, and bone; their vibrant handwoven textiles and kilim weaving; and particularly their embroidery, Easter eggs, and distinctive wooden folk architecture.
The churches in Vorokhta, Kniazhdvir, Kryvorivnia, Yasinia, Zelena, and Verbovets are fine examples of the Hutsul style. The Hutsul farmstead (grazhda) is also notable for its features.
Dance choreography from the Hutsul’shchyna region reflects the steep mountainous terrain. Narrow, high-stepped movements with quick moving feet are indicative of dances from this region. Traditional Hutsul’shchyna dances include Hutsulski Tanets, Arkan, and Kolomeyka.
The Arkan is traditionally performed around a burning bonfire by the men. The word Arkan also refers to the step that the men perform while dancing around the fire. The step begins with the right foot stepping to the side (or double stamping as the dance builds momentum), the left foot crosses behind, the right foot steps to the side again, and the left foot is hopped in front of the dancer with a bent knee. The dance is performed with the men’s arms upon one another’s shoulders. In professional Ukrainian dances, however, many variations may accompany this root step.
Originally, the Kolomeyka is a Hutsul music genre that combines a fast-paced folk dance and goofy-rhymed verses. It also refers to a type of dance performed by Ukrainians who emigrated to North America.
According to Andriy Nahachewsky kolomyjky as practised in Canada are a separate genre of dance from what is known in Ukraine. The diasporic kolomyjka developed from the old country folk dance but with a prevailing influence from stage dancing. Originating in Western Canada in the 1950s and 60s, the kolomyjka is considered the highlight of Ukrainian weddings and dances in Canada: when any attendees who have experience as stage dancers perform their favourite “tricks” involving lifts, spins, high kicks, even building human pyramids. It is a chance for individuals and groups to “show off” their most impressive or dangerous moves so as to entertain the audience and win approval. Nahachewsky suggests that despite being a relatively new tradition the Canadian kolomyjka is an important symbol of Ukrainian culture in Canada and that the dynamism of this type of Ukrainian dance helps to interest young people in Canada in retaining Ukrainian culture.
- Mithrush, Fawnda (Spring 2014). “From dancer to academic” (PDF). ACUA Vitae. 19 (1). Edmonton: Alberta Council for the Ukrainian Arts. pp. 16–17. Retrieved 2014-07-26.