An Insight into the Ukranian Folk Dance of Hopak

4 May

An Insight into the Ukranian Folk Dance of Hopak

< 1 min read

A particular unique reason to visit Ukraine is to observe its magnificent ancient folk dance known as ‘Hopak’. Its name comes from the Ukrainian verb hopaty which means ‘to leap and stamp feet’. What’s special about Hopak is that it’s only performed by males and has been done so since the 16th Century.


Its birth occurred around the 16th Century as Ukraine underwent a long struggle to gain independence against the Ottoman and Russian Empire. Around this era, Ukrainian soldiers in an area named Sich returned home victorious from battle. As a form of celebrating the military men would dance and re-enact their triumphant battle scenes for the community to awe at. It first started as a pantomime form of dance which involved swords and other weapons, and then local musicians would join in. Improvisation continued with acrobatics performed in the air and the incorporation of other moves such as squats. They performed such move to show off their manliness and heroism. This movement is what started off the dance known today as Hopak.


Today there are different interpretations, where females also perform this traditional folk dance. However, their steps are slightly different, having quicker steps, bends and turns. This dance can be performed solo, in pairs or groups.


Here is a video of this dance being performed:


Look out for a chance to watch this dance performed on one of our journeys to Ukraine!


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