Foreign folk dances dazzle on the Boardwalk - Brooklyn Paper

Foreign folk dances dazzle on the Boardwalk

Flower power: Carrie Plew, Molly Gamble, Anna Chelak and Ksenya Hentisz of the Karpaty Dance Ensemble wow the crowd with their traditional Ukrainian garb.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Brighton Beach experienced a wave of culture on Saturday as traditional Georgian and Ukrainian folk dancers took to the Boardwalk.

Crowds gathered to witness the strength and grace of professional dancers clad in colorful costumes who reveled in the opportunity to share their culture with an enraptured audience at a June 6 event sponsored by the Brooklyn Arts Council.

“For the performers, it was a pleasure because you feel a direct response from the audience,” said Victor Sirelson, artistic director of the Dancing Crane Company, which specializes in Georgian folk dance. “It’s very different from performing in a theater.”

Dancers felt welcomed by a warm and receptive audience who enjoyed learning from the pros in a dance workshop after the main performances.

“We had some crowd participation,” said Molly Gamble, a Ukrainian folk dancer who has been with the Karpaty Folk Song and Dance Ensemble for three years. “A lot of young kids tried their best at some Ukrainian folk steps and they did a great job.”

Sirelson was thrilled by the reception of audience members from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

“This is significant for the Georgian community,” he said. “It’s significant to have an expression of their arts in the public area.”

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.

More from Around New York