Over thirty eight years ago there was a dream...
The dream was to form a Ukrainian dance ensemble whose dancers would be proud of their heritage. Through dance they would open the eyes of the world to the splendor of Ukraine and the richness of its culture. They would dance with their hearts and souls and continue to bolster the pride for their Ukrainian identity. This dance ensemble would function strictly as a family, where everyone would be an integral part, and its existence would last through many generations of dancers. Hromovytsia’s mission is not only to preserve the traditions of the past, but to elevate Ukrainian dance to new levels by incorporating present day music and today’s dance techniques of ballet, jazz, and modern American dance. Its hope and intent is to create new traditions and inspire future generations for years to come. To all Hromovytsia dancers, past and present, and to all family and friends, I wish to personally express my utmost respect and sincere thanks. We have accomplished much...
Hromovytsia, translated into English as “Thunderstorm”, is a dance ensemble based on talent, heart and soul. Under the direction of Roxana Dykyj-Pylypczak, the group boasts a 38-year history and is comprised of over 35 dancers dedicated to reshaping the very definition of Ukrainian dance and delighting audiences everywhere.
In 2003, Hromovytsia made its first trip to Ukraine and performed for audiences in six different Ukrainian cities. Four years later, the ensemble completed a successful 17-day concert tour of Western Europe where it performed for audiences in Strasbourg, Munich, Florence, and Rome. In 2011, Hromovytsia returned to Ukraine, performing in four major cities: Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Rivne, and Kyiv. In June of 2017, Hromovytsia will embark on its fourth tour, this time to Spain. The ensemble looks forward to performing for the people of Madrid and Barcelona and showing them their love for Ukraine and dance.
Throughout its history, Hromovytsia has continuously immersed itself into both the Ukrainian and greater Chicagoland communities. The ensemble was honored to perform several times at one of the largest dance festivals in the United States—Dance Chicago. At these performances, the ensemble quickly became a crowd favorite and also gave Hromovytsia the opportunity to share a stage with some of the most influential dance companies in the nation, including The Joffrey Ballet, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance and the Hubbard Street Dancers.
For over ten years, Hromovytsia has become a staple and audience favorite at the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, performing annually for more than 400,000 parade- goers and over 5 million live television viewers. Other notable performances in Chicago include the official grand opening of Chicago’s Millennium Park, Chicago’s Sister Cities Festival (with guests Barrack Obama and Mayor Richard Daley), a live appearance on NBC 5’s Morning Show with host Dick Johnson and special appearances at philanthropic events for the University of Chicago Cancer Research and the Fermi Lab National Physics Laboratory.
Outside of Chicago, Hromovytsia has performed at a number of festivals across Canada and the United States, including Georgia’s International Cherry Blossom Festival, Verkhovyna Ukrainian Festival in Glen Spey, NY, the Washington D.C. Ukrainian Festival, Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba and the Bloor West Village Ukrainian Festival in Toronto, Ontario—boasting a weekend attendance of over 250,000 people.
In the years to come, Hromovytsia looks toward a future of delivering innovative works that capture the splendor and richness of Ukraine’s culture, history and traditions. Through its revolutionary approach to Ukrainian dance, the ensemble hopes to reshape the very definition of folk dance, continually pushing Hromovytsia to new choreographic heights and delighting audiences everywhere.
Since age eight, Roxana Dykyj-Pylypczak has studied and performed Ukrainian dance. She began her training with Mr. and Mrs. Lubomyr Cepynsky in 1966. As a member of the Ukrainian Theatrical Youth Group in Chicago, which performed extensively throughout the United States and Canada, she landed lead roles in plays such as “Za Sestroyu” and “The Invincible Call.”
In addition, Roxana trained for many years with Roma Pryma-Bohachevsky, as well as other high-profile Ukrainian instructors including Vadim Sulima, Valentina Pereyaslavets and Taras Kalba. She received ballet, character and jazz training at the Ruth Page Foundation, Ellis DuBoulay School of Dance, Rozak Studio, Lou Conte Studio and Keith Allison School of Dance.
Along with Yurij Cepynsky, Marta Horodylowsky-Kozyckyj, and her husband Ivan Pylypczak, Roxana founded the Hromovytsia Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in 1980 and became the group’s sole artistic director in 1986. With her experience as a dancer and vast knowledge of traditional dance, ballet, character and jazz, combined with a boundless choreographic imagination, Roxana has managed to bring music, talent and unique movements together to create an entertaining form of ethnic art that brings delight to all who are watching.
In recognition of Roxana’s efforts and the ensemble’s 34-year success, she received a Special Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor Richard M. Daley acknowledging her exceptional contribution to the city of Chicago. Upon returning from Hromovytsia’s six-city tour of Ukraine, Roxana was once again awarded a special certificate from Mayor Richard M. Daley for the ensemble’s success abroad. Roxana also received a Recognition Award from the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art for her contribution to the community and the arts. In 2016, Roxana was honored by the Minister of Culture of Ukraine for her dedication to the arts.
Daniela Pylypczak-Wasylyszyn first started dancing at age three, training at the Ukrainian School of Ballet and Folk Dance. Over the years, Daniela built upon her folk dancing foundation with ballet, modern, and jazz training. She attended Ballet Chicago, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Lou Conte, as well as Joel Hall Dance Center. From 2004 to 2008, Daniela was a part of Joel Hall’s Youth company 1511, where she performed dances choreographed by Nick Pupillo and Eddy Ocampo.
Daniela has been dancing with Hromovytsia since the age of 15, and in December of 2013, she was appointed the assistant director of the ensemble. Working side-by-side with her mother Roxana Dykyj-Pylypczak, Daniela hopes to further push Hromovytsia into uncharted territory, bringing traditional Ukrainian folk dancing to the next level.