McADOO, PENNSYLVANIA - They brought the colors and dance steps
of Ukraine to the borough Sunday afternoon.
They also raised a few eyebrows.
"Kazka was awesome!" said Marion E. DeBalko, McAdoo, one of the more than
1,000 people who came to see the Kazka Ukrainian Folk Ensemble perform in
the auditorium of McAdoo Catholic School.
The performance, which was free to the public, kicked off the second annual
Southside Community Partnership church tour, which was held from 2 to 5 p.m.
and involved churches in McAdoo, Kline Township and Banks Township, Carbon
County, the three municipalities that make up the partnership.
It's appropriate that a Ukrainian dance group perform in the borough, where
St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church is located.
Before the show, Kazka co-founder Paula A. Holoviak, Sugarloaf, Luzerne
County, talked about what the public could expect from the performance.
"We're going to be doing dances from central Ukraine, in particular the Poltava region," she said, adding the region is made up of fertile farm lands
and that Ukraine was known as the bread basket of Europe.
"The Poltava region is the plains. To represent that, the dancing is very
open, wide in its choreography and its steps. There's more space to move.
There's more room to dance," she said.
"Whereas if we were doing dances from the mountain regions, the hands tend
to be pretty stationary and we'd be concentrating more on the footwork," she
On Sunday, 20 dancers shook the floor of the auditorium during the hour-long
show. Four of the group's singers also performed Christmas carols.
The show ended with the "Hopak," Ukraine's national dance. During it, the
men show off athletic moves.
"They represent moves the men used to do on horseback in training for war,"
Dancer Joseph W. Zucofski, Port Carbon, said dance steps like those aren't
easy to execute, especially when you get older.
"It's challenging," he said. "It's a workout. You feel it for the next day
or two afterward in the legs, knees, quads and hamstrings."
Kazka was formed in 1987. For the most part, it's made up of performers from
eastern Pennsylvania. Its founders included Holoviak, her brother, Michael
Duda and Zucofski.
"Kazka' means folk tale or legend," Zucofski said. "We took that name
because we thought it was an interesting translation for what we're doing.
The reason why we formed was because we wanted to uphold our Ukrainian
roots. We thought what we would be doing would be taking our stories and
interpreting them for the people of this area."
Zucofski is an engineer who works for Kent Surveyors & Engineers,
He said he was raised Roman Catholic.
"My father was Roman Catholic, but my mother was Ukrainian. My mother was a
Ukrainian dancer when she was young. She went to St. John's Church in
Maizeville," he said.
She taught him a bit of the language and instilled in him a love for the
Ukrainian culture. Even though he's a member of St. Stephen Roman Catholic
Church in Port Carbon, he's a Ukrainian dancer and singer for Kazka.
"I like the idea of continuing what my parents and grandparents handed down
to me," Zucofski said. "And it's a great way to meet other people. It's nice
knowing there are other people out there doing the same thing that you are."
Monica J. Slovik, 21, and her sister, Christine D., 18, have been dancers
with Kazka for years.
"I think I started dancing when I was 6," Monica said. "I think I was a
member of the group since I was 12 or 13. I love to dance. And I'm
Ukrainian. It's a good way to keep in touch with the culture. And these are
my friends since I was a little girl," she said.
The group is a nonprofit ensemble and all of its members are volunteer
Members' elaborate Ukrainian costumes were purchased with the help of grants
acquired thanks to groups including the Schuylkill County Council of the
Arts, Holoviak said.