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Heritage Daze

Dance combines folk tales, Ukrainian songs, and ginormous puppets.


This weekend’s staging of the dance piece Ancestral Voices looks a lot different than it did seven years ago, when it premiered. The production -- which is based on Ukrainian folklore and combines modern dance, theater, and puppetry -- stems from director Nadia Tarnawsky’s heritage. “There’s an old song about two sisters -- one who’s wealthy and one who’s poor,” she says. “That became the linchpin. I then looked at various other folk pieces that lent themselves to the story.”

The revision was originally set in motion by a festival gig that was slated for later this year in Ukraine. It eventually fell through, but Tarnawsky reworked the piece anyway, tweaking the score and fine-tuning the dances. Ancestral Voices hits the fringe-festival circuit this summer, culminating in a New York performance in August. “It travels easy,” she says. The production features four dancers from Verb Ballets and a batch of Ukrainian folk songs adapted by Tarnawsky. Plus, there are giant puppets. “It’s abstract,” says Tarnawsky. “We don’t go from point A to point C. It follows a poetic line.”
June 29-30, 8 p.m.; Sun., July 1, 3 p.m.

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