Veselka Ukranian Dancers starring in Baba Yaga’s Supper. From left

Baba Yaga will eat you up

Veselka dancers bring Slavic folklore to life

Children beware, Baba Yaga is coming to life.

The Veselka Ukrainian dance school is premiering Baba Yaga’s Supper, an original Ukrainian folk ballet based around the historic character, Sunday (May 19) at the McPherson Playhouse.

Danielle Dojack, a Veselka instructor, plays Baba Yaga, a forest witch of Slavic folklore who is all kinds of wicked. Chief among her evils is a disturbing appetite for children.

Worry not, the show is happily for all ages.

Artistic director Lisa Hall created the storyline and choreographed the dance, which uses all 45 dancers from the school, ages three to 20, based out of the studio located in the Ukrainian Cultural Centre on Douglas Street.

Baba Yaga is more than just an ugly old witch. She’s powerful, with a bent back, and a face covered in warts. Her gray hair hasn’t been washed or trimmed in hundreds of years and her clothing is rags.

“Traditionally Baba has a sister too. They like to eat children and go into villages to steal them but generally, wisdom prevails,” Hall said.

It’s Hall’s second original performance, having written and choreographed King of the Crows for the Veselka school’s 40th anniversary two years ago. That was also performed at the McPherson, a tradition the school hopes to continue.

At the centre of the plot is the axe-wielding Vasyl, a travelling man, played by Nathan Kuehne, and Romanka, played by Elizabeth Kuroyedov, who is best described as “smitten with Vasyl.”

There’s a horse, played by Jocelyn Mihalynuk, who’s actually a young woman cast into equine form at the hands of Baba Yaga.

And there’s Baba Yaga’s house, inhabited by hench toads, and standing on chicken legs. True to form, the chicken leg driven cabin is mobile and will be on the move throughout the performance.

“The story is about how far people might go to satisfy their desires, the risks of our acquisitive society, and the wise counsel of true and trusted friends,” said producer Valerie Kuehne.

Romanka seeks Baba Yaga the witch in the quest for a love potion to fulfill the young woman’s dream of being with Vasyl. In trade,  Romanka promises to help procure children for Baba Yaga’s supper.

The Veselkas recently performed as part of the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and will be on stage at Beacon Hill for Heritage Day on June 15.

Showtime for Baba Yaga is Sunday is 7 p.m. at McPherson Playhouse.

Tickets are $18, available through the McPherson and Velselka websites.

Just Posted

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbot’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

PRIDE on the Barge caps off last Friday of Pride Month

Starting at 5 p.m. with music from Rocksteady

Local grocery store steps up to help resident after Saanich jams her stand

Pepper’s Foods will start selling jams previously sold through roadside stand

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read