Vasyl Avramenko (1895-1981)

Vasyl Avramenko (1895-1981). Ukrainian actor, dancer, choreographer, ballet master, movie director, and film producer, considered the father of Ukrainian folk dance in North America. Avramenko is credited with spreading the art form across the world by establishing numerous schools and dance troupes. Born in Stebiv, a townlet south of Kyiv, Avramenko travelled widely in the 1920s in western Ukraine and central Europe, presenting dance demonstrations and workshops and encouraging others to perform his dances.

Beginning in 1926, he continued to promote Ukrainian dance for over twenty-five years by organizing tours across Canada (which became his home in 1925), the United States, South America, and Australia. His legacy resonates to this very day in successor generations of teachers who have nurtured and shaped Ukrainian folk dance for stage performances for global audiences.