Gala concert of winners
In these turbulent times, planning and achieving our goals can be difficult. However, we move forward and are proud to introduce an exciting new initiative, Competition, which will form a platform for encouraging creative excellence.
Taking as an example the legendary Ukrainian ballerina Roma Pryma, who introduced her native culture and folk traditions into her dance, we open the first classical and modern ballet competition named after Roma Pryma, which will take place at Lviv National Opera from May 28-31, 2023.
The greatness of her personality, shaped by the influence of European dance culture, and her popularization of Ukrainian culture deserve to be honoured in modern Ukraine, particularly in Lviv. A woman from Lviv, whose performances conquered world stages, will today be an inspiration for our contestants.
On May 29, the participants will compete on the theatre stage, and the final chord of the competition will be the Solemn Award Ceremony and Gala Concert of the winners on May 30 at 17:00.
Roma Pryma-Bohachevsky is a dancer, choreographer, and educator who has achieved recognition as a prima ballerina at Lviv Opera and other prestigious theatre companies, including Austrian National Theater in Innsbruck, Salzburg, and the Royal Ballet in Winnipeg. Her innovative and modern approach to dramatic dance has captivated audiences at the world’s most renowned artistic venues, including New York, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Geneva, London, Toronto, and Athens.
She was born on March 3, 1927, in Przemyśl in the family of Doctor Ostap Pryma. Her mother, Ivanna Szmerykowska-Pryma (1898-1982), was a celebrated singer, pianist, cellist, and artist whose influence played a crucial role in fostering the creative talents of Roma.
Roma Pryma spent most of her childhood and youth in Lviv, where she began dancing at the age of five. She studied at a dance school, first according to the method of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and later at the School of Modern Dance of Maryna Bronevska. She also trained in classical choreography at the ballet school at Lviv Opera, where she began performing on stage at the age of 12.
In 1939-44, Roma Pryma was employed by Lviv Opera House, where she achieved significant professional growth. Her artistic development was attributed mainly to the mentorship of Yevhen Vihiliov, Mykola Trehubov, and Klavdiia Oshkamp. She played a significant role in refining the elegance of classical dance, which helped her move up from corps de ballet to theatre soloist within a year and a half. Her repertoire included performances in such operas as “Aida” by G. Verdi, “Carmen” by G. Bizet, and “Faust” by C. Gounod, as well as ballets like “Don Quixote” by L. Minkus and “Der Schleier der Pierrette” by E. von Dohnányi. She was well-versed in both classical and modern dance, which were gaining popularity in Galicia during that time.
In 1944, Roma Pryma and her mother departed for Austria, where she achieved academic excellence as a graduate of the Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in Vienna and went on to become a soloist in the ballet company of the National Theater in Innsbruck. In 1948, mother and daughter went to Canada. Following this, in 1948, they immigrated to Canada, with their journey taking them through Halifax, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and finally Montreal, where Roma Pryma joined the theatre of the renowned ballerina Ruth Sorel. Within a year, she became one of the ballet soloists and dance teachers, an impressive feat considering she was only 23 years old.
During the early 1950s, Roma and her mother moved to the United States and eventually settled in New York. There, the dancer pursued her studies in choreography under the tutelage of renowned dancers such as Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Agnes de Mille, and Jose Limon.
In a short time, she embarked on her first tour to South America and later performed in Philadelphia. In 1962, she toured to European cities as part of the “Tanks and Characters” program, including London, Geneva, Vienna, Paris, Athens, Rome, and Munich. She married opera singer Yurii Bohachevsky in Rome in 1963, and the couple went on a joint tour of Italy shortly thereafter, performing in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany.
Upon returning to New York in 1964, she established a children’s ballet school that quickly gained popularity among children and audiences. The ballerina’s famous productions included “Cinderella” by I. Sonevytskyi, “The Blue Shawl” by I. Nedilskyi, “Fern Flower,” and “Peer Gynt” by E. Grieg, as well as the opera “Anna Yaroslavna” by A. Rudnytskyi, and the opera-fairy tale “The Magic Ring” by I. Nedilskyi and others. The ballet school became a unique centre of children’s creativity, fostering Ukrainian culture and traditions. The brilliant premieres of the ballets attracted an ever-increasing number of willing participants, leading to the opening of circles in Long Island and Albany. The artist also shared her experience through lectures conducted in the USA, Canada, and Brazil and organized Ukrainian dance courses and summer dance camps.
Юля Шийка, [25.05.2023 21:06]
One of her students, the famous Kvitka Tsisyk, who was also a ballet enthusiast, performed the lead role in Ihor Sonevytskyi’s “Cinderella” in 1967 and participated in other productions of Roma Pryma as a singer.
In 1978, Roma Pryma founded the dance ensemble “Syzokryli”. Unlike traditional ballet schools, this group was formed of young people aged 15 to 28 years old. The ensemble’s repertoire consisted of folk dances, stylized ballets, and thematically-driven performances, including “Fight for Freedom”, “Baptism of Ukraine”, “Ivasiuk Suite”, “Chornobyl Tragedy”, and others. Roma Pryma’s teaching career was celebrated on June 3, 1990, in New York, marking 25 years of success. By that time, the prima had established seven branches and groups in different cities across the USA, including New York, Newark, Albany, Bridgeport, Perth Amboy, Passaic, and Hempstead. These groups specialized in various dance styles, such as folk, classical, and experimental dances.
After 50 years, Roma Pryima-Bogachevsky’s dream finally came true in 1992. Together with the ensemble “Syzokryli” and her children, Anna and Borys, she returned to Ukraine for concerts in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kalush, and most importantly, in Lviv at the native opera house. According to Roma, this was one of the happiest moments of her life. In the late 1990s, Roma Pryma and her husband, Yurii Bohachevsky, retired and spent their later years at the family estate. In 2004, the renowned prima ballerina passed away and was laid to rest next to her husband at the Ukrainian cemetery of St. Andrew in Bound Brook (USA).
Roma Pryma was a devoted ballet dancer who represented the Galician-Austrian ballet school. Throughout her career, she demonstrated an unwavering commitment to her craft, persevering through life’s challenges to preserve her creative energy and produce remarkable work. Her performances were infused with elements of her native land, including folk traditions and legends. According to European critics, Roma Pryma-Bogachevsky had a unique ability to express the secrets of the human soul through her movements. Her colleagues and students remember her as a source of inspiration and love for the arts.