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history of Volya

"Back in 1989, the founders could never have imagined how their dream of a new professional-caliber Ukrainian dance ensemble would take root and flourish into the huge success that Volya has become."

- Rick Wacko, Founding Member

The Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble is a registered not-for-profit organization, established in 1989 by a small group of highly-accomplished dancers, many of whom had studied in Ukraine.  Their idea was simple: create a group that would hold itself to the highest standards of technical excellence and professionalism, a group that was small enough to travel on a regular basis, creating new opportunities for dancers to share their love of Ukrainian dance with audiences around the world. Inspired by the concept of freedom, the founders named the fledgling troupe Volya, the Ukrainian word for freedom.

From the beginning, the group has maintained a strong focus on the traditional essence of Ukrainian dance, while contributing to the evolution that has seen the simple beauty of regional Ukrainian folk dances develop into a complex and vibrant performing art.

Since 2000, Volya has been led by Artistic Director Zhenia Bahri, a former professional dancer and director from Ukraine.  Under his leadership, Volya has grown into a vibrant ensemble with more than 50 dedicated members who have captivated and delighted audiences with their dynamic performances around the world.

Over the years, many dancers have entered Volya's studios with the same goal in mind, to dance for the love of dance and to establish an identity for the ensemble that is uniquely Volya. Volya has gained international acclaim along the way and shown time and time again that dancing is indeed a universal language, and that everyone can experience the freedom that is Volya!