CHICAGO – The American Ukrainian Youth Association Mykola Pavlushkov Branch in Chicago hosted its annual New Year’s Ball, or “Malanka,” on January 16 at Drury Lane in Oak Brook, Ill.
Guests arrived at 6 p.m. for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the foyer of the Chicago Ballroom. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the New Year and greeted each other throughout the hour. Vasyl Ilchyshyn, master of ceremonies, opened the evening by welcoming and greeting the 650 plus guests present.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of 17 lovely debutantes from both the Chicago and Palatine branches of the youth association. The presentation was choreographed and lead by Adriana Karawan, who also serves as co-choreographer for the Iskra Dance Ensemble of the Dmytro Vitovskyj branch. Each debutante was introduced, receiving a traditional sash and congratulated by Taras Drozd, president of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch.
Chrystia Eckheart of the Dmytro Vitovskyj Branch and Adriana Popowycz of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch, both long-time counselors for the majority of the debutantes, also participated in the presentation. The debutantes’ individual presentations ended with each of them greeting the guests with a deep and graceful bow as their parents looked on with pride.
Ms. Karawan continued the presentation by calling upon the fathers to lead their daughters in a waltz, which was beautifully choreographed and ended with a sweet, loving kiss from the fathers. The mothers were then each presented with a long-stemmed rose as a thank-you for all their love and support.
The spotlight then turned to the debutantes and their escorts. They entertained the guests with a wonderfully choreographed traditional waltz full of elaborate formations, turns, dips and bows. Their elegance, poise and beauty were appreciated with extended applause from their family, friends and guests.
Mr. Drozd greeted all of the guests and their families with warmest wishes for the coming New Year. Congratulating the debutantes, he wished them success as they embark on their path into adulthood. Special guest Alexandra Harhaj, first vice-president of the national executive board of the Ukrainian American Youth Association, extended a greeting to the guests and debutantes.
After dinner, guests enjoyed the rest of the evening by dancing to the sounds of Rendezvous, a Chicago-based band. As midnight approached, New Year’s party favors were passed around, and friends and acquaintances embraced each other, welcoming the New Year. Before the evening ended, the guests participated in the traditional “Kolomyika.”
Sincerest thanks and recognition were given to all those who helped make this lovely evening possible, particularly the Malanka committee: Chairperson Kristin Chylak and members Nadya Dudycz DiBartolo, Kateryna Dyakiv, Kristina Hartigan, Ms. Karawan, Christina Ofisher, Olena Vasilik, Natalia Vidmar and Deanna Wruskyj.
The American Ukrainian Youth Association, as the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch is officially registered (though nationally the organization is known as the Ukrainian American Youth Association), thanked its members for their commitment and hard work throughout the year. A special thank-you went to parents for their cooperation and for bringing their children to weekly meetings and activities; to benefactors for their enthusiastic support and belief in the organization; and to spiritual fathers for their continued prayers and guidance.
The 2016 American Ukrainian Youth Association debutantes were: Anastasiya Bakun, Maria Bandriwsky, Christina Bozio, Ivana Chychula, Olena Chychula, Solomiya Furdas, Kalyna Haliw, Juliana Kurywczak, Olha Lototska, Julia Minkevitch, Deanna Olexyn, Natalie Sendun, Anastasiya Slyvka, Julia Sosnivka, Christina Wyshnytzky, Anastasiya Pentya and Nadiya Svyatylo.
All are invited to next year’s Malanka and presentation of debutantes on January 14, 2017.