CHICAGO – The American Ukrainian Youth Association’s Mykola Pavlushkov Branch in Chicago hosted its annual New Year’s Ball, or Malanka, on Saturday, January 13, at the Drury Lane Theater and Conference Center.
Guests arrived at 6 p.m. for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the foyer of the Grand Ballroom. Friends and family gathered to celebrate the New Year and greeted each other throughout the hour. Vasyl Ilchyshyn, youth director of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch and the master of ceremonies for the evening, opened by welcoming and greeting more than 350 guests, as well as encouraging everyone to actively participate in the community to continue the hard work of their parents and grandparents.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of 10 lovely debutantes from both the Chicago and Palatine branches of the youth association. The presentation was choreographed and led by Adriana Karawan and Kateryna Dyakiv. Each debutante was introduced, received a traditional sash and was congratulated by Pavlo Bandriwsky, president of the Mykola Pavlushkov Branch in Chicago; Myron Wasiunec, president of the Dmytro Vitovsky Branch in Palatine; Chrystya Pochtar-Eckheart, youth director of the Palatine branch, and Adriana Popowycz, youth counselor of the Chicago branch. The debutantes’ individual presentations ended with each of them greeting the guests with a deep and graceful bow as her parents looked on with pride.
Ms. Karawan continued with the presentation, calling upon the fathers to lead their daughters in a waltz, which ended with a sweet, loving kiss from the fathers. A whimsical addition to this year’s presentation included little “Sumeniata” Yuriy Gorshko and Isabella Kuropas circling the dance floor and offering a long-stemmed red rose to each debutante. The debutantes then presented their roses to their mothers as 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. Bandriwsky greeted all in attendance 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 Nadia Dlaboha from the Ukrainian American Youth Association’s National Executive, extended a greeting to the guests. Before dinner, the Very Rev. Oleh Kryvokulsky, pastor of Ss. Volodymyr and Olha Church, led everyone in prayer.
After dinner, guests enjoyed the rest of the evening by dancing to the sounds of Accord, a Chicago-based band. With the approach of midnight, party favors were passed around as friends and acquaintances embraced each other, welcoming the New Year. Before the evening ended, the guests participated in the traditional “Kolomyika.”
Thanks and recognition were given to all who helped make the lovely evening possible, particularly the Malanka committee: Anna-Maria Bagan, Kristin Chylak, Ms. Dyakiv, Milia Glubisz, Ms. Karawan, Nastia Lototska and Olena Vasilik.