The purpose of this Website is to reinforce the historical past events of many devoted dancers and supporters of the Ukrainian Culture. Acknowledgment and thanks to the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Los Angeles and St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Church in supporting the Arts. The dance troop was a key factor and inspiration, the music, song, and dance was the blunt instrument in bringing attention to this wonderful culture being robbed and
misinterpreted by many Russian Communist claiming Ukrainian song, dance and Art to the World as theirs.
Mrs. Nancy Mantero and her son Gaston Michael Mantero,Soloist Nancy Gisell Mantero maintained traditional cultural dance steps from Master Vasyl Avramenko, historically saved by Michael Hyra-1965-1969.
During 1970-1986, Mrs. Nancy and son Michael choreographed imaginative dances Calibrate and Exsecuted By Sister Soloist Nancy Gisell Mantero The TRIDENT WAS FORGED and recreated new costumes by bringing freshness to a dying culture.
Producer Hurok promoted a Russian Director Pavell Virsky to the USA bringing a new level of light…the torch was lit, thus the flames brought much attention to our cause ... the” Freedom for Ukraine”.
Nancy Prokopiy was a member of a prominent, artistic Ukrainian family. Her father, Mihailo, owned and operated a theater and library in the Ukraine. At an early age, she was involved in many cultural activities.
The Prokopiy family emigrated to Argentina following World War I and there Nancy completed her education, became a member of an acting theater, married, and had two children, Gaston (Mike) and Nancy.
The Ukrainian cultural spirit was ingrained within the family -- Mike and his sister, the younger Nancy, particularly excelled in dance and performed in many shows. Nancy organized and directed an Argentinian-Ukrainian dance group that appeared on the Argentine television and this group received the top prize in competition with Ukrainian groups from all over Argentina.
A plaintive melody floats across the mountain air. A peasant girl runs from here to there chasing the wind, thus “Honie Viter” is performed, a Sheppard lad, admires her a “Kolomayka” is brewed. The clash of steel fills the air as valiant “Cossack”s preparing for battle, testing their skills by dancing the “Zaporosky Hert's” .
The villagers eager to receive their men, the ladies welcome them with a “Kozachok Solo”. A peacetime mood prevails…men wishing to impress the women displaying competitive Gymnastic feat of strength and agility. The women expressed their femininity, grace and charm wearing brilliant colors of velvet pattern skirts and silk ribbons enriching the landscape, together ending the night with a competitive “Hopack” a show stopping dance.
Wishing to join relatives who had settled in California, Nancy Prokopiy and the children immigrated to Los Angeles in 1965. Vasyl Avramenko, a noted Ukrainian international folk dance instructor, taught Nancy additional dance material. Mike appeared with the Pacific Ballet and Burchman dancers, younger Doughter Nancy Gisell.Mantero Soloist of the groop sang with Karen Carpenter-American singer in “Robert Young with the Young” and performed with Arte Johnson-American actor. Younger Nancy appeared on other television shows and joined the “A.N.T.A.” with Director Francis Lederer and Dorothy Barrett. So, hoping to involve Los Angeles' Ukrainian children in their ethnic heritage, they decided to form a Ukrainian dance group in Los Angeles, CA.
The group began with seven people, increased to fifteen, and within a few months, classes evolved to fifty dancers. The Ukrainian community recognized the group which then became known as the Ukrainian Spirit Dance Company. On a 1974 as Californian Ambassadors went to a Canadian tour that ended at the big festival in Dauphin, Manitoba, one member received the top award in competition with other Ukrainian dancers from Canada and the United States, and the whole company received a standing ovation before 63,000 spectators.
After this successful tour, Director Nancy Prokopiy Soloist Nancy Gisell Mantero decided to continue the group on professional basis. The company decreased in size as ten of the members branched out, a new group evolved “Tuman Kosacks” Directed by Gaston Mike Mantero. The group U.S.D. Company danced at the Hollywood Bowl, the Wilshire Ebell, UCLA, USC, and the Music Center, where they were also highly acclaimed. Dancing at the Press Club to the music of Yordan Trenov, they were the first performing group to receive a standing ovation with a write-up in "Variety."
The company consisted of two members of the original group, Associate Director Mike Mantero and Marushka Dach; Rade Gabralović and Ljubica Kikanović, who were formerly soloists with Yugoslavia's "Frula" company; six who were also members of the Gandy Dancers; and several others. The group prepared new material choreographed for and inspired by Ukrainian melodies played by Efrim Gorin, an accordionist who had arrived from the Ukraine.
International material was included in the repertoire, including that of Rade and Ljubica. Performances included about 60 percent Ukrainian and 40 percent international dances. The Ukrainian Spirit Dance Company was engaged for appearances at the Phoenix Country Club, the Wilshire Country Club, Barnseall Gallery, Channel 2 Noon shows, the Wilshire Ebell, and the Music Center.An August 1976 Canadian tour culminated in an exhibition at the Ukrainian International festivals in Dauphin, Winnipeg, and Edmonton, Canada.
Mike Mazurky famous star in Hollywood Jack Pallance,television Movie a Good supporter of Cultural arts a Friend And Promoted The Ukrainian Spirit to the industry for events and Dance presentation to many of his Colleagues His support and Ukrainian Pride still lives on with Ukrainian Spirit Dance Co.