The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause: Folk Dance, Film, and the Life of Vasile Avramenko

The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause: Folk Dance, Film, and the Life of Vasile Avramenko

by Orest T. Martynowych


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A quixotic figure, Vasile Avramenko (1895-1981) used folk culture and modern media in a life-long crusade to promote Ukraine’s struggle for independence to North American audiences. From his base in New York City, he built a network of folk dance schools and produced musical spectacles to help Ukrainian immigrants sustain their identity. His feature-length Ukrainian language films made in the 1930s with Hollywood director Edgar G. Ulmer, the “king of ethnic and B movies,” were shown throughout North America. Orest T. Martynowych’s The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause is a fascinating portrait how culture can become a political tool in a diaspora community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887557682
Publisher: University of Manitoba Press
Publication date: 10/12/2014
Series: Studies in Immigration and Culture Series , #11
Edition description: 1
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Orest T. Martynowych is a historian at the Centre for Ukrainian-Canadian Studies, University of Manitoba. He is the author of Ukrainians in Canada: The Formative Years, 1891-1924.

Table of Contents

List of Photographs viii

Prologue: World Premier at the Orpheum 1

Chapter 1 The Man and His Mission 5

Chapter 2 Dance Master 23

Chapter 3 Motion Picture Producer 71

Chapter 4 Fugitive 122

Epilogue: The Legacy Tour 146

Acknowledgments 156

Abbreviations 159

Notes 161

Bibliography 195

Index 204

What People are Saying About This

Marcia Ostashewski

“Martynowych succeeds beautifully at telling a life story that is captivating to read and powerfully convincing. Avramenko was a pioneer of monumental importance, yet his story does not fit the archetype of the Ukrainian immigrant. It is an edifying text for anyone interested in studies of folk dance and cultural production, and indispensable for those in Ukrainian studies.”

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