Matej’s Spring Break – Welcome Back All

As spring break comes to a close, I wanted to share with everyone how amazing my break was. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures, but I have my stories. I cannot wait to share these stories with all of you in person soon.

I wanted to share a little more about my family and where we come from – as well as my upbringing as a youngster. My interest in learning more of my family and ancestors has grown substantially with the influence of this dance project and Jack Gray’s insight, but also because of the recent events that have been happening in Ukraine. As some of you know already, I consider myself Ukrainian. My father’s side of the family is the Ukrainian side. His family is part of the diaspora, forced to flee their home during World War 2. The country’s history is one of struggle for national identity, as the name even means “borderlands,” and the land has been fought over for centuries.  Through it all, Ukrainians have maintained a sense of identity that has not been extinguished – even through the “Holodomor,” the forced famine created by Stalin that killed millions of Ukrainians. Today, Ukrainians are again fighting for their country, as seen in the news.


In dedication to these current events, a friend and I did a little video for a video contest that was dedicated to those in Ukraine from us ->

It’s somewhat funny how I started dancing as part of that ethnic heritage and that I continue to dance today.

Ukrainian Dancing

Unlike my father’s side of the family, my mother really contrasts with looking at her heritage, as someone who was adopted, and has no access to actual family background.  So, her and then me, in a sense – adopt the English background of her adoptive parents. But, since we have no way of knowing what the background really is, she always feels that she has to go deeper to “find her center” and she has said that, “I have always felt that somehow that place is not a physical place – maybe because I don’t really have one to go back to.”

There is a combination of physical standing place in my Ukrainian heritage and the “deeper” place that is embedded in me and I would like to show you all. Maybe that is the passion that I am often associated with.

I also wanted to drop some pictures of me in the past, my Ukrainian upbringing, and some traditional costumes.


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