The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed Oksana Vovchuk about one of her many experiences participating in a Ukrainian ball. This was supposed to be the “coming of age” for American Ukrainians, a way to come together all over the US with the rest of society and present yourself in the most beautiful form. Although it wasn’t a traditional aspect of her culture, she enjoyed the company of her friends and the experience that came with it. She spent every Saturday for two months practicing for this event, only to perform two dances, the opening and the waltz, with her friends. Being in the spotlight was an eye opener for her, not only from the thought of stepping on her cascading wedding dress, but the speech she had previously written about herself. She grew from this ceremony, even at a young age, which is a respectful aspect of her culture and lifestyle.

           Looking down at the dimly lit stage, I could feel the excitement building inside of me. Within an hour, all eyes would be focused on me. The mangled trash bag that protects my gown moves each time as I eagerly eat the food before me. Although I had performed at many balls in Ukrainian Centers, this ceremony in particular excited me. The pleasant yet overwhelming idea of a mini wedding enticed my inner princess with dress shopping, hair and make up appointments and finding my prince to accompany me.

           Within minutes, the crowd patiently waiting outside of the Grand Hall began to shuffle in and make their way to the surrounding tables on the outskirts of the floor. The spectators placed on the balcony where I once had the bird’s eye view, were staring with anticipation, flushing my face with nerves and joy. Within seconds, the spotlight was now on me. As I looked into the crowd, the light blinded me hoping to loose my focus before stepping on stage. The presenter’s deep voice began to introduce me, “Oksana Vovchuk, she’s a junior in high school..” As the short introduction of my life poured out before me, I clung on to each word I had written and was now hearing for the first time. I could feel a sense of disappointment creep over me. Why had I written it so generically? With a deep breath, I walked down the stairs, hand in hand with my escort, lunging forward to keep up with his long strides. As we spun in circles, his warm hands lifted me, avoiding the white wedding gown below me that had become longer as we moved around the floor. The thought of ruining this gown, even after the trash bag dinner, hadn’t crossed my mind for a second.

            Although I was the first to perform to the Ukrainian Society, the spotlight left my presence as soon as I bowed, introducing the next girl right away. 

The Coming of Age

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February 6, 2010
Ukrainian Society of Engineers, Debutante Ball

I interviewed Oksana Vovchuk about one of her many experiences participating in a Ukrainian ball. This was supposed to be the “coming of age” for American Ukrainians, a way to come together all over the US with the rest of society and present yourself in the most beautiful form. Although it wasn’t a traditional aspect of her culture, she enjoyed the company of her friends and the experience that came with it. She spent every Saturday for two months practicing for this event, only to perform two dances, the opening and the waltz, with her friends. Being in the spotlight was an eye opener for her, not only from the thought of stepping on her cascading wedding dress, but the speech she had previously written about herself. She grew from this ceremony, even at a young age, which is a respectful aspect of her culture and lifestyle.

Decade: 2010s
Rating:
Recorded by Gabriella deHaan on March 19, 2014
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