Updated: Mar 24, 2021
You don’t usually hear from me, the little engine behind Postmark Ukraine, which is strange in some ways, having lived a life on stage in the company of thousands. It was simpler there – the costumes and the make-up, the bobby pins and the props ensured a well-rehearsed scene. This is, of course, what we want you to see, after all. It’s what we work hours for; it’s what you pay good money for at the box office.
What you don’t see is the sacrifice and often pain, tears at the imperfection of movements, arguments over things as “silly” as not being in line. The director calls the shots, and if, as a dancer, you want to be involved, you damn well better listen.
This life behind the curtain is very different to that which is presented on stage. While regularly difficult, it’s also, in some ways, more interesting. If a scene under the spotlight creates the magic, turn the spotlight off and you find out the mechanics behind the trick. And there are a few.
If we haven’t met before, let me introduce myself: my name is Lana Nicole Niland and I am the founder and owner of Postmark Ukraine. I am not Ukrainian, though Ukraine has been my home for more than 17 years. Here, I have been learning, building, and creating a life much more насичений (saturated: a word in Ukrainian that fulfills this sentiment better than the English. Which happens often – one word in one language, impossible to replicate in another) than I ever thought possible.
Not all of my plans have worked as I had once dreamed them. This, however, is not unlike the creation of a new dance: not all visions in the subconscious are possible on the physical plane. And so, with space, time, and opportunity, you create something different, bigger maybe, with better tricks of magic with which to entice and entertain from the stage.
I have remained behind the scenes of this little business, and not only, for a long while. Fear of the unknown does that. And while I cannot say that I am no longer fearful, as Franklin D Roosevelt has been quoted: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
And so… If you are up for a journey, one of insight and inspiration, sweat and stumbling blocks, joy and joining together, then join me as we travel across Ukraine, from the Steppes through to Volyn, to laugh with the Lemkos and hoot with the Hutsuls, to zabava in Zaporizhia and party in Poltava. And in the interim, I’ll tell you tales of what an amazing life this has been – so far.