'Just For Fun,' Lively Song And Dance In Kiev Metro Station In a charming tradition, hundreds gather regularly to sing folk songs in an underground station in the Ukrainian capital. It's an older crowd — some shuffle, some move at a stately pace, and some are as lively as the day they learned those steps.
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'Just For Fun,' Lively Song And Dance In Kiev Metro Station

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'Just For Fun,' Lively Song And Dance In Kiev Metro Station

'Just For Fun,' Lively Song And Dance In Kiev Metro Station

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

From time to time in their travels, NPR reporters come upon stories that unfold spontaneously. NPR's Corey Flintoff is traveling in Ukraine, and he came across one of those stories in a subway station in Kiev. He sent us this audio postcard. Take a listen.

COREY FLINTOFF, BYLINE: It's a chilly Saturday evening in central Kiev. People hurry past to clubs and restaurants. Young women clatter up the steps from the Teatralna Metro Station, oblivious to the music that wafts up behind them:

CHORUS: (Singing in foreign language)

FLINTOFF: The Metro station is down one level from the street, where the steps lead into a big open space. It's about as appealing as a parking garage; low-ceilinged and lit with fluorescent lights. There's a fast-food potato stand in the middle of the space, and near it, some two-dozen people sing folk songs that reverberate off the concrete around them. There's probably not a face in this crowd under 60 - women and men in padded overcoats, swaying in time with songs that were old when they were young.

CHORUS: (Singing in foreign language)

FLINTOFF: You may have noticed that in the background of those full-throated songs, there's a second, lively little number that can barely be heard. Come around the corner of the potato shack, and there they are, a hundred couples dancing to an accordion and a drum.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLINTOFF: They form a big circle, dancing intricate folk steps. Again, almost all the dancers are pensioners. Some shuffle, some move at a stately pace, and some are as lively as the day they learned those steps. Yaroslav, a businessman in his 30's, stops for a moment with his date to watch.

YAROSLAV: So for many years, people, mostly old-age people, come here and dance, you know, just for fun, to spend some time together.

FLINTOFF: He points out that there are people who will gladly pull you into the circle if you want to learn to dance.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FLINTOFF: This gathering has been a tradition for more than 20 years, but it runs on a shoestring. The musicians collect their tips in a paper bag. Around the corner, there's no charge to stand and sing.

CHORUS: (Singing in foreign language)

FLINTOFF: So, if you're ever in Kiev, on a Saturday evening, and you're looking for a good time, stop by the Teatralna Metro Station, on the Red Line. Corey Flintoff, NPR News.

CHORUS: (Singing in foreign language)

MARTIN: And you're listening to NPR News.

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