Ukrainian dancers continue to keep dancing traditions alive

The Ukrainian Barveenok dancers have been keeping busy with practices in preparation for two virtual dance competitions.

Mikaela Twerdoclib has been the club's instructor for the last three years and the club currently has 15 dancers enrolled in the 2020-2021 season. The dancers met at the Sturgis Multi-Complex building for weekly practices all while following COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

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Each group learned two dances this year that were entered into two virtual competitions. The Tavria, which has been postponed until May 17 and Rodovid Academy of Ukrainian Dance, where adjudication of dances was to start on April 20.

Group 1 consists of: Emily Belesky, Lizzie Ivanochko, Lindy Romanchuk, Maycee Johnson, Brealyn Rakochy and Lily Beatty. They learned and performed a Poltava and a doll themed Transcarpathian dance.

Group 2 consists of: Eva Romanchuk, Shaye Burym, Allie Babiuk and Avery Masley.  Their dances were a Poltava and a Volyn.

Group 3 members are: Graison Belesky, Olivia Ivanochko, and Maggie Ivanochko. They learned a Poltava and a Hutzul.

Group 4 is Kylie and Brynn Babiuk. They danced a Poltava and a Bukovyna for competitions. They were also working on a Transcarpathian dance.

This was the club’s 41st year offering Ukrainian dance in the area.

“We fortunate to compete in Regina competition last March, but we were forced to end the dance season abruptly due to the pandemic with no year-end concert," said Mikaela Twerdoclib, instructor.

"When it came time to think about this year’s dance season, there were several things we had to consider to lower the risk and to ensure that the kids would be able to dance and the club would be able to continue running. The past few years, we had outsourced our choreography. For this dance season, I created the choreography for the club, with the exception of a couple of dances that I reworked from the previous year. We also kept our class sizes small, and the dancers and I wore masks at all times.

“Competition season looked a little different this year. Instead of travelling to the city for a weekend to compete, all of our dances were recorded in one afternoon with a time slot for each group to avoid crowding. Videos have been submitted and we are waiting to hear back from adjudication.” she concluded.

“Once again, due to the pandemic and restrictions in place, we are unable to have our annual Spring Concert,” said Tara Romanchuk, president of the club. "We are working on creating a video of all the dances the girls worked hard to learn this year. Once it is complete, all members of the club will receive a copy of the video. We are also trying to find a way to possibly have the video available for others to see, but I am still working on the logistics of that.

“We were very sad this year, to have Mikaela inform us that this would be her last year instructing for us. We wish her all the best in the future and thank her for all her hard work over the last three years. We have been very lucky to have been the recipients of her knowledge and expertise.”

“We are excited to announce that Eric Sliva will be returning to instruct for our club in the fall. Eric had previously taught in our club and was interested in returning to teach. We are looking forward to the new season in the fall," concluded Romanchuk.