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Celebrate spring with Troyanda Ukrainian Dancers

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The Troyanda Ukrainian Dance club invite Lethbridge to celebrate Spring with them, April 28 at the Yates Theatre with a matinee performance for Vesna.The Troyanda Dancers celebrate Vesna, April 28. Photo Submitted
“ It’s our annual celebration of Spring, but this year, we’re trying a matinee at 2 p.m.,” enthused Nicole Stewart, who has been dancing with the group for the past nine years and who has been head of the costume committee for the past three.

The group has three big  annual performances— the Malanka New Year’s celebration, Vesna and their curriculum performance for people studying Ukrainian culture in social studies.

 While the cultural shows, scheduled for April 30 are sold out, there are still tickets left for Vesna, April 28.

“We’re very lucky. We get a lot of community support,” she said.

She noted the group is also lucky to have talented instructors  Dean Mackedenski who is in charge of the adult ensemble and  Anastasia Sereda who leads the children’s programs.

“It’s a full night of dance,” she said.
“It is very energetic. There will be a great variety of dances. It combines the gracefulness of ballet with the athleticism of gymnastics,” she described.
“It’s a great way to get in shape without having to get a gym membership,” she said.
 She got involved with Troyanda because of her little sister.

“She didn’t want to go alone, so I went with her to be a nice sister and after one class I was hooked,” she said.
We like to say we have dancers from age three to timeless. You don’t need any experience to join,” she enthused emphasizing how much energy there is in a performance.
There are also more male dancers  with six performing this year.

“It is hard to get boys to join because they don’t think it is cool, she said.
“We share that heritage and interest,” she said adding you don’t have to be of Ukrainian descent to join.

 In addition to their annual show, they are also available for community events. Last year they performed with Global Drums and with Calgary Ukrainian dance ensemble Tryzub. This year they have been invited to perform at the Calgary Ukrainian Festival.

Stewart is especially excited about the costumes, which were co-designed with designers in the Ukraine.
“They are divided into regions like provinces and they each have their own style of dances and costumes,” she said.
 The group, which includes 40 dancers from ‘little three year olds” to adult classes, has been around  since 1994. In that time, they have established many contacts overseas.

“ They send us sketches online and we work together to design what we want. Then we measure the kids and they send the costumes back to us,” she explained adding they are getting more costumes from the Ukraine this year. They design the rest of them themselves.

“They just came in the mail last week. There are lots of bright colours. They are absolutely beautiful,” she enthused.
 Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and teachers. The Vesna celebration begins at 2 p.m, April 28 at the Yates Theatre

 A version of this article appears in the April 25, 2012 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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