The Veselka dance studio is a flurry of colours, floral headwear and impressive leg movements as a senior class glides and prances around the room, telling a story of fun and flirtation through an Eastern Ukrainian dance.
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The award-winning dancers, most in their late teens and early 20s, are practising for the Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association’s Year-End Showcase next Sunday – their chance to show the local community just how fun, upbeat and magnetic Ukrainian dancing really is.
“Ukrainian dance is known for being fast, it’s also known for the colourful costumes,” said artistic director Lisa Hall. “It’s exciting to sit in the audience and watch a two-hour show. It’s non-stop, it’s go, go, go.”
The senior class will perform dances from at least 10 different Ukrainian regions, mostly from the north and west of the country.
|Senior dancers from Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association will perform dances from over 10 different Ukrainian regions at the Year End Showcase June 9. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Lisa Edmondson has been dancing with Veselka for 19 years. At only 22, she says the Ukrainian dance studio is about community and culture.
“I really like that there’s a deep history with it and that it’s been transformed to the stage,” she said. “There’s something about the mix of the technique and performance quality and the history … You can tell a story or it can be about just sheer artistic ability or physical ability and it can be a really great mix of all of those.”
The younger dancers will put on a show too. Performers as young as four-years-old will show off their talents with the others. In total, an ensemble of 30 dancers will bring a flourish of talent, technique and passion to the McPherson stage.
The only studio of its kind in the city, Veselka has been training Victoria dancers in the energetic, fast-paced Ukrainian style for 48 years. Hill said it’s been an important part of creating a community connection.
“It really connects us to the rest of Victoria and shows our culture,” she said. “[People] should come and enjoy another culture and learn something new.”
The showcase runs June 9 at 2 p.m. at the McPherson Playhouse. Regular tickets are $25 with a special student and senior rate of $18.