Ukrainian society offering classes and winter celebration

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

The Slave Lake Ukrainian Cultural Society is trying new things this year. It is offering ‘taster’ Ukrainian dance classes, holding a Zyma celebration, and extending its season into May.

“We thought we would try something different,” says president Nadene Holloway.

In the past, the society held a Malanka (Ukrainian New Year) celebration in January. This year they decided to do something more economical, with the dance performance and sausage and homemade perogy supper, only costing $15.

Zyma means winter in Ukrainian.

The Zyma celebration is on February 29. It starts with a dance performance at 5 p.m., with dinner afterward. It is at St. Francis of Assisi School in Slave Lake.

Tickets are available at Appara Shoes and Random Thoughtz, in Corner Stone across the parking lot from Walmart.

The society has been in Slave Lake for over 20 years. It currently has 12 dancers from six years old to adults.

The youngest group has been together for five years. It has one male dancer who is six and three girls, including the male dancer’s older sister.

Ukrainian dance “usually ends up being a family affair,” says Holloway, with parents and kids all dancing.

Numbers are down this year, so the society is offering six one-off classes for people to try Ukrainian dance in March and April.

The ‘taster’ classes are open to anyone three years and older who is interested in dance. There is no maximum age for dancers.

The goal is to recruit new and enthusiastic dancers for the fall, says Holloway.

No experience is required. There’s no need to have Ukrainian ancestry or know anything about Ukraine.

Classes are open to men and women, girls and boys.

“Men do the fancy footwork,” says Holloway. They also do stunts and feats of strength.

People interested must register beforehand by emailing [email protected]

Classes are $40 a person and run on most Saturday mornings between March 14 and April 25 at Dancin’ Kids Slave Lake Studio.

The Ukrainian dancing season usually goes from September to the end of April, but this year the society is continuing into May. This is to make room for more shows at schools as well as seniors’ housing.

On March 7, the society is competing at a Ukrainian dance festival in Westlock. In May, they are competing at one in St. Albert.

The older Ukrainian boys troupe do stunts at the Slave Lake Ukrainian Cultural Society Frost Fest performance on February 13. New instructor Gaige Babiak looks on.

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