Celebrating 30 years of Ukrainian dancing
Wednesday, May 07, 2014 06:00 am
For 45 glorious years Cheremosh has kicked its heels in the air. However, this year is the 30th anniversary of the Cheremosh Dance Festival and organizers are planning a series of firsts.
The biggest change is the addition of an outdoor market on St. Albert Place plaza as the festival returns to its traditional venue at the Arden Theatre.
“In the past we’ve had a kube stand. But we wanted to do something to attract the public. There’s all this energy going on inside and no one sees it if they’re walking outside,” says festival chair Zorya Belanger.
For the duration of the festival, running May 8 to 11, the market will open at about 10:30 a.m. and will run until the supper hour. Eight vendors selling a variety of goods, food, clothing, and dolls will be stationed in the plaza.
“We wanted to create an experience for our dancers and for the community, and an opportunity to celebrate Ukrainian heritage. The market is an opportunity to take home something more than a medal,” says market organizer Rhiannon Howell-Matwichuk.
And in view of the conflict occurring in the Ukraine, this festival will offer the community at large an opportunity to celebrate the country’s history, heritage and culture in togetherness.
“We want to attract more people to the festival and give them a taste of Ukraine today.”
This year 460 dancers from 37 different dance schools across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will compete. Dancers from St. Albert’s Ukrainian Dance Academy and DanceCo are also slated to participate.
As another first, Cheremosh is introducing video adjudication. It is a video of the performance with adjudicators' comments. In past years, comments were written on competition sheets and handed to participants.
Although this will present an added cost to families, Belanger believes it falls in line with the festival’s goals of encouraging and promoting higher artistic standards.
“It has a huge benefit. They can watch their performance and see where they excel and what they need to learn. It’s a fantastic learning tool,” Belanger says.
Cheremosh is distributing 2,500 medals and $3,000 in scholarships spread out in $50 and $100 increments.
The Sunday Showcase of Stars combines the cream of the competitor crop with the company’s professional Cheremosh dancers.
As Howell-Matwichuk says, “You should come for a day filled with culture. You can see the kinds of dance we do and browse through the market and take something home. It’s a well-rounded experience.”