St. Albert enjoys promoting its French and Métis heritage. But it often forgets Ukrainians have also created a strong presence in the city.
For the past 30 years, the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company has hosted a major May festival at the Arden Theatre that gives thousands of dancers the opportunity to perform.
Come September, the Cheremosh School of Dance is solidifying its presence in the city by opening a satellite studio that caters to dancers from four to 11 years.
“We already have a presence in the city and from a marketing perspective, and this is an excellent opportunity to extend our brand. There are not a lot of schools in the area offering Ukrainian dance,” said Graham Currie, president.
Cheremosh is renting studio space from Scoil Rince Mahoney Irish Dance School in Riel Park.
“We’re hoping to expose both our dancers to a different dance style and gain an appreciation of a different culture.”
Artistic director and ballet master Mykola Kanavets emphasizes an academic style through a recreational stream of dance.
Classes will run September to May on Saturday mornings going in age progression from youngest to oldest. Spaces are still available.
“We did a mail-out to the entire postal code. We had a strong response and received lots of phone calls throughout the summer.”
Cheremosh decided to launch a satellite studio in St. Albert partially due to the success it received after opening a venue in Edmonton’s Riverbend Studio last year.
“We added 40 new students,” Currie noted.
Currie encourages people from different cultures to join.
“If we keep it insular to our community, it will die out. So we’re encouraging people from other cultures to embrace it.”
Costs vary from $450 to $500 per season. The company supplies all festival costumes.
“We have one of the largest collections of Ukrainian costumes around. Fortunately, we have the backing of a large society that has operated for a long time.”
An open house will be held at the Cheremosh Beverly Studio on Thursday, Sept. 3 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The studio is located at 4005 115 Ave.
“As a recreational activity, it’s an excellent way for kids to stay active and stay in shape. We also encourage dancers to participate in other styles of dance and develop an appreciation for other cultures.”