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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shumka Ukrainian Dancers to kick off 50th anniversary celebration in Kelowna

The Toronto Star calls them a National Treasure – Canada’s professional Ukrainian Dance Company celebrates 50 years of dance tradition in a whirlwind of colour, power and grace.

SHUMKA at 50 takes the Kelowna Community Theatre stage on Monday, May 23rd, featuring retrospective and all-new works – including two (2!) Hopaks – highlighting Shumka’s unique style and energy. Performed by Shumka’s 40 talented dancers, SHUMKA at 50 is a breathtakingly powerful production celebrating the artistic evolution of traditional dance in Canada.

Under the direction of John Pichlyk with choreography by Dave Ganert, Harvest Angels is a stunning display of energy and colour featuring four distinct regions of Ukraine. Set against the backdrop of a golden wheat field – the symbol of life that nourishes the body and the spirit – a flowing red ribbon connects the harvest angels of these lands. Despite the geographical contrast between the regions, a profound sense of passion, pride and unity unfolds.

Pathways to Hopak, a contemporary piece about a life worth living, is an emotional journey that guides its travelers through life’s universal cycle. Commissioned by the Canada Dance Festival and premiered at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa in 2004, Pathways to Hopak explores the twists and turns of life that lead us to moments of celebration. Culminating with Shumka’s Classic Hopak by John Pichlyk, Pathways to Hopak was conceived and directed by Gordon Gordey and choreographed by Kyiv Ballet’s Viktor Lytvynov.

Through comedy and dance, A Cobbler’s Promise tells the story of an aspiring young boot maker who finds himself in a heap of trouble when he unwittingly makes a promise he is not able to keep. Putting their best feet forward, the young boot maker, his fellow cobblers and happy customers, round out their day in a romantic, kick-up-your-heels celebration. A Cobbler’s Promise was concieved by John Pichlyk, directed by Dave Ganert, and features choreography by Dave Ganert, John Pichlyk, Tasha Orysiuk, Viktor Lytvynov and Gordon Gordey.

A dance and multi-media delight for the senses, The Eve of Kupalo – Mystery Masque combines beguiling movement, mesmerizing stagecraft, and bewitching film art, delving into the mystery of summer solstice rituals that have endured for centuries in Ukraine and throughout European culture. Conceived and directed by Gordon Gordey and choreographed by Dave Ganert, The Eve of Kupalo is a flirtation with magic and mysticism rife with the symbolism and pageantry of Ukrainian folklore.

Ukrainian dance companies the world over are defined by their Hopak and Shumka’s 50th Anniversary was the ideal occasion to introduce a new artistic milestone to the company’s extraordinary journey. In a statement of pride and love, Ukrainian culture and community, the 50th Anniversary Hopak is a breathtakingly powerful new piece representing the choreographic evolution of a traditional dance. Choreographed by Dave Ganert, this Hopak is a fresh expression of the virtuosity in Ukrainian dance, intertwining contemporary lyricism with traditional steps.

All works presented in SHUMKA at 50 feature stunning sets and costumes by Maria Levitska of Ukraine’s National Ballet and Opera; music composition, arrangement and orchestration by Yuri Shevchenko and Andriy Shoost of Kyiv, Ukraine; and music recorded in Ukraine by the 60-piece Kyiv City Opera Orchestra.

SHUMKA at 50 runs for one night only, on Monday, May 23rd at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Tune in to Nash Holos this Sunday to win a pair of tickets to see this fabulous Shumka performance.

However to secure your seat, make sure to purchase them in advance.

Tickets, ranging from $28 to $50.40 (plus service fees), are available at Select Your Tickets call 250.762.5050 or

Visit their website for more information on Shumka.

In the meantime, here's a sneak preview:

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