The Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Club is excited about celebrating the new year, Jan. 24 at the Lethbridge Senior Citizen’s organization with Malanka.
The event begins at 4:30 with the Troyanda Dancers showing what they can do followed by dinner and a dance to follow featuring popular Calgary Ukrainian band Absolute.
While the official date for the Ukrainian new year is Jan. 13, the Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Club plan their celebration around the availability of the popular band Absolute.
“ They’re booked most weekends. They’re very popular so we usually wait for them to have a date open before we hold Malanka. There are other Malanka celebrations even locally. So we book it two or three weeks later and hopefully miss the competition,” said Patt Williams, one of the organizers who has been a member of the group for the past nine years and who always looks forward to performing in the celebrations.
“ And it gives us more time to practice,” she continued.
“ I had been to a few Malanka celebrations in the early days and my daughter, who was three, wanted to dance with them, so she was the catalyst for joining up,” Williams said.
“And you get red boots, though they’re very tight,” she laughed.
“ I like the challenge. It’s something everyone can do even if they have back and knee pain. And it’s fun,” she said.
“ And I enjoy learning about how the dances relate to the region they come from,” she continued.
The group is in the middle of a busy 20th anniversary celebration which is earmarked by Malanka and capped off with their end of year Vesna celebration on May 2.
Members also perform in schools for Grade 3 Social studies classes who study the Ukrainian culture as part of their curriculum. They also regularly perform in senior’s homes and, because it is their 20th anniversary celebration, they have had a few extra activities including a Ukrainian art series in September at various locations including the Galt Museum, CASA including the art of making perogies and open dance classes at the Galt Museum and CASA respectively.
The art series continues in the new year at locations to be determined including demonstrations of Ukrainian embroidery and costumes, the art of Ukrainian bread making and the art of Ukrainian Egg Writing which will likely take place closer to Easter.
They were also part of the UNITAS inclusion series on Nov. 29 at the Bill Kergan Heritage Centre which included Ukrainian music, art, egg writing, a slide presentation of Troyanda’s history and much more. They will also be performing at the Alberta 55 Seniors Games, Feb. 22.