Performing Arts - auucnational

Go to content

Main menu:

Performing Arts

Poltava Children Dancers, Regina

Regina POLTAVA Ensemble of Songs, Music and Dance
Vancouver BARVINOK Choir, Orchestra and Dance School
Vancouver DOVBUSH Dancers
Calgary HOPAK Choir, Orchestra and Dancers Ensemble
Edmonton TREMBITA Ensemble
Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra
AUUC Winnipeg School of Folk Dance

Welland Ukrainian Mandolin Orchestra of the AUUC
Regina POLTAVA Ensemble of Songs, Music and Dance
The roots of the Poltava Ensemble run deep, commencing in 1922 when the Ukrainian Labour Temple Association of Regina created a children's string orchestra. From these early beginnings the growth and development of the Ensemble and its School of Ukrainian Performing Arts have been nourished by regular cultural-educational exchanges with Ukraine as of the 1960's.
The Poltava Ensemble Orchestra is one of the largest and most successful folk orchestras within the Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan, which eliminated the use of taped music for dancers and vocal soloists. In 1975 the Poltava Ensemble, in association with the Saskatchewan School of the Arts, sponsored the first Ukrainian National Dance Seminar in North America with leading artists and choreographers from Ukraine.
The Ensemble has appeared at Expo 67, the Vernon Winter Festival, Festival Ottawa, New Brunswick's Festival By the Sea, Quebec's Drummondville World Folklore Festival and represented Canada on behalf of Folklore Canada International with 12 performances at Walt Disney World (Florida).
On behalf of the latter the Ensemble has been asked to represent Canada in Macau, Mexico, Taiwan, Peru and the United States. The Ensemble has toured Saskatchewan since 1980 for the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils under their programme Stars for Saskatchewan, as well as appearing on the stages of Ukraine on four separate tours since 1981.
The Poltava Ensemble has appeared on the CBC, CTV and Radio Canada National Television Networks, as well as the State National Television Network of Ukraine. On its last tour of Ukraine (2002), a documentary on the Ensemble was produced by the Poltava State Television Network of Ukraine. In 1994, the orchestra released its first CD, which was subsequently aired on the National CBC Radio Network.
The repertoire of the Ensemble is unique, in that it reflects not only the very best of the Ukrainian culture, but also that of other nationalities that populate and border with Ukraine. The result is a multicultural extravaganza that celebrates the beauty of the human spirit.
The Poltava School of Ukrainian Performing Arts reflects the heritage of the Ensemble and is the birthplace for its future endeavours.

Vancouver BARVINOK Choir
Choirs have been an integral part of the life and work of the organization since the establishment of the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Vancouver over 75 years ago. During this time such noted directors as Demjan Wykrystow, Mike Malanchuk, John Chitrenky, Bill Philipovich, Bill Chomyn, Karl Kobylansky, Walter Yakimchuk, John Niechoda, Libby Griffin and Vanya Soychuke have played an important part in the enhancement of Ukrainian choral music in the Vancouver AUUC. Since 2001, Vancouver musician, Beverly Dobrinsky has conducted the Barvinok Choir, which currently has a membership of 25 singers who perform regularly in their own hall, as well as in the community at large. As the Barvinok Choir reaches out to the Vancouver choral community at large, it acts as an ambassador of Ukrainian cultural traditions, particularly Ukrainian choral music, as well as continuing to preserve and celebrate these traditions within its own community, following in the footsteps established by groups like the Milestones, the Whiskey Jacks, the Lyonok Trio, the Senior’s Choir, and the AUUC Jubilee Choir within the Vancouver AUUC.

The Choir meets Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 9 pm September to May and welcomes new members. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Beverly Dobrinsky at (604) 254-3436 or send an email using our Contact Us page on this website

Vancouver String Orchestra
The Vancouver string orchestra was organized under the direction of W. Nazarkewich and first appeared as an instrumental group in 1923. This orchestra has continued to be an integral part of the Association's cultural work, presenting its own concerts as well as providing accompaniment for the choirs and dance groups. In addition to local performances, it has appeared in various centres in the province as well as in Seattle, Washington. In 1967 the group travelled to Montreal staging concerts at Canada's centennial celebrations. Its instrumentation primarily includes fretted, plucked instruments (domra, mandolin, guitar, mando cello) as well as violin, viola, cello and double bass. A selection of wind instruments and percussion completes the makeup of the orchestra. While true to its Slavic roots, the orchestra plays a wide variety of music ranging from Baroque and Classical to contemporary Canadian and Ukrainian works including pieces written especially for the Vancouver Folk Orchestra. The orchestra is currently under the direction of Vasyi Pistruga, recently from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Tthe Vancouver String Orchestra plays regularly with the AUUC School of Dancing and Dovbush. The Orchestra meets regularly at the Ukrainian Hall and welcomes new members. If you would like to join or require more information, please contact the office at (604) 254-3436 or send an email using our Contact Us page on this website

Vancouver AUUC School of Dance
The AUUC School of Dance (started in 1924) is a non-profit group tied to the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and benefitting from that organization’s links across the country and its deep history in Canada as a cultural and social backbone of the Ukrainian community. The School of Dancing today is very active in the Lower Mainland, performing at events such as the B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival, Le festival du printemps in North Vancouver, and many more. The diversity of the events reflects the dynamic and modern multicultural experience in Vancouver. This diversity is also reflected in our students, who come from many backgrounds and from across the city. Our central location makes it attractive to families from the West side to the eastern suburbs, from the North Shore to Richmond.

The School is run by Dianna Kleparchuk who has been its Administrative Director for many years and Debbie Karras, the Artistic Director. Dianna has been involved in almost all aspects of the AUUC: choir, dance, orchestra, and is currently the President of the AUUC. Debbie danced with the AUUC School of Dancing before going on to study in Kyiv. Caitlynn Schell is the director of Dovbush, the senior dance group, which enjoyed much success at the National Ukrainian Centennial Celebration as well as at many community events. Gina Alpen leads the preschool programme which is a playful yet comprehensive introduction to dance, music and performing. Instructors Karli Dionne and Danya Karras are alumni of the AUUC School of Dancing. The junior instructors participate in the AUUC National Dance Camp in Alberta which enhances their technique, broadens their knowledge of the form, and gives them the confidence and authority to guide the young dancers through their lessons.

The instructors teach classical ballet as well as character ballet – the foundation of folk dancing – and new choreography is taught throughout the year as dancers perform at Christmas and Spring concerts. A full complement of traditional dances is taught and dancers will learn to distinguish between the regional dances of Ukraine as well as have fun with many character dances that incorporate role-playing and storylines. Special choreography for events such as the competition at the BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival also enhances the dancers’ repertoire and performance experience.

The school accepts dancers between the ages of 3 and 16 years. Classes run Saturday mornings as follows: 3 to 10 year olds from 9:30 am to 10:30 am and 11 years & older from 10:45 am to 12:00. New students are welcome year round at the discretion of the instructors. Regular sessions run September through December and January through May. If your child would like to join or you require more information, please contact Debbie Karras at (604) 254-3436 or send an email using our Contact Us page on this website

Vancouver DOVBUSH Dancers
Ukrainian Cultural Centre Association of United Ukrainian Canadians 805 E. Pender Street Vancouver, BC V6A 1V9 Tel: (604) 254-3436;

The Dovbush Dancers are the senior dance group in the Vancouver AUUC. Most of the young people began their "dancing careers" as pre-schoolers in Vancouver's AUUC School of Ukrainian Folk Dance and progressed through the years, looking forward to their performing in the Dovbush. This group of young people are third and fourth generation Canadians who have maintained a close tie with their Ukrainian heritage.

The group, in existence for some forty years, proudly took its name in honour of the legendary Ukrainian folk hero, Oleksa Dovbush. The free, lively, fun-loving spirit of this Ukrainian "Robin Hood" seemed a fitting name for a group of energetic dancers. The present group has been together for only two years and is small in number and young but makes up for this in its dedication and enthusiasm. Many of these dancers are also teachers in the Dance School.

The dancers practice regularly twice a week. In addition to this training, a few of the dancers have attended seminars given by Ukrainian teachers and choreographers both in Canada and in Ukraine. In their extensive repertoire, Dovbush features dances of the various regions of the Ukraine as well as dances of other countries such as Moldova, Russia and Canada. The dancers are encouraged to actively participate and contribute their ideas in the classes. In fact, this year one of our dancers, Gina Bjarnason, has choreographed a new Metelitsya to a piece of music by Katcheturian, which was premiered at Vancouver AUUC Malanka on January 22, 2005. The Director of the group is Joan Kowalewich; the Assistant Director is Caitlynn Schell.

If you're intrested, either drop by 805 E. Pender St. on a Monday night (7:00-9:30) or just give us a call at 604-294-1563.

AUUC Calgary HOPAK Choir, Orchestra and Dancers Ensemble
Ukrainian Cultural Centre, 3316-28th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T3E 0R8, phone: (403) 246-1231, email: calauuc@telus.neti

AUUC Trembita Ensemble
Ukrainian Centre, 11018 - 97 Street, Edmonton, AB T5H 2M9, Phone (780) 424-2037, Fax: (780) 424-2013, email:

The name Trembita was chosen for this ensemble because a Trembita is a traditional alpine horn used in the Carpathian Mountains. It was used to herald people from all over the region for special occasions, such as the celebration of spring, weddings, festivals and bountiful harvests. The art of combining song, music and dance has become an integral aspect of the Trembita Ensemble and is our trademark.

The Trembita Folk Dancers, once called the Kamenyar - Lileya Folk Dancers, continue to show the excellence they have developed in interpreting their heritage of Ukrainian Folk Dance. Their repertoire includes various regional dances, with proud attention being spent on details in costumes, props and choreography. Many of the Trembita Folk Dancers are graduates of the AUUC School of Folk Dancing and Music. Others joined who only have the desire to dance. Perfecting their technique and characterizations results in the unique achievements of this group

The Trembita Folk Choir is the current culmination of a fabulous choral history in Edmonton's AUUC. The year 1929 in Edmonton saw the formation of a Ukrainian choir of immigrant women and men, then strangers in this land. They sang the songs of their homeland. In those early days they were first known as the Taras Shevchenko Choir and later, in honour of an AUUC founding member, the Mathew Shatulsky Choir. Folk singing has often been part of the organized activities at the branch, whether it was for children, adults or senior citizens. The Ivan Franko Male Chorus (later to be known as the Trembita Male Chorus) was organized in 1955 while the Trembita Women's Chorus didn't materialize until 1971. The groups have since combined and now perform as the Trembita Folk Choir. The repertoire has expanded to include many selections other than its base of Ukrainian folk songs. The choir has performed extensively in Edmonton, including a memorable appearance with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in 1999, though it has also enjoyed touring to other towns and cities in Canada. Today's singers come from all walks of life and are diverse in age and ethnicity. Recent immigrants from Ukraine once again find a home in our choir, often sitting beside fifth generation Ukrainian Canadians. The choristers receive excellent vocal training and constantly seek ways to broaden their musical horizons while continuing to preserve the choir's lively folk characteristics.

The Edmonton AUUC Trembita School of Ukrainian Performing Arts participants are fourth and fifth generation descendants of our original Pioneers. The first children's groups were organized as far back as 1920. Today the school continues the instruction in Ukrainian folk dance, folk singing, beginner mandolin lessons and Ukrainian culture to children from the ages of 3-16 years of age. Our Saturday morning program boasts participation and involvement of the parents and a beginner adult dance program.
Also part of the Saturday morning activities, is "Nasha Pora" (Our Time) in which the children learn about Ukrainian Canadian culture, and tradition through language, games, stories and crafts. Mandolin group lessons are a newly offered program to encourage the children to broaden their musical scopes by learning the basic skills in the playing of a musical instrument. Our Folk Singing program enlightens the children in the rudimentary elements of song.
The curriculum of the dance school is designed to increase the children's physical strength, knowledge of dance, exercise and awareness of the aspects of the dance form. Through movement, etudes and choreography the children portray many facets of the rich traditional Ukrainian folklore.
The children of our dance school are the beneficiaries of our rich heritage.

The Winnipeg Mandolin Orchestra
Organized in 1920 and comprised of thirteen young, pre-teen girls, the Winnipeg Girls' Mandolin Orchestra, as it soon became known, appeared in concert on the stage of the Ukrainian Labour Temple for the first time in 1921. It has never looked back and is now regarded as being the oldest continuing performing mandolin orchestra in Canada and the second oldest in North America.
Although augmented with the addition of violin, accordion, flute, clarinet and recorder, it continues in the same tradition performing works from its substantial Ukrainian classical and folk repertoire, and the works by composers of other nations. It has appeared twice at the Winnipeg Musical Festival competition and both times received high marks and warm praise. Its first recording, issued in 1996 on the occasion of the orchestra's 75th Anniversary, sold out within the year. The orchestra founded Winnipeg's annual Festival of Mandolins in 1993 for the purpose of popularizing the art of mandolin performance. .

The Lesya Ukrainka Choir was formed in 1968, and has been singing for its own pleasure and the pleasure of its audiences ever since. It repertoire has consisted largely of Ukrainian folk and contemporary songs, interspersed with Canadian and American folk songs. The choir has performed for audiences across the Prairie Provinces. It is regularly invited to sing at hospitals, nursing homes, shopping centres, retail stores and schools. It performs annually at Winnipeg's Folklorama Festival.' The Lesya Ukrainka Choir has competed in the Manitoba Music Festival and received excellent marks. Conductor - Annis Kozub.

Winnipeg AUUC School of Folk Dance
Ukrainian Labour Temple, 591 Pritchard Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2W 2K4, Phone 800-856-8242, (204) 582-9269, Fax: (204) 589-3404 ,

Although Ukrainian dance began to be featured on the stage of Winnipeg's Ukrainian Labour Temple in the mid 1920's, it wasn't until 1953 that an actual 'school of dance' was organized. In 2004, the school celebrated its 50th Anniversary at a special concert which underlined the achievements of all the school's dancers. In addition, four of the original instructors: Myron Shatulsky, Olga Shatulsky, Elsie Williston and Lucy Nykolyshyn, were honoured during the performance. The school's senior and principal performing group, the Yunist Dancers, are proud to be participating in this National Celebration. They are continuing a tradition started in 1939 when their predecessors appeared together with a host of other groups from across the country in the first ever Festival of Ukrainian Music, Song and Dance in Toronto. Since then, Winnipeg's dance groups have appeared at every national festival. Their instructor and school Director is Iryna Tsybukh who received her experience as a dancer in one of Lviv's foremost dance groups.

Welland Ukrainian Mandolin Orchestra of the AUUC

Part of the AUUC Welland Branch is Welland Mandolin Orchestra, Women's Choir and Weland Senior Citizen Club. Ukrainian Labour Temple, 342 Ontario Road, Welland, ON L3B 5C5, Phone: (905) 732-5656
The Welland Ukrainian Mandolin Orchestra began in 1926 and we still have a participant from the original orchestra in Olga Katrynak (Petrachenko).

The Orchestra has had several appearances on stage in Saskatchewan and was chosen by the Ontario Folk Arts Council to represent Ontario at the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Province of Saskatchewan. It was also chosen by the Province of Ontario to perform at Saskatchewan's National Heritage Festival in 1980. It is only fitting that it will be back to participate in the National Ukrainian Centennial Celebration - 2005 in Regina.

The Orchestra is very active and receives many invitations to perform at major functions as well as many seniors' homes throughout the region.

Some of its performances include:
1983 part of Sudbury's "Kaleidoscope 83"
1984 several of its members went to Ukraine to accompany the Hanilka Choir of Toronto on a 3 week tour.
1986 performed at Expo 86 in Vancouver B.C.
1989 performed at Earthsong "89" in Hamilton Ontario
Performed at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto Celebrating the Year of the Older, sponsored by the Royal Bank
2000 Marshville Heritage Festival in Wainfleet
2000 AUUC Millennium Festival in Edmonton
2000 Had our Millennium Concert in Welland in October

The Orchestra's latest achievement was the launching of its first CD entitled "Mandolin Rhapsody" at a concert at the Ukrainian Labour Temple in Welland on October 17th, 2004. It has received glowing reviews from its first listeners and appears to be headed for a robust sales record. This CD is comprised mainly of folk music with the selections from the Ukraine, Russia, Greece, Italy and a little of the Canadian Prairies in its last selection. It comes highly recommended to anyone who likes the sound of a Mandolin Orchestra and loves Folk Music.

The Orchestra has been steadily improving from the time the late Stella Billings (Panko) became the conductor to today. For the past six years we have been very fortunate in having Rudy Wasylenki who spends countless hours arranging music for us, as our musical director.

The Orchestra's 30 plus members are looking forward to joining performers from across Canada at the Saskatchewan Centre of the Arts in Regina on April 3, 2005.

Back to content | Back to main menu