Statement Banner

, MLA Burrows
June 17, 2013

Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble 50th Anniversary

One of the reasons I love Manitoba is our remarkable ethnic diversity. When I think of Manitoba, colourful and lively Ukrainian dancing comes to mind, perfectly exemplified by the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Today I am excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this legendary cultural institution.

A rusalka is a mystical and graceful mermaid-like nymph. Drawing on Slavic folklore for inspiration, the late Peter Hladun assembled a troupe of talented and dedicated young dancers in 1962. Under his direction this homegrown dance company developed into one of the world's most electrifying Ukrainian folk ensembles. Its rich repertoire encompasses a range of regions, styles and moods fitting any occasion.

Rusalka dancers deserve acknowledgement for their high level of professionalism and dedication. Despite full-time studies and demanding professions, they commit to thousands of hours of rehearsal throughout the year in order to proudly showcase their cultural heritage. In distinctive red boots, floral wreaths and long ribbons of all colours, Rusalka has enchanted audiences on five continents, including royalty and heads of state.

Throughout 2013, Rusalka is celebrating its golden anniversary. Thank you to the alumni association for organizing all the special events. Highlights have included a gala dinner and last weekend's Taras Bulba night featuring local ethno-rock band, Zrada.

In October, festivities will conclude with a concert at the Centennial Concert Hall and next year the association will publish a retrospective book immortalizing Rusalka's first 50 years. I wish them the best of luck with this exciting legacy project.

Thank you to everyone at Rusalka for the stunning entertainment you have provided us over these last 50 years. Having taken your passionate love of Ukrainian-Canadian culture to the world stage, you are extraordinary ambassadors of this great province. In promoting cultural understanding and artistic perfection, you make us proud to be Manitoban. Here's to another 50 years.

Dyakuyu and thank you.

And I ask leave to table the current Rusalka members, please. Thank you.

Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble Members

The Rusalka Board of Directors: Co-chair Hannia Tarasiuk, Co-chair Dr. Jerry Baluta, Treasurer Fred Mazepa, Technical Director Andrew Popiel, Dancer Chelsea Berezuk, Evelyn Derlago, Ryan Diduck, Ray Honeybun, Patrick Kuzyk, Anne Rusnak, Dr. Mark Semchyshyn, Wally Welechenko and Felicia Wiltshire

Ballet master: Jamie Vargas

Dancers: Daniel Anderson, Holly Anderson, Ivanka Babiak, Stefan Baluta, Markian Duplak, Kevin Groot, Devin Harding, Trevor Hemery, Valentyna Kabris, Orycia Karpa, Mikayla Knysh, Leanne Koroscil, Diane Kusko, Kathryn Kuzyk, Stacie Langner, Varya Lapteva, Brittany Lasko, Ivanna Lukie, Sofia Lukie, Lilya Medynska, Caitlin McQuarrie, Patricia Mitchler, Tonisha Privé, Simeon Rusnak, Luke Savard, Nina Semchyshyn, Morgan Shipley, Makar Storoschuk, Antin Stowell, Andriana Tarasiuk, Daria Tkaczyk, Stefan Tkaczyk, Dylan Turchyn, Katelyn Turchyn, Ivanka Waplak, Alanna Wilson, Julie Zabudny, Taras Zaporozan and Zane Zimmerman

Alumni Committee members: Taunia Grantham, Randy Kohuch, Janet Paterson, Candace Skromeda, Cheryl Sobkowicz, Myron Tarasiuk and Sandra Toews