Celebrating Ukrainian heritageA 25th anniversary performance by the Ukrainian Dancers Stepovi is among the highlights of the Ukrainian Festival under way in Dickinson.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
A 25th anniversary performance by the Ukrainian Dancers Stepovi is among the highlights of the Ukrainian Festival under way in Dickinson.
The performance by the ensemble starts at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the Dickinson State University Stickney Auditorium.
“It’s a very energetic, fun and unique group,” said Rachel Kanski, a dancer and festival marketing director. “It’s not something you can describe — it’s something you have to see.”
The ensemble includes dancers age 13 through 50. Many have been trained at the North Dakota Ukrainian Dance Association summer workshops in Dickinson.
When participants reach age 13, they go through a rite of passage — the girls receive wreaths, sash and red boots, while the boys receive a sash and boots, she said.
“A lot of the members aren’t Ukrainian, but have an interest in dance,” she added.
Kanski started dancing at the age of 6 with the summer workshop. She didn’t dance during her teen years, but resumed when she turned 20.
The dancers have been rehearsing every night and weekends for the last two weeks in preparation for the performance. They come to Dickinson from as far away as Arizona, Kansas, Oregon and Florida.
“Basically, we want to continue practicing and improving our Ukrainian dance techniques and perform wherever possible,” she said. “The biggest feather in our hat was being invited to open the show for the Moscow Ballet when it toured through North Dakota.”
The children enrolled in the summer workshop will showcase what they’ve learned during a concert at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday in DSU Stickney Auditorium. Guest performers are the Mohutniy Ukrainian Dance Ensemble from Canada.
The schedule includes:
8 a.m., Chernobyl pre-symposium teachers’ workshop at DSU Murphy Hall.
10 a.m., Chernobyl pre-symposium teachers’ workshop, DSU Beck Auditorium.
Noon, Ukrainian luncheon at the Ukrainian Cultural Institute.
1:30 p.m., Chernobyl Symposium, DSU Beck Auditorium.
7:30 p.m., Ukrainian Dancers Stepovi, DSU Stickney Auditorium.
9 p.m., Street dance and beer gardens at Ukrainian Cultural Institute.
9 a.m., Liturgy at Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Belfield.
Noon, Ukrainian luncheon at UCI.
2:30 p.m., North Dakota Ukrainian Dance Association summer workshop concert.
4:30 p.m., Ukrainian buffet at the Elks Lodge.
8 p.m., Dance at the Elks Lodge.
8 a.m., Liturgy at St. Demetrius Ukrainian Catholic Church, Fairfield.
10:30 a.m., Liturgy at St. John’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Belfield.
All of the festival events are open to the public.
“This is for everybody,” said Kanski. “In some respect, we’re inviting everyone to come and experience our culture. You don’t have to be Ukrainian to take part.”
Admission is charged for various events or purchase a wristband for entire the weekend. For more information, visit the website: ukrainianculturalinstitute.org or call the UCI at 701-483-1486.