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Yalenka captures trophy at B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival

The Yalenka Ukrainian Dance Troupe from Prince George.

The Yalenka Ukrainian Dance Troupe from Prince George captured one of the 16 honours available at the 2019 Ukrainian Cultural Festival, the Minenok Memorial Trophy, outscoring all other competitors in a dance from the Polissian Region of Ukraine.

Polyssia is located in northern Ukraine, and borders Poland to its west, Russia to its east, and Belarus to its north. The largely forested area is best known for the tragic Chernobyl nuclear plant failure of 1986 at a time when the area was controlled by Russia.

“As a very small troupe, Yalenka this year punched far above its weight class,” said festival spokesperson Gord Yakimow.

Toronto-based adjudicator Vincent Rees checks out the dancers.

A crowd of close to 1,500 attendees took in the annual event held at the Heritage Park Educational and Cultural Centre in Mission on May 4.

They purchased works of arts and crafts and the latest in Ukrainian embroidered fashion-wear from some of the many vendors, dined on tasty Ukrainian fare, and watched the best Ukrainian dance performances available in the province in the complex’s Clarke Theatre.

Dressed in a wide variety of colourful costumes from all regions of Ukraine, three hundred dancers from all areas of the province, and from Seattle in the US, had their performances scored by Toronto-based adjudicator Vincent Rees. A former dancer, instructor, and choreographer, the highly-respected adjudicator also runs CobbleStone Freeway, a travel company which arranges dance tours to Ukraine.

“We were fortunate to have convinced Rees to come to our event this year,” said Darka Morin-Konik, the president of the Festival. “He is much-sought-after and a very busy man.”

The annual event is held on the first Saturday in May in Mission. Festival #25 will take place on May 2, 2020. Information is available on the BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival website: www.bcucf.ca.