Dancing for their future: Barveenok dancers keep hope alive with weekend fundraiser

The COVID pandemic has spelled the end for many businesses and organizations, but arts groups have been hit hard too.

One such group, recently inducted into the Prince Albert Arts Hall of Fame, is in dire need of financial help from the community at large. As a result, the Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers held a fundraising performance, supper, and dance at the Exhibition Centre this past Saturday to give their dance troupe a much-needed financial shot in the arm.

“The whole point of the fundraiser was preservation,” said Reyna Siwak, a long-time member of the Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers whose children have followed in her footsteps.

“Covid, much like any other non-profit (organization), has hit us hard. We had to cancel five different major fundraising events over the past two years, and as a result, we are in a crisis situation where.

“If we didn’t do this fundraiser, there was a very good possibility that we wouldn’t exist as an organization by September.”

Other alumnus members of the club came out to help the dance troupe as much as possible, including Karen Burton, who volunteered selling tickets as part of one of the raffles with prizes donated by local businesses.

“There’s a rich Ukrainian heritage in Prince Albert,” Burton said.

“We get people from all over coming to events like this, and it’s just a great place. It’s for everybody, for Ukrainian, non-Ukrainian, all sorts of people. It’s great for kids, it’s just a really wonderful organization.”

Barveenok dancer Maya Duffield performs during the Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers’ emergency fundraiser on Sunday. — Photo by Marjorie Roden.

Marcia Coulic-Salahub is one of the adult dancers with Barveenok. She also understands the value of the club, and “the hope that Ukrainians, through thick and thin, will stick to whatever we have. Our spirit and the love of Ukrainian dance, the love of Ukrainian culture, is alive and well in Prince Albert.”

Many of the instructors with the club come in from Saskatoon’s Pavlychenko Folklore Ensemble (PFE for short). Because of their close ties with the Barveenok Dance Club of Prince Albert, and in spite of the high gas prices as of late, several members of the club made the drive up to be part of the fundraiser, wowing the audience alongside many of the local dancers.

Their final number was one that was inspired by Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian culture, as Serhij Koroliuk, the PFE’s coach and choreographer, described.

“From generation to generation, the culture evolves and develops. Some might say it’s the evolution of the old folk dance in this region,” Koroliuk. Said. “We support each other, especially in the hard times.”

For anyone who missed the fundraiser, fear not, as the Barveenok Dancers are still fundraising by selling perogies, 5 dozen frozen ones for $30 per bag, and they can be ordered through their Facebook page, by email at info@pabarveenok.com, or by phone at (306) 940 -8894.

Alternatively, if you want to see the smiles of appreciation from the Barveenok Ukrainian dancers in person, come on out to Saturday’s Street Fair, where they will be selling perogies, either frozen or cooked.

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