PA Ukrainian celebration bringing together Sask. dancers to fundraise for local club

Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers perform at Obzhynky in 2019. – Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald

A traditional Ukrainian celebration is raising money for a local dance club.

On Saturday, Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dance will be hosting Obzhynky. The annual event will include a traditional meal, dance, music, silent auction and raffle.

Kayleigh Skomorowski is the president of the Barveenok dance group and co-chair of the Obzhynky committee. She said the event is significant in the non-profit’s year-round operations.

“The profits from Obzyhnky, they’re used for a variety of different things. They allow us to do things like purchase new costume sets or the cost of instructors,” she said.

She added that costumes are made in Ukraine, which, in turn, allows the club to support Ukrainian seamstresses and other craftsmanship. 

“Obzhynky itself will pay the wage of an instructor for an entire dance year, so it’s super helpful when you look at the impact of what it allows you to do.”

Skomorowski said sponsorships from local businesses and the support of club members drive the event’s continued success – this year’s Obzyhnky is sold out, Skomorowski said, which hasn’t happened in a number of years.

“It’s also a community building piece,” she added.

Obzyhnky is a celebration of food, song, and dance held at the end of harvest.

This year, Barveenok Ukrainian Dance is bringing in professional dance groups Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble and Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble. 

Skmorowski said both groups have ties to Barveenok, whether their dancers are alumni or are instructors who currently teach the Prince Albert group or have in the past.

“It’s kind of nice to have a bit of a homecoming in that sense for dancers that are now dancing professionally that started with Barveenok,” she said.

The event will also include live music from Half Na Piv, also from Saskatoon, who primarily perform for Ukrainian weddings and dances.

Skomorowski said the club is testing out a new venue this year at the Ches Leach Lounge in the Art Hauser Centre. In the past, Obzynky has been held at the exhibition grounds.

Obzhynky is one of the dance group’s major fundraisers throughout the year.