Remembering the past

Dancers from the Canora Veselka Dance Club perform in the seven and eight year old medium group category at the Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dance Festival on April 22. Dancers from 13 different clubs were in attendance as the festival celebrated 30 years. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Nina Duffield never made the trek from Eastern Europe all the way to the Canadian prairies, but through dancing she’s trying to honour those who did.

The 14-year-old Duffield has spent seven years learning and perfecting the art of Ukrainian dancing. For her, it’s not just about doing something enjoyable. It’s about reconnecting with her heritage.

“It brings me closer to my ancestors who travelled all the way from the old country to try and give us a better life than what they had,” Duffield explained. “It’s a nice way to celebrate what they had to go through for us to live this well.”

She isn’t the only dancer celebrating that tradition either. Over the weekend, Duffield and the 51 other dancers from the Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dance Club welcomed fellow performers from 13 different Saskatchewan and Alberta dance clubs.

Together, they spent a weekend of performing and training as part of the 30th annual Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dance Festival, while also celebrating their heritage.

“Lots of the time, you have to think back to what our ancestors had to go through to really bring the character through in the dance, and to perform it well,” Duffield said.

Performers at this year’s festival ranged all the way from 17-years-old all the way down to six and under.

For the rest of this story, please see the April 26 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.