One New Year’s Eve down, one to go.
The Lloydminster Malanka Dancers are hosting their 32nd annual Dine and Dance in celebration of Ukrainian New Year’s on Jan. 17 at the Stockade Convention Centre.
The night will include Ukrainian music, dancing, hand-made food and even a vodka shot at the door.
Former president of the Malanka Dancers, Shelly Yacey, says holding the event is a great way to bring Lloydminster’s growing Ukrainian community together.
“There are a lot of families form the Ukraine here in Lloydminster, I’m just actually starting to get to know them,” she said. “We’re hoping that a lot of them will be coming out to our function this year because we’ve opened it up to families. In the past you had to be 19 and over to attend, and now we’re allowing underage people to come and stay the whole night.”
The festivities will feature Millenia, a Ukrainian folk music group from Edmonton with a local connection: Their accordion player is the Thursday night instructor at the dance club.
“It’s getting tougher and tougher to find bands that play Ukrainian music,” Yacey said. “This band has released four CDs now. They are the hot Ukrainian band here in Alberta. Everybody wants them. They’re booked up solid now for the next eight weeks. They’re booking two years in advance.”
The band will be backing up the dancers. Around 25 dancers, from three-year-olds to adults, will be performing on stage over the course of the night. Club vice-president Kate Carnell has four children who will be dancing onstage, including her 12-year-old daughter Mary.
“They’re one of our really exciting and fun groups to watch just because they’re such good friends and have so much fun together when they’re on stage,” she said. “You can always hear people commenting on them from the audience because they’ve got such big smiles and such good spirits.”
Mary has been dancing all her life, but decided to switch from ballet to Ukrainian dancing after watching the dancers at a weekend festival. She says she’s ready for the show.
“I’ve been dancing for nine years so it doesn’t really make me nervous anymore,” Mary said. “There are festivals every spring and then sometimes for the last few years we’ve been going to nursing homes.” Proceeds from the Dine and Dance, including a silent auction go towards funding the Malanka Dance Club.
“It helps to pay for our instructors, our rent and for buying costumes for our kids, because we’re purchasing a lot of costumes now from the Ukraine,” Yacey said. “They have the traditional designs on them, and the kids feel even more special when they wear a costume that is imported from the Ukraine.”
Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children under 12. Toddlers get in for free, but they can forget about the shot of vodka at the door.
Tickets can be purchased at Ironjet, or by calling Carmel at 306-825-4232.