Community rallies for Malanka Dancers

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August 25, 2015 8:15 AM

The Lloydminster Malanka Dancers have been showcasing Ukrainian culture through dance for 41 years, but it took a late phone call to secure a 42nd.

“We were really, really struggling,” said Kate Carnell, vice-president of the Lloydminster Ukrainian Cultural Association (LUCA). “We had lots of students that would be doing solos and duets but had nowhere to practice without renting the studio at a fairly high price.”

For several years, the LUCA had been renting dance studio space from the Servus Sports Centre. However, a lack of funds forced the non-profit organization to look elsewhere for the upcoming session.

With feasible options scarce, the LUCA reached out to Alex Palmer, a real estate agent at Century 21.

“They said, ‘We’ve got this problem,’ and I said, ‘Well then let’s solve it,’” Palmer said. “They were fun people to deal with and when I have something like that and they’re relying so heavily, I just love solving the problems.”

“I knew Alex’s name, I had been working with him on another agreement through work and knew that he was more commercially-based,” said Carnell. “I said we needed a place to dance, a place for storage, a place for a meeting and just a general place to make a home.”

Within 10 days, Carnell had a response and the LUCA had a new lease agreement in Unit 1 of the complex at 4720 50 St.

“We’re a very close-knit community and so to have a place that we can be together and the kids spend time together and the adults spend time together was something that we felt was really important to the future of the club,” Carnell said.

But the work isn’t done. Even with a new home, the LUCA needs a dance floor, flooring, drywalls, mirrors, furniture and numerous other supplies before the Lloydminster Malanka Dancers can start choreographing their first routine.

With a lack of funds to work with, Carnell says the organization is initiating a Wall of Sponsors in the new studio that offers local businesses an opportunity to tap their logos onto the wall through four different sponsorship levels:

Level 1 - $2,500 or equivalent in supplies;

Level 2 - $1,000 or equivalent in supplies;

Level 3 - $500 or equivalent in supplies;

Level 4 - $100 or equivalent in supplies.

The association is also welcoming volunteered labour to help assemble the new studio and has already received numerous donations. Once the Lloydminster Malanka Dancers resume dancing, they can begin early preparations for the annual Ukrainian New Year’s Malanka Dine and Dance.

The event is the Malankas’ marquee performance each year, and is scheduled to take place on Jan. 9, 2016.

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