The Zirka Ukrainian Dancers of the Okanagan Valley showed off their best dancing at the B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Mission recently

The Zirka Ukrainian Dancers of the Okanagan Valley showed off their best dancing at the B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Mission recently

Zirka stars shine at festival

The Zirka Ukrainian Dancers of the Okanagan Valley bring home medals and will showcase their skills May 14 in Vernon

Coming home with a great experience is memorable. Coming home with medals and a trophy is even better.

The Zirka Ukrainian Dancers of the Okanagan Valley showed off their best dancing at the B.C. Ukrainian Cultural Festival in Mission last weekend.

The local group is more than 35 years old and is still showing their strong connection to Ukrainian culture.

They attended the 21st annual Ukrainian Cultural Festival with groups from all over the province and Washington State. Zirka’s Red and Blue groups danced strongly in the adjudicated festival and received one silver and five gold medals for their performances.

The youngest in their category, the Red group still received scores of 90 and above for all of their dances and took home the trophy for the highest mark in the Transcarpathian category.

“Our dancers were so excited,” said artistic director, Amie Roussel. “They practised hard and worked towards their goal of taking home a trophy this year.  I am excited by their skill level and presentation for their ages, just think where we will be in a few more years of hard work.

“Having our dancers compete in the Kiwanis Dance Festivals in both Kamloops and Penticton prior to the Ukrainian dance festival really paid off in the confidence the dancers brought to the stage and the quality of their performances.”

The Zirka dancers performed dances from the Bukovinian, Transcarpathian, Poltava, Hutsul and Volyn regions at the festival this year.

Zirka has been performing and training dancers in the Okanagan Valley for more than 35 years and while a number of dancers have Ukrainian heritage, others do not and simply love to dance and perform.

“My family has been involved with Zirka for more than 10 years,” said longtime board member Sheila Monroe. “Zirka is about bringing people together, no matter your background or age.”

The timing for the Zirka dancers to bring home their medals is perfect as they are taking to the stage at Trinity United Church on Saturday for their Night of Stars dinner and performance event from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Special guests from Kamloops and Osooyos will be joining the Zirka dancers on stage for the evening’s performance. The family event will feature a dinner of traditional Ukrainian foods, followed by the dancers performing and an evening of social dancing, partner polka dancing, a traditional kolomeyka and raffles.

Tickets must be purchased in advance from the Ticket Seller box office; tickets are not available at the door. See www.ticketseller.ca or call 250-549-SHOW (7469).