This weekend, the Comox Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society (CVUCS) will celebrate their new year at the Filberg Centre in Courtenay.
The new year’s party, or Malanka, is based on a costumed event celebrated in mid-January in the Ukraine, as the festivities are observed with the Gregorian calendar.
The sold-out event will feature a Ukrainian meal, a performance by the local Ukrainian dance group Dolyna, and live music, including a performance by local bands Garlic and Moonshine as well as Collective Whole.
The Dolyna dancers are especially happy. The dancers’ parents and CVUCS ran another successful sale of raffle tickets and food this year to raise funds for costumes and competition fees. Dolyna means “valley” in Ukrainian.
“Our costumes are based on authentic folk clothing from the old country,” says head dance instructor Jeanette Martin-Lutzer. “They are beautiful, but expensive to make and maintain. Any extra funds are much appreciated in keeping our young dancers looking so good.”
The dancers range in age from three to 16, and both the costumes and the dances are based on specific regions within the Ukraine.
The dancing itself is for both males and females — it’s colourful and choreographed, and features graceful ballet-like movements as well as folk dancing, and often showcases athletic moves performed by young men.
Most of the dancers have no ties to the Ukraine, they are simply drawn to the beauty and excitement of the dancing.
The grand prize winner of this year’s raffle prize, Shawn Asbee, won a freezer, which was stocked with Ukrainian food, meat, and baking, all supplied by the Ukrainian Society.
— Comox Valley Ukrainian Cultural Society