All proceeds will go to the Canada Ukraine Foundation, which helps Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Relief. Douglas said it was especially important for their dancers to perform now. Many people in the set still have family and friends in Ukraine.
“It’s worth playing because we’re winning that support and strengthening those traditions here when they’re under threat there,” she said.
Most of the ensemble members have second- or third-generation Ukrainian heritage, with others being more loosely related. Douglas said those who are not Ukrainian have also developed a love for the culture, dancing over the years in small communities where Ukrainian dancing was what everyone did.
“We all have these connections to the customs, the dance and the traditions behind the steps we take on stage.”
Local dancers are equally eager for Saturday’s event. Brett Sheppard, president of the Svoboda Dancers, said they were grateful for the opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.
“They haven’t been able to do it for the past two years, so it’s going to be a good thing. [evening],” he said.
Even though these dancers are further removed from Ukrainian culture, Sheppard said it’s still meaningful to be able to participate in something that represents the traditions of Ukraine. The costumes themselves represent all regions of the country, and older dancers have spent years not only practicing their moves, but learning their importance.
“Over the years of dancing, they’ve created this connection and knowledge of history and different regions,” he said.
Anyone looking for tickets and more information about the event can contact PFE by emailing [email protected]
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