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Rusalka to celebrate half a century of dance

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Winnipeg’s internationally renowned dance group, the Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, will celebrate half a century of dance with its 50th anniversary concert this coming October.

The concert, The Spirit of Rusalka – Celebrating 50 Years, will be held at the Centennial Concert Hall on Sun., Oct. 27.

Also in the works for this fall is a gallery exhibit at the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre – Oseredok. It will include the Rusalka archives, says Orysia Tracz, who, along with Taras Luchak, is in the process of writing and putting together a book about Rusalka to commemorate its 50th anniversary.

"The alumni association is undertaking a very exciting and enormous special project," Tracz says. "We are planning to publish a stunning souvenir coffee table book that will document Rusalka’s first 50 years."

For over two years now, a dedicated team of alumni has been organizing Rusalka’s archives at Oseredok, she says. They have been "scouring photos and researching the most memorable moments in Rusalka’s 50 year history."

The book will include Rusalka’s history from its "humble beginnings, many tours around the world, studying with Veryovka... anecdotes and secret stories plus great photos from each decade; this year’s gala summer tour to Ukraine and the 50th anniversary concert and much more," Tracz adds.

The researchers are still hoping that former dancers and volunteers will contact them to share their memories for the book. Pre-orders are also being taken for the book which Tracz hopes will be published in the spring or summer of 2014.

Founded in 1962 by the late Peter Hladun, the talented ensemble has toured around the world, performed for Pope John Paul II and studied under Veryovka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Kiev. More recently, Rusalka has just returned from performing at various cities in Ukraine as part of its 50th anniversary tour.  

Among many highlights over the years, the group has shared the stage with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and has performed The Legend of the Rusalka, based on ancient Ukrainian folklore, with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.

Tickets for the upcoming concert are available at Ticketmaster.

For more information on the concert and gallery exhibition or to contribute stories for Rusalka’s anniversary book, contact Orysia Tracz at orysiarusalka@gmail.com

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