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Yavir performs at the Eighth Annual Youth Festival of Ukrainian Dance

More than 90 dancers from Yavir School of Ukrainian Dance performed at the Eighth Annual Youth Festival of Ukrainian Dance on February 12, 2005 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ont. Yavir dancers from the ensembles Iskra, Kalyna, Kaniv, Cheremosh and the Yavir Ensemble brought dances from a variety of regions and styles to the stage.

Artistic Director, Paul Olijnyk said, "It is a real pleasure to see how much the dancers enjoy performing at this type of venue. The smiles on their faces came from the enjoyment they felt in their hearts. Their passion to perform and represent our culture through dance amazed not only me, but also the 1000 plus people in attendance at the festival. Thank you to all the dancers, instructors, and parent volunteers that made this festival an experience to remember." Paul is also very pleased with the students' technical progress in the five short months he has been with the school. And Yavir Ensemble continues to impress audiences with its precision and passion.

Yavir Ensemble opened with "Pryvit", the Welcome Dance. Kaniv took us to the Bukovynian Region with their spirited dance, while Cheremosh girls brought grace and elegance to the program with "Karichka".

"Hutsulka" performed by Yavir Ensemble women showed the intricate steps of the Hutsul region. Kalyna also performed "Hutsul Montage" from the Hutsul region. Yavir Ensemble's signature "Tambourine Dance" wowed the audience with the male dancers' dexterity and rhythm, while Iskra's dance "Western Whirlwind", was a crowd favourite as the children danced to the song, "You are my Sunshine" sporting straw hats. It is a little known fact that this tune is originally a Ukrainian melody.

Yavir Ensemble closed the program with the traditional "Hopak" showing off the spins and footwork of the female dancers, and the acrobatic prowess of the males of the Ensemble.

Dancers appreciated the opportunity to perform with so many talented Ukrainian dancers from a variety of groups. They're looking forward to upcoming performances scheduled for the spring and summer.

The annual festival features Ukrainian dance schools from the Toronto-Mississauga area. This year the Academy, Barvinok and Ukraina participated as well, each bringing a half hour of dance to the stage.

Yavir School dancers appreciated the opportunity to see performers from other schools, and look forward to future festivals.

A videotape or DVD of the performance is available from the Festival Committee for $25. Visit the Festival web site to order.

2005 Yavir