Blog Archives


Web Film #504a – Ukrainian Dance PE Buko


Web Film #504b – Ukrainian Dance Polka Wedding


Web Film #504c – Ukrainian Dance Hopak


Web Film $504d – Ukrainian Dance Adult Buko


Web Film #504e – Ukrainian Dance PE Gypsy


Web Film #504f – Ukrainian Dance PE Hutzul/Hutsol

Web Film #504g -Director’s Cut

Web Film #504h -Behind the scenes (Learning to Dance)

Centre for Ukrainian Canadian Studies, Ukrainian Museum of Canada, and Ukrainian Canadian Congress.  There are also roadside attractions like, Lesia the, Ukrainian Girl Statue, and the Vegreville Egg, and there are many more other Ukrainian establishments that dot the prairie towns and cities. Part of their culture they brought with them was their dancing. It has physical and mental benefits. Dancing helps keeps your mind sharp as you have to remember the moves and dynamically change when you perform in larger dance groups. You get a feel for the music, the beat and the rhythm. It frees you from linear thinking and allows for your body to be more expressive.

Ukrainian dancing is something I always wanted to try. So I signed up for Ukrainian dance lessons in November 2013. Six months later, I was in the dance recital, as shown in the videos. Not only did I enjoy the high energy dance moves and the colouful elaborate costumes, I learned about the Ukrainian culture, music, great food, the history, its people and its language. I found it an enjoyable experience. Now, I can mark it off my bucket list.  I am sure my name Michael J. Lai can pass for being Ukrainian.

This wasn’t my first exposure to dance classes. When I was about 10, my mother registered me for ballet, tap and jazz at the Pavlychenko School of Dance in Saskatoon. Truthfully, I was reluctant to go to classes because I was the only boy in my class. Due to my mother’s insistence, I stuck with it for a few years.   Even though this isn’t part of my Prairie Traveler on-screen persona, I still have the time to donate back into the community.  Looking back, I now know the importance, benefits and skills dance has taught me. I also acquired an appreciation for the arts. Not only did dancing give me the confident of performing on stage, but it also gave me confidence in myself and in my work.

***I shot this dance recital with 5 cameras, which was hard to do when I was also dancing in a few dance numbers.

***I taped the cameras down on the stage and sometimes the stage curtains would knock them down.  Some dances had lots of stomping and jumping, which would affect the camera’s pickup.

***I would like to extend a special thanks to Ginger Merk and the Kolos Ukrainian Dance School board of directors for trusting and supporting me, with the making of the recital video.  I felt like one of the family, they included me in the group and their various functions.

***Thank you to the instructors Alla Hutsol and Carey Smith.

***Thanks to Florence Hwang for copy editing this content.

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