Paska with Saffron
Keeping Ukrainian-Canadian culture alive since 1918
Originally from Winnipeg, Laurel began her dance training 36 years ago at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and moved on to tap, jazz, and Ukrainian dance, where her instructors included members of the acclaimed Rusalka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. As her passion for dance grew, she became an instructor’s assistant, attending workshops and seminars to enhance her knowledge of choreographic techniques, dance vocabulary and the art of developing a young dancer’s abilities. Her complementary interest in theatre, pursued from an early age at Winnipeg’s Prairie Theatre Exchange, gave her a breadth of experience and familiarity with staging, improvisation, and communication, both verbal and physical.
Continuing her training in Vancouver in Ukrainian dance, tap and jazz, Laurel also studied theatre at Capilano College. She taught dance and drama to children and teens in an initiative which brought arts programs to small communities across British Columbia.
Artistic Director & Dance Instructor
Tamara Pitts began ballet training through the Royal Academy of Dance examinations and joined the Ivan Franko Studio in Richmond under the direction of Mr. Serguei Makarov. A Dance Graduate of the Langley Fine Arts School, Tamara travelled to Miami, Florida to continue her studies and upon returning to BC, stepped in as ballet instructor for the Tropak Ukrainian Dance Theatre of Richmond.
Tamara has been an instructor at the Dovbush School of Ukrainian Dance for three seasons and her impact on the school and its dancers has been profound. With enthusiasm, skill and a deep respect for traditional Ukrainian culture, Tamara has been inspiring dancers of all ages. This past season, Tamara has taken on the role of Artistic Director of the Dovbush School of Dance.
Tamara is sought-after as a ballet, musical theatre and contemporary choreographer and instructor in the Lower Mainland and has worked as an instructor and choreographer for Ukrainian dance schools across British Columbia.
Nicole (Nicky) Bizovie
Dance Instructor and Administration
Nicky has been dancing at the Ukrainian Hall since she was 3 years old. Her dance experience includes Ukrainian dance for 17 years, with classical ballet training incorporated into her classes. She is currently a member of the Dovbush Senior Dance Ensemble. Nicky has three years of training in both Contemporary Dance and Rhythmic Gymnastics, and as of the 2021 season has been teaching for 6 years.
Nicky enjoys dance because it is an escape from everyday life. So many friendships and memories are made through dance as it offers opportunities for new experiences and adventures. She finds the Ukrainian Hall a very welcoming and warm environment for dancers; it’s been the “second home” of hers for years. Nicole believes kids have a lot to offer and really challenge teachers to try new techniques. She loves getting to know every individual. Nicky’s goals are to make sure every child feels comfortable and welcome in class, and for each dancer to learn new or interesting skills each class. Nicky is currently majoring in Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University,
The older brother to Nicole, Joseph quickly followed her interest in Ukrainian dance, starting at the age of 4. He has currently been dancing for 18 years, and now resides with the Dovbush Senior Dance ensemble, of which he has been a part of for 8 years. Part of the senior dancers, Joseph has had many opportunities to work with many Ukrainian instructors throughout the years. A key part of our teaching team, Joseph provides assistance and technique training for all children, and specifies in trick and strengthening training for the boys. Joseph has now been assisting for 5 years as of the 2021 season.
Joseph is currently at the British Columbia Institute of Technology studying cyber crime analysis. When asked what he loves about teaching, he explains that the joy of watching the children perform the steps or tricks correctly gives a sense of achievement. He continues that he loves to work with the boys in training their bodies to one day be able to perform the magnificent tricks we know and love.
Kaitlyn Kruk was born and raised in Vegreville, Alberta. Growing up in a large Ukrainian family, the culture was always a big part of her life. She began dancing with the Sopilka School of Ukrainian dance at the age of 3 and attended the Ukrainian Bilingual program at A.L Horton Elementary school. Teaching quickly became a passion for Kaitlyn when she was given an opportunity at Kiev’s K Hi Ukrainian Orthodox camp to teach and choreograph Ukrainian dance. Kaitlyn had attended this camp every summer for 15 years, and in the later years, she taught all ages of children with varying levels of dance experience.
Kaitlyn relocated to Vancouver and made it her home in 2013. She began dancing with Kvitka Ukrainian School of Dance in Surrey BC. In 2015, she became the instructor and choreographer with the Yevshan Ukrainian Dance School in Abbotsford, BC, and continues to teach there. Kaitlyn spent the last year living, traveling and learning around Ukraine. Living in 5 different cities while studying dance with each of the State ensembles. This experience gave her the opportunity to further her knowledge and training in Ukrainian dance, and to study the different regions, costumes, traditions of Ukraine. As of September 2018 Kaitlyn has joined the Dovbush School of Ukrainian dance as an instructor and is very excited to be part of the team.