Notes from a Ukrainian dancer and teacher, on International Dance Day 2020

Happy International Dance Day! 
 
Today is a fantastic day to reflect on how the Dovbush Ukrainian Dancers and the Dovbush School of Dance have enriched diversity in Vancouver by providing an exciting art form that not only entertains audiences, but that also keeps the deeply-rooted Ukrainian-Canadian culture alive in the Lower Mainland.
I have been dancing for 16 years with Dovbush, both in the School and now as a member of the ensemble, and in that time have had the privilege to participate in many events. I have danced on countless stages across the Lower Mainland, marched in the City of Vancouver’s Canada Day Parade, performed at the Pysanka Festival based in Vegreville, Alberta alongside prestigious Ukrainian-Canadian dance groups from across Canada, had my first competition at the BCUCF Ukrainian Dance Festival which I now get to experience through my students’ eyes as a dance teacher, and eventually, when restrictions stemming from COVID-19 are lifted, Dovbush Dancers will travel to Ukraine as a group to perform and experience Ukrainian dance and culture first hand. It is very exciting to have opportunities like these to demonstrate our passion for dance and our culture.
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We would like to acknowledge The Dance Centre, located in Downtown Vancouver. The Dance Centre supports dance groups of all backgrounds and sizes and puts on an array of events such as the Discover Dance! series (click to see video), DanceLab creation program, Scotiabank Open House, and International Dance Day celebrations (click to read article), all of which we have been fortunate to have taken part in. By welcoming us into the strong dance community it has fostered, The Dance Centre has helped Dovbush and other dancers share their stories through dance by providing a professional environment to practice and perform. As long-time members, the AUUC and Dovbush thank The Dance Centre for providing a space for all dancers to have a chance to demonstrate their passion, and in our case, culture, to our community. In these uncertain times, International Dance Day will look a little different this year. The Dance Centre is presenting a Virtual Edition and has uploaded videos to its Facebook and Youtube to get us dancing and enjoying performances.
The Dovbush School and the Dovbush Dancers have been running online dance classes, connecting dancers with teachers to maintain the hard work put into learning Ukrainian folk dance, character technique and classical ballet.  As dancers, we recognize that we are part of a strong community of artists and teachers and we’re proud of the dedication this art form requires.
Stay safe everyone, and keep dancing!
Nicole Bizove, Member of Dovbush Dancers
Dovbush School Instructor
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