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Kvitka of Surrey nabs both major awards at BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival 2023

May 17, 2023 | News, Life, Canada, Featured, Arts & Culture

Kvitka of Surrey poses with the Hopak Trophy

Gord Yakimow
For NP-UN, Abbotsford, BC

The performers from Kvitka of Surrey established themselves as the best dance troupe in the province of British Columbia by nabbing the two top awards at this year’s BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival.

Kvitka narrowly edged out Barvinok of Seattle for the Pryvit Trophy.

The “Pryvit” (welcome dance) is the most culturally relevant and spiritually significant of all Ukrainian performances. In the dance, a troupe will showcase costumes from various regions of Ukraine and will often include all age groups from its troupe.

When major professional troupes are on tour, they begin their concert with the “Pryvit.”

Barvinok of Seattle performing the “Pryvit” (Welcome Dance). Their performance was dedicated to the military forces of Ukraine who are fighting for the freedom of their homeland

Kvitka also won the Hopak Trophy. The fast-paced “Hopak” is the national dance of Ukraine, and in it dancers showcase their athletic and theatrical dance moves.

Yalenka of Prince George was last year’s winner.

The coveted Gordon Yakimow Trophy (for a “cute” performance featuring little ones age 10 or less) was shared this year by two troupes, Barvinok of Seattle and Dovbush of Vancouver.

The adjudicator for Festival 2023 was Stephanie Lilley of Edmonton. Lilley is the Artistic Director of Edmonton’s Viva Dance Company, a faculty member at the University of Alberta, and a former performer with Edmonton’s Shumka

“It has been a struggle to keep the Festival going,” said BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival president Darka (Konyk) Morin. “We lost two years with COVID, and last year’s gathering was much reduced in that troupes had either collapsed, or they were unable to meet and rehearse to prepare competition-worthy performances.”

“This year, we saw a number of troupes for the first time in four years,” she added. “And the crowds were as large as ever. So much so … that the caterer ran out of perogies,” she added with an embarrassed sigh.

The official Host and Hostess (Hospodar and Hospodynia) for Festival 2023 were Wally and Glenna Nychyporuk, pictured here with Festival founder Gladys Andreas

The organizers will be donating 20% of this year’s gate-receipt to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation, which provides assistance to Ukraine for such requirements as fire-fighting gear, ambulances, and hospital operating-room equipment.

“The awful war in Ukraine was on everyone’s mind this year,” explained Festival vicepresident Nathan Nychyporuk. “Many people will be sending reports of our Festival 2023 to their friends and relatives back in Ukraine. It’ll be a morale-booster.”

“We had a father and son in attendance who had arrived from Ternopil in western Ukraine only three days ago,” he added.

The Festival Organizing Committee received a one-time grant of $2400 from the “Fairs, Festivals, and Events Fund” of the BC provincial government to assist with the staging of this year’s event.

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