By Lethbridge Herald on January 23, 2024.
While she came to Lethbridge from Ukraine 10 years ago, Maryna Iamkova considers the annual Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Club’s celebration of Malanka a way of still connecting with her traditions and culture.
Malanka is a Ukrainian New Year celebration and the annual event was hosted on Saturday at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre.
“It’s important for me because I would like to keep my tradition since I’m in Canada,” said Iamkova.
“I don’t want to forget Ukrainian tradition and dance and keep the culture and the language.”
Malanka, staged by the Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Club, is a celebration centred around dancing, food, community and music.
“Each dance has an individual meaning,” she said.
She thinks Malanka allows those with roots in the country to maintain their connection with Ukraine’s history.
“I think if you don’t go to dance, it’s likely you will lose connection (a) little bit from Ukraine,” said Iamkova.
Iamkova did not arrive in Canada because of the war in the Ukraine.
“I just enjoy living in Canada and I’m happy I have the opportunity,” she said.
Her dance at Malanka was to a girl finding love and her future husban d.She was looking forward to enjoying her dance and thinking about her home country, socializing with fellow Ukrainian people and speaking the language throughout the evening.
“The cultural component of any nation is one of the most important things,” said Anastasia Sereda, Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Club’s lead instructor.
“So keeping culture alive through the arts and through dance is one of the most vital things.
‘ We’re really honoured to have newwcomers here today as well, like Ukrainian newcomers.”
Sereda said Ukrainian Dance usually encompasses from different regions of Ukraine.
“And that’ll look a little bit similar but also a little bit different, depending where you are geographically in the country,” said Sereda.
There were dances from western, central and eastern Ukraine.
There were 330 people in attendance.
The night featured Calgary-based band Absolute, a personalized shot glass station, and an online silent auction that was open to the public and hasitems from Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, and the Lethbridge Hurricanes, as well as items such as gift certificates, traditional Ukrainian pattern dishes, and wine baskets.