Malanka event marks Norquay Rosa Dancers 40th year

The 15th annual Malanka celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the Norquay Rosa Ukrainian Dance Club was a sold out success, according to organizers.

Held at the Norquay Communiplex on January 18, Malanka is the banquet and dance celebration of the Ukrainian New Year. The banquet portion began with the guests being welcomed by the Senior Group, who performed a Pryvitannya (Welcome Dance), with two of the youngest members presenting the Kolach (braided bread) and salt, first to the audience and then to a grandparent: Jasper Unterschutte to his Baba (grandmother), Faye Petryshyn, and Lexi Wright to her Gido (grandfather), Tom Grywacheski.

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This practice dates back through the centuries, with the bread representing hospitality, and the salt, eternal friendship. During the banquet, the Group 4 dancers also went from table to table to offer the “Kolach”, inviting each guest to partake as a further personal welcome, said Kaeley Kish, an organizer and Club member.

The anniversary program featured guest speakers presenting memories of the Club during the past four decades, along with a slideshow presentation. For each decade, the speakers acknowledged the alumni dancers and had them stand up and be recognized.

Linda Kreklewetz, who had been an active member in the 1980s, shared memories of the Club from when it first began, along with slides from that time frame. Jackie Polowich was the next presenter, for the decade of the 1990s; Sandy Turta for the 2000s, and Lilia Livingstone, a current member, presented on the decade of 2010-19.

Following the presentations, the younger Club members, paired with an older dancer, scattered kernels of wheat on each table, while the rest of the club members recited a verse of good wishes in a tradition called "Za Sivannya,” the figurative sowing of blessings on the household with the grains of wheat. A similar historic practice occurred with Ukrainian carollers in the past, going from door to door, singing carols and scattering wheat kernels into the homes, signifying “Happy New Year and good luck,” explained Livingstone.

 “The Rosa Dance Club is so grateful for the people who support it, and the camaraderie of its members,” Kish said. “It was a thrill to have so many people come together and collaborate on the 40th anniversary tribute and share so many great memories. The evening was a lot of fun.”

The program also featured the Club showcase of dances performed by each Group, as follows: Group 1 and 3--Poltava; Group 2--Hutzul; Group 4--Transcarpathian, and Group 5 and the Adults performed Bukovynian dances.

“With 12 Adult dancers and 37 in Groups 1 to 5, the Club has a total of 49 dancers this year,” Kish, club vice-president, said. “It is very exciting to have such an active Ukrainian Dance Club, and to have so many younger members. The support from the community, now and over the decades, is very much appreciated.”

The program also included a performance by guest dancers from the Sturgis Barveenok Club, and the evening began with Ed Maga of Benito greeting attendees at the door, playing traditional music on his accordion. A silent auction of donated prizes raised around $600 for the Club, and the 50/50 draw of over $800 was won by Ken Lozinski.

Marko Metrunec with Marko's Music of Leoville, supplied the music for the dance which rounded out the evening. “Those in attendance enjoyed the dance which followed the supper and program. Marko had people up on their feet with his great selection of music, and his capable assistance with the Kolomeyka (dance),” Kish concluded.