Make way for Malanka

By DAWN BOOTH, Connect Weekly


The Fort McMurray Ukrainian Cultural Society and Avrora Dancers are ready for Malanka with an evening planned of world-class trained performers and a fancy feast.

According to the Julian calendar, Malanka takes place worldwide on January 13 to celebrate the Ukrainian New Year’s Eve. Locally, this year’s festi val is scheduled at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre on Saturday, January 16.

Nancy Slukynski has been Vice President of the Society’s executive committee for the past two years and has been busily working with organizers for the upcoming event.

“Malanka is one of those unique events that allows our neighbours and friends to join us to enjoy upbeat displays of dancing, a feast – including traditional Ukrainian fare – and a family-friendly dance,” said Slukynski.

Being celebrated for more than 35 years in Fort McMurray, this year’s festival will feature six groups of Avrora dancers. Dancers of all ages will be dressed in custom-made costumes from the Ukraine and perform a number of dance styles from different regions around Eastern Europe.

New to the local Malanka event will be some seasonal Ukrainian songs performed by members of the Society.

“Attending the Malanka is an opportunity to ring in the New Year in a unique, culturally-rich way,” she said. “For those who do not have Ukrainian roots, this is a great way to learn and be a part of the celebration.

For those who may not have had an opportunity to celebrate Christmas or New Years in Wood Buffalo, it is an opportunity to connect with local friends and family. The dance floor will be filled with many generations, dancing their way into 2016 and everyone is welcome.”

The meal will be prepared by the chefs of the Sawridge Inn, which will also include servings of handmade perogies, cabbage rolls and a traditional dish called kutia (a wheat, poppy seed and honey mixture). Kutia is symbolic in the Ukrainian culture for peace, prosperity and good health.

Door will open at 5:30 p.m. with the dance presentation beginning at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m. The event will also include a silent auction, a raffle and a 50/50 draw.

Ticket prices are $75 for guests aged 16+, $30 for youth aged six to 15 and $15 for children between the ages two and five. Children two and under are free.

To purchase tickets, call or text Oksana at 780-880-0391. For information, visit the Fort McMurray Avrora Dancer’s Facebook page.