Ukrainian Dance World has launched the first annual 'Ukrainian Dance Instructor of the Year' nomination in order to give dancers an opportunity to give back to their dance instructors and acknowledge those, around the world, who support and promote Ukrainian culture through Ukrainian Dance!


However, one instructor received the most passioned endorsements of all. Ladies and Gentlemen, Vitali Sorokotiaguine has been recognized as the 2014 Ukrainian Dance Instructor of the Year!


Congratulations Vitali of the Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble and to all the nominees. A big thanks to everyone who wrote to us with your nominations.


ARCHIVE - 2014

Danielle Adada Oresten

Folclore Ucraniano Sonhachnek, Cascavel, Paraná, Brazil

Danielle’ s biggest example is Virsky, she knows all the dances and admires the Company, already traveled to watch them and had the honor of know the dancer Andrey Demeshchuk; He was her teacher at the Choreographers Training Lecture, in 2013, and after at the workshop carried out in Cascavel with Sonhachnek.

Danielle is the solo dancer of Sonhachnek Ukrainian Dance Group when it comes to turns and she is an example for all the other group members.

Trish Bayrock

Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Trish has many years of experience in Ukrainian dance and her technique is flawless and graceful.  She is always finding music directly from Ukraine, or from around Canada.  She loves to delve into regional studies and bring out the tradition of the region through beautiful dances.
She is truly kind hearted and loves all of her students.  She somehow finds the energy to motivate 35+ adults, and she also teaches kids at St. Basil's!  Trish is adored and loved by all and th group would not make it without her.


Slawka Bobesky

Odesa Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Syracuse, NY, USA


After dancing with the group as a child, she continues as the director of Odesa Ukrainian Dance Ensemble for more than 30 years. Thanks to Pani Slawka - all ODESA members know, it is more than just technique that makes you a Ukrainian dancer. The ODESA Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Syracuse has been in existence for over 60 years and provides a program that promotes pride in our national heritage through song and dance. Currently, ODESA consists of 60 dancers in designated groups from 5 to 25 years of age. The dancers enjoy performing and entertaining throughout the region at various festivals, museums, libraries, colleges,and the New York State Fair.


Adam Breckner

Barveenok Ukrainian Dance Club, Prince Albert, SK, Canada


Adam Breckner began Ukrainian dancing at a young age in Meacham Saskatchewan.

It was clear that he was a passionate and talented dancer from the beginning and that he would continue to follow his passion. At the age of 16, Adam joined the Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble; he is currently performing with them.

Adam decided to share his love for dance by teaching all over Saskatchewan. He has been teaching for the Svoboda Dancers in North Battleford for five years and the Prince Albert Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers for three years. He has also just recently started teaching for the Saskatoon School of Dance and the Wakaw Ukrainian Dancers.

Jennifer Doroniuk

Zavirukha Ukrainian Dance School; Verba Ukrainian Dance Company, Winnipeg, MB, Canada


Jenn is the director and instructor at Zavirukha Ukrainian Dance School in Winnipeg.  Jenn teaches a diverse group of students, from very young to the very young at year (adult focused group ages 20s, 30s, 40s, + )  She is a dedicated director, instructor, friend and role model to all of her students, dance school staff and the Ukrainian community.  She always wants to positively and accurately showcase Ukrainian Dance. She also dedicates her time and energy in teaching at another local Manitoba dance school and dancing herself with Verba Ukrainian Dance Company.

Jenn, as an instructor, keeps a class friendly, with  a fun attitude, combined with a hard work.

Natalia Iwaszko

Verkhovyna Dance School, Edmonton, AB, Canada

With over 20 years of Ukrainian dance experience, Natalia’s very first dance lessons began at the Verkhovyna Dance School. For the past 11 years, Natalia has been performing and touring with the Dunai Ukrainian Dancers.

With Dunai Ukrainian Dancers she has performed throughout Canada, Costa Rica, Eastern Europe and U.S.A. Natalia has had the pleasure of being part of 3 anniversary tours with the Verkhovyna Ensemble and most recently toured this summer 2014 to South America. She also is an active member on the Verkhovyna Executive. Natalia’s passion for dance and music also includes salsa dance training and becoming a Zumba instructor. 

Danya Karras

AUUC Vancouver School of Dance, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Danya began dancing at the AUUC School of Dance at age 3 and began her ballet training at age 6 at Ballet Classique in Burnaby. She then continued with the Vaganova method at Pacific DanceArts under the direction of Mr. Li Yaming, where she was enrolled in the half-day pre-professional program.

At Pacific DanceArts, she had the opportunity to perform in solo shows and in concerts en pointe.

By 11, Danya was assisting classes at the AUUC School of Dance, and by 15 she was teaching her own classes and dancing with the Dovbush Dancers, the senior performing group of the AUUC.

Chris & Debbie Koper

Parkland Ukrainian Dancers Society, Stony Plain, AB, Canada

Debbie Koziak-Koper began her dance training at the young age of three with St. Basil’s Parish in Edmonton, and then spent many years under the tutelage of Chester Kuc in the UNF Dance School & Junior Cheremosh. Her performing career culminated with the renowned Ukrainian Cheremosh Dance Ensemble under the direction of Rick Wacko. She has benefited from the opportunity to take Ukrainian, Character & Ballet classes from numerous other instructor/choreographers as well - most notably Maria Mitrache-Bokor, Roma Pryma Bohachevsky and Nikolai Zukovin. 

Her teaching career began independently, then progressed to St. Basil’s with the Ukrainian Cultural Association. In 1983 she took over the instruction of Stony Plain Ukrainian Dancers which then became Parkland Ukrainian Dancers as it is known today. In the past 31 years with PUDS Debbie has taught over 474 dancers aged three to adult.  

Chris & Debbie Koper

Parkland Ukrainian Dancers Society, Stony Plain, AB, Canada

Chris Koper started his dance career at the ripe old age of four. Like many Ukrainian Dancers at the time, he started at St. Basil’s Parish in Edmonton and completed his formal training with the Ukrainian Cheremosh Dance Ensemble at the age of 28. Chris has attended numerous seminars throughout North America and as far away as Ukraine. He has adjudicated dance competitions across Alberta. 

At the age of 13, Chris began teaching Ukrainian Dance at the Balwin Community League. Prior to joining PUDS in 1990, Chris taught at Evansdale, St. Basil’s Kupalo & Alberta Zirka Ukrainian Dancers in Calmar.

Andrea Malysh

Sadok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Kamsack, SK, Canada


Andrea is the founder of the Sadok Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and along with her dynamic energy, she brings with her extensive experience. With twenty Ukrainian dance theatre productions to her credit, Ms. Malysh continues to entertain and educate audiences about her Ukrainian Canadian heritage. Through thirty years of Ukrainian folk dance and ethnographic studies, Andrea has had the privilege to work with professional instructors and regional experts in Canada, Australia and Ukraine.

In 2006, she was awarded a diploma from the School of Choreography at the Virsky National Dance Company and the National University of Arts and Culture in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukrainian dance to Andrea is a way of life. The Ukrainian Canadian history is presented on stage through dance theatre and authentic Ukrainian costumes.

Gregory Momot

Kalynonka, Unist, Barvinok Ukrainian Dancers, Stamford, CT, USA


Melanie Moravski Dechnicz

Lehenda Ukrainian Dance Company, Melbourne, Australia

Melanie has studied with many renowned Ukrainian choreographers including Mykola Kanevets, Sergei Zubatov, Sergei Makarov and Valery Debelyy. She danced and studied with, Ukraine’s most prestigious dance company in Kyiv in 2001. In 2009 Melanie was awarded with the title Merited (Performing) Artist of Ukraine by the Ukrainian President. 

Melanie is a Ukrainian Character Teacher and Choreographer. She currently teaches at the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet and has taught at dance ensembles and schools nationally and internationally, including The Australian Ballet School Summer School, The Roma Pryma Bohachevsky Ukrainian Dance Workshop, Patrick Studios Australia, The Space Dance and Arts Centre, Veselka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Zahrava Ukrainian Dance Ensemble - CYM Sydney, Lastivka Ukrainian Dance Ensemble - CYM Geelong. Melanie is the former Artistic Director of Verchovyna Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and School (Ukrainian Youth Association Melbourne) of 9 years. Under Melanie’s guidance Verchovyna become the largest semi professional Ukrainian Dance Company in Australia. Melanie has written her own Ukrainian Dance Syllabus and has created and staged numerous dance works Verchovyna, including numerous performances nationally and internationally. She is currently working on a new work titled ‘Kazka’.

Cathy Paroschy Harris

Chaban Ukrainian Dancers, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada

Cathy has been passionate about Ukrainian dance and culture throughout her life. She arrived in Thunder Bay in 1984 and joined Chaban (originally Veselka) and by the 1986 dance season, had become its artistic director, drawing on her experience teaching Ukrainian dance in Guelph (Tyrsa), St. Catharine’s (Dunai) and her hometown of Welland (Vesnyanka). 

Cathy is certified as Ballet Master Coach/ Choreographer from the Ukrainian Academy of Dance of Lviv, Ukraine. She graduated from the Shumka School of Dance (Edmonton), and has been trained in ballet, as well as both Ukrainian dance and folklore, at workshops in Canada, the U.S. and Ukraine. As a teacher and choreographer, she has directed hundreds of performances locally, nationally and internationally. As a dancing ambassador, she has taken Ukrainian dancing to local schools, to stretch breaks at national conferences, to enhance repertoire of vocal ensembles, to countless seminars, workshops and community events. She is a true advocate of everything Ukrainian. In 2000 she was the recipient of the Citizen’s of Exceptional Achievement Award, and in 2012 she received the  Spirit of Thunder Bay Award for her 25 years of leadership, innovation and volunteerism in the community at the helm of Chaban.

Leo Piasta

North Dakota Ukrainian Dance Association Summer Camp, Dickinson, ND, USA


Every July in Dickinson, ND the North Dakota Ukrainian Dance Association, (NDUDA), holds a Ukrainian Summer Camp where participants ages 4-adult learn the arts and history of the Ukrainian culture.  Participants ages 4-13 spend their day in various classes on Ukrainian art, history, language and dance, while participants 13-adult end their evenings in dance class.  The 13 year old students participate in both the day and evening classes in order to prepare for their "Rite of Passage" and transition into the adult ensemble.  At the culmination of the two weeks the students perform in a fully produced show in traditional costuming during the North Dakota Ukrainian Festival. 

Leo Piasta can make all the little five year olds dance without a fuss, and that is  not always an easy thing to do! He makes dance class an awesome place to be with all his jokes and smiles and a positive attitude. 

Tamara Pitts

Tropak Ukrainian Dance Theatre, Richmond, BC; Kvitka Ukrainian Dancers, Surrey, BC, Canada

After years of dancing and being involved in many different groups. She has trained in many styles of dance, attended a dance school in Florida, and has been to many workshops all over Canada and Ukraine. Her training and beautiful choreography has brought Kvitka and Tropak Ukrainian Dance Groups from British Columbia to a brand new level of performing.  She is very devoted to her work and groups are excited to see all she will bring them in the future.

Jason Sliva

Sadok Ukrainian Dance Club, Kamsack, SK; Calder Yalenka Ukrainian Dancers, Calder, SK, Canada


Jason Sliva of Yorkton is a Tier 1 certified Ukrainian dance instructor whose objective is to create a fun, positive and productive environment for his students, while helping to preserve Ukrainian culture and traditions.

Even as the youngest member, Jason brings a broad range of professional and educational experience to the UCC-SPC Board.

Vitali Sorokotiaguine

Yevshan Ukrainian Folk Ballet Ensemble, Vesnianka Academy of Ukrainian Dance, Saskatoon, SK, Canada


Vitali Sorokotiaguine was Ballet Master and Regisseur with the Nadzbruchanka Dance Ensemble in Ternopil, Ukraine prior to making his home in Canada. Prior to joining Nadzbruchanka, Mr. Sorokotiaguine studied at the Melitopil Cultural Institute, directed the Molodist Dance Ensemble in Zaporizhia and was a dancer/soloist with the Odessa Region Song and Dance Ensemble.

Vitali Sorokotiaguine is known throughout Western Canada as a talented Artistic Director who is dedicated to the preservation of Ukrainian dance. Mr. Sorokotiaguine was honoured by Dance Saskatchewan, as someone whose accomplishments have changed the landscape of dance in Saskatchewan.

Tânia Maria André Tymus

Grupo Folclórico Ucraniano Kalena, União da Vitória, Parana, Brazil

Formed in Pedagogy with post graduation in the area of Education, working with children from public schools and private schools.
His great-grandparents emigrated from Ukraine to Brazil in the early twentieth century.
As a child participated in the religious and cultural activities of the Ukrainian community União da Vitória.
Tânia began to dance in  Ukrainian Dance Group Kalena in 1984 .
After that she did a series of dance courses, ranging from Ukrainian to ballet, including those withCanadian dancer Orecia, Roma Pryma Bohachevsky, Tadeu Ribeiro etc.
Tânia always does her work with much love, much pride and without remuneration, always being patient with each of the members of the Group Kalena, as they all are amateurs. She always seeks way to develop and improve and encourages dancers to do their best, regardless of their innate abilities.
In 2010, along with Kalena Group, Tânia performed in the cities of Lviv and Sambir (Ukraine) and the city of Baltimore (USA).

Walter Yurcheniuk

Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Saturday School


"Pan Walter/Vlodko" began his Ukrainian dancing career when he was only 6 years old, and performed with various groups such as "Lyman Ukrainian Dancers" and "Chaika Ukrainian Dance Ensemble".  He was mentored by such instructors as Vasil Avramenko.  In November 1969, he formed his own Ukrainian dance group "Barvinok" in Passaic, NJ under the Ukrainian American Youth Association Passaic Branch.  Throughout the following 33 years, he formed and/or choreographed for other groups such as: "Volya Ukrainian Dancers" in Carteret, NJ (1972, 33 years), "Chaika Ukrainian Dance Ensemble" and "Kalyna Ukrainian Dancers" and junior dance groups for the Ukrainian American Youth Association Yonkers, NY Branch (14 years), and for other various classes/groups in Passaic, Carteret, New Brunswick, Bound Brook, Clifton, Whippany, Alpine, and New York City.

Teaching Ukrainian Dance was not his only passion, however.  Walter's Ukrainian pride burned deeply within and proudly exposed his culture as much as he possibly could.  He constantly scouted around to find performances for his dancers, including:  International Celebration at the NY World Trade Center #1 Opening, President Lynden B. Johnson's Birthday Celebration in Atlantic City (1967), Ukrainian Festival USA at the Garden State Arts Center (various years for President Ronald Regan and Governor Thomas H. Kean), at the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly New York City, NY (1995), and other various local and Tri-State community appearances.  Even today, he continues to proudly spread his love of Ukrainian Dance by attending various festivals and performances and encouraging Ukrainians of all ages to continue learning the art of Ukrainian Dance.

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