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Poltava brings celebration of Ukraine to Estevan

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The Poltava Ensemble of Music and Dance brought their celebration of Ukrainian culture to the Estevan Comprehensive School on May 4. Dancers donned traditional Ukrainian outfits, and performed well-choreographed numbers, with the music provided by a live orchestra.

Anastasiya Shved hasn't been able to walk away from the Poltava Ensemble of Music and Dance – a Regina-based group whose concerts offer a celebration of Ukrainian culture.

And on May 3, Shved and the other members of Poltava performed at the Estevan Comprehensive School, in front of about 300 people. Many of the audience members are friends of Shved, who has lived in Estevan for about two years.

Shved moved to Regina 11 years ago from her native Ukraine, and quickly joined Poltava. She remains committed to the group, even though she now lives in Estevan, and has a busy work schedule as an engineer with the carbon capture and storage project at SaskPower's Boundary Dam Power Station.

She travels to Regina every Sunday for practices.

“The energy in the group is such that after 10 years, and (despite) moving to Estevan, and living in Estevan for two years, I still can't quit,” Shved told Lifestyles.

Shved said she decided to join Poltava because a friend of hers was part of the ensemble.

“It seemed to be fitting, and I decided to try it out,” said Shved. “For some reason, I had never done it in Ukraine, so this was quite new to me, but I really enjoyed it.”

The crowd that gathered in Estevan for Poltava's performance was treated to a show that featured a variety of Ukrainian music. Male and female dancers sported colourful and often dazzling outfits, and demonstrated impeccable choreography in their routines.

A live orchestra, conducted by Natalia Osypenko, supplied the music for the dancers.

The Poltova dancers performed eight numbers, and the Pre-Poltova dancers had a routine as well. Vocalist Guennadi Ostrikov performed three solos. The orchestra played selections when the dancers weren't on the stage.

Shved says she loves the response from the crowd when they see Poltava's performances, regardless of whether it's at a concert like the one in Estevan, or if it's at an event like the Mosaic cultural festival in Regina.

“Every year at Mosaic, I'm thinking 'Okay, maybe this is enough, maybe I should try something new,'” she said. “But every time, when I step on the stage, I get this big energy, and I can't quit.”

Many of her co-workers at SaskPower told her they wanted to see her perform, which led to the concert in Estevan.

“I told them that we have performances in Regina, so please come out,” said Shved. “But I understand it's a little difficult for them to travel, so I thought 'Why wouldn't we (Poltava) come here,' and because there was such a big interest, it was possible for us to do this.”

Poltava boasts about 50 performers; about half of the members are dancers and the other half are musicians. Additional people are involved in behind-the-scenes capacities.

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