The holidays are technically over for the majority of us, but with Ukrainian Christmas starting up this week, you can get back in the holiday spirit—at least for a little while.
Clara’s Dream is being remounted by Canada’s Ukrainian Shumka Dancers in collaboration with Virsky—The Ukrainian State Folk Dance Company—and The Kyiv Ballet. The production puts a Ukrainian folk spin on Tchaikovsky’s classic Nutcracker through the incorporation of Ukrainian Christmas traditions, dance and symbolism blended throughout the story.
Jordan Mah, who will perform in Clara’s Dream with the Shumka dancers as part of the core background, has been dancing in various styles for 14 years and has been part of Shumka for the past three. He is among a handful of Shumka dancers who are not of Ukrainian descent, but says he has had no trouble becoming part of the tight-knit group.
“It’s just a completely different feel from what I’m used to in the dance world. It’s super family oriented, so I feel so at home every time I walk into the studio,” says Mah, who was introduced to the Shumka dance style while studying at Dance Unlimited under the tutelage of Doug Rachinski, who created the syllabus used by the Shumka dancers. “For the past three years before I joined Shumka I was really focusing on singing and acting to mainstream myself towards musical theatre, so [I'm] getting back and learning a new style and kind of being tested dance-wise, because I’ve always been a dancer my entire life. It was a refreshing change.”
Mah, who is of Chinese descent, joined Shumka right before the company travelled to China to tour its production, Shumka at 50—presented in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
“Shumka’s been to China before to tour other shows, other productions, and so they’ve been really interested in having us back to perform and tour there,” he says, adding the production has also travelled to Toronto, Winnipeg and is on its way to Thunder Bay. “It was fantastic and it’s still going; we’re still on our quest to get 50 shows done for Shumka at 50.”
Fri, Jan 10 and Sat, Jan 11
Northern Jubilee Auditorium, $34.65 – $84.65