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Verkhovyna School of Dance Instructors

Jessie Balan

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Jessie has 13 years of dance experience, beginning Ukrainian dance classes in Radway, Alberta at the age of 8. After dancing at Ukrainian dance schools around Alberta for a number of years, he began dancing with the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in Edmonton, who he has been with for the past four years. With Volya, Jessie has had the privilege of being a cast member for the ensemble's 25th Anniversary, as well as the ensemble's tours to the U.K., Greece and Colombia. While he enjoys traveling with Volya; Jessie is glad to back on home soil teaching at Verkhovyna for his 3rd year.

Mitchell Wengreniuk

Mitchell comes from a background of over 17 years of Ukrainian dancing experience, and currently dances with Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. Although Mitchell is passionate about Ukrainian dancing his interests do not end there, growing up playing hockey, lacrosse, volleyball and golf Mitchell realizes the importance of balance and being active. Mitchell also enjoys traveling especially with Volya, in 2015 Mitchell toured to Greece where they performed for different audiences across the country. Mitchell is excited to be returning to Verkhovyna, to share his knowledge and passion of dance with the next generation of dancers.

Natalia Iwaszko


With over 25 years of Ukrainian dance experience, Natalia’s very first dance lessons began at the Verkhovyna Dance School. For the past 14 years, Natalia has been performing and touring with the Dunai Ukrainian Dancers. Her training in Ukrainian Dance is comprised of a wide variety of local and international instructors. Since 2003, Natalia has been a member of Dunai and the Verkhovyna Ensemble and has travelled the world, performing in North America to South America, Costa Rica and Eastern Europe and most recently travelling to Spain this past summer. Natalia has experience teaching both children and adults, including Zumba instructing and private dance instruction. She also has training in the Shumka Dance Syllabus Academy and has attended workshops in Tier 1 - Syllabus for Ukrainian Dance.  For the past 7 years, she has been instructing at the Verkhovyna Ukrainian Dance School. She has had the pleasure of getting to know all the dancers in the school and has seen their progression and growth over the years. She has travelled with the school to many competitions and various dance performance venues including Disneyland in 2016 and partaking at the Disney Performing Arts. In 2014 and 2015, she was recognized for her hard work and dedication, and was nominated by her students for “Ukrainian Dance Instructor of the Year” by Ukrainian Dance World. Throughout her dance career, Natalia’s passion for dance and music continues to grow and is continuously learning different styles of dance. Her latest accomplishment in 2016, is competing in her very first salsa dance competition and placing second in the small teams amateur division, with Salsa Vitus Dance Company, at the World Salsa Summit in Miami, Florida. Natalia is very excited for the new dance season and is looking forward to meeting all the new students to the school. Her expertise and enthusiasm for dance are great addition to the instructional team.


Loren Winnick


Loren has been Ukrainian dancing for twenty four years. Currently he is a member of the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble where he has performed in Turkey, Portugal, France, Great Britain, Greece, Colombia and most recently Croatia this past summer. Previously he danced for nine years with Kupalo Ukrainian Dance Ensemble where he performed throughout Canada, Western U.S.A., Ireland, Ukraine and Scotland. Loren has been teaching with Verkhovyna for the past 8 years and is extremely excited to be back again to share his knowledge and passion of Ukrainian dancing with the students.


Breanne Lazarenko


With 19 years of dance experience, Breanne began her dance career at Verkhovyna Dance School at the age of 4. After, she danced with Volya for five years until joining Dunai in 2007. For the past ten years, Breanne has performed with Dunai and enjoys spreading her love for Ukrainian dance around the world. Dancing with Dunai has given Breanne the opportunity to travel to Eastern Euope, South America, New York, Spain and several place in Canada.  In addition, Breanne has held several executive positions with the Verkhovyna Executive team including Vice President, Fundraising Coordinator, and Secretary. Breanne is very excited to join the Verkhovyna Dance School as an instructor and can't wait to share her love for Ukrainian dance with her students!

Caitlin Lazarenko

Caitlin started her dance career at the age of three at Verkhovyna School of Dance. She danced with Verkhovyna for 9 years and then moved her dance career to Veetrez Dance School. She then expanded her love for dance and began dancing jazz and lyrical. She currently is a part of Dunai, and has been a member for the past 6 years. Being a part of Dunai has given Caitlin opportunities to travel the world, from New York, to South America, and most recently Europe. This is her first year instructing and she is very excited to teach and showcase her knowledge of dance.