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Verkhovyna School of Dance Instructors

Jessie Balan

Jessie has 16 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, Colombia and Croatia. While he enjoys traveling with Volya; Jessie is glad to back on home soil teaching at Verkhovyna School.

Mitchell Wengreniuk

Mitchell comes from a background of over 20 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; Mitchell toured to Greece, Colombia and Croatia 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

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With 27 years of Ukrainian dance experience, Natalia’s very first dance lessons began at the Verkhovyna Dance School. For the past 15 years, she has been performing and touring with Dunai Ukrainian Dancers and the Verkhovyna Ensemble throughout the world across North and South America, Europe and Costa Rica. Natalia is proud to have joined Dunai’s alumni club this summer 2018 and has taken on new role acting as an Assistant to the Artistic Director of Dunai. Her training in Ukrainian Dance is comprised of a wide variety of local and international instructors. She 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.  Natalia began teaching at Verkhovyna Dance School in 2009. 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 traveled with the school to many competitions and various dance performance venues including Disneyland in 2016 and recently this summer 2018 to partake 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 she is driven to learn variety styles of dance. She has been competitively salsa dancing for the past 3 consecutive years with Salsa Vitus. At the World Salsa Summit, in Miami, Florida, the team placed 2nd and 3rd in small teams amateur and open divisions. Her latest project is to learn a new style of dance - hip hop. Natalia is very excited for the new dance season and is looking forward to sharing her passion for dance to all the students! Her expertise and enthusiasm for dance are great addition to the instructional team.

 

Loren Winnick

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Loren has been Ukrainian dancing for over twenty five 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 Croatia. Previously he danced for nine years with Kupalo Ukrainian Dance Ensemble where he performed throughout Canada, Western U.S.A., Ireland, Ukraine and Scotland. He has traveled with the school to many competitions and various dance performance venues including Disneyland this summer 2018 to partake at the Disney Performing Arts. In 2016, his students nominated him for “Ukrainian Dance Instructor of the Year” by Ukrainian Dance World. Loren has been teaching with Verkhovyna for the past 9 years and is extremely excited to be back again to share his knowledge and passion of Ukrainian dancing with the students.

 

Breanne Lazarenko

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With 20 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 be back 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 8 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 second year instructing and she is very excited to teach and showcase her knowledge of dance.

Alisha Handel

Alisha has more than 15 years of Ukrainian dance experience as she began dancing with Ardrossan Yatran Dancers when she was 5 years old till she was 18. Alisha has now been dancing with Dunai for two years and had the opportunity to travel to Spain with the ensemble in summer 2017 and future tours with the group including Georgia and Ukraine in 2019. Alisha is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Alberta and looks forward to gain experience teaching from this role as well as learning from her students. This is her first year of instructing and she is very excited to see what this year has to hold for her, and for her students!

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Katie Workun

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Katie started Ukrainian dancing at the young age of five. She began dancing with Volya School when she was seven and now dances with the Ensemble. Katie became interested in other forms of dance and was soon also training in Ballet (RAD and Cecchetti), Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and Hip Hop. Katie trained at Dance Alberta, Powerhouse Dance and Emerge Dance Academy. She traveled to Las Vegas to attend workshops and compete in West Coast Dance Explosion. She also performed with Fused in Disneyland. Katie has also had the opportunity to travel and perform with Volya in Columbia and Croatia. She found a passion for teaching and choreography at Victoria School of the Arts where she was a student in the International Baccalaureate Composition program. Katie teaches Ballet around Edmonton but this is her first time teaching Ukrainian dance. She is very excited to share her knowledge and love for dance with the student