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Verkhovyna School of Dance Instructors

Jessie Balan

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Jessie began Ukrainian dance classes in Radway, Alberta at the age of 8. After dancing in Radway and Thorhild in rural Alberta and Yatran Ukrainian Dance Academy in Edmonton for a number of years, he began dancing with the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in Edmonton. Jessie has been with Volya since 2012. 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 teaches at different schools in Edmonton and the surrounding area, Jessie is thrilled to be back for his 6th year with Verkhovyna.

Natalia Iwaszko

With 28 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 announce that she has been fortunate to take part in four anniversary tours with the Verkhovyna Ensemble, mostly recently this summer 2019 to Georgia and Ukraine as co-director on the tour. Natalia has joined Dunai’s alumni club in 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 2018. 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 driven to learn variety styles of dance. From 2016-2018 she competitively salsa danced and placed 2nd and 3rd in small teams amateur and open divisions, at the World Salsa Summit in Miami, Florida. In 2017-2018, Natalia joined a competitive Hip Hop group.

Natalia is always looking for new and innovative ways to make dance and choreography fun to all the students. She is very excited for the new dance season and is looking forward to sharing her passion for dance with returning and 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 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 and 2017, his students nominated him for “Ukrainian Dance Instructor of the Year” by Ukrainian Dance World. Loren has been teaching with Verkhovyna for the past 10 years and is extremely excited to be back again to share his knowledge and passion of Ukrainian dancing with the students.


Breanne Lazarenko


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!

Alisha Handel

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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 three years and had the opportunity to travel to Spain with the ensemble in summer 2017 and Georgia and Ukraine in the summer of 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 second year of instructing and she is very excited to see what this year has to hold for her, and for her students!

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 and this is now her second year with Verkhovyna school. She is very excited for another great year of sharing her love for dance with the students.

Jordan Onyschuk

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Jordan has over 20 years of Ukrainian dance experience. He began as a young dancer with the St. Basils School of Ukrainian Dance and later moved to the Cheremosh School of Ukrainian Dance to eventually join the Cheremosh Ensemble. After 10 years of performing with Cheremosh, Jordan has recently joined the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble to continue pursuing his love of Ukrainian dance as a semi-professional dancer. Jordan discovered his passion for teaching dance while assistant instructing at the Cheremosh School of dance. He has since been teaching for 6 years, and is now thrilled to join the Verkhovyna School of Dance. An overall dance enthusiast, Jordan also enjoys doing hip hop dance. Jordan takes pride in his dedication to his work, and joy in watching his students succeed and find their own passion in the art of Ukrainian dance.

Ashley Mos


Ashley has over 17 years of Ukrainian dance experience, beginning dancing with Ardrossan Yatran Ukrainian Dancers and Sherwood Park School of Ballet at the age of 4! Ashley danced with Ardrossan Yatran for 12 years and took on an assistant instructor role for 5 of those years. She also danced with Nadiya Choreographic ensemble for 5 years. Ashley has now been dancing with Dunai Ukrainian Dancers for 3 and a half years! Over the years dancing has given Ashley the opportunity to travel the world to places such as Brazil, Spain, Ukraine and Georgia, as well as the opportunity to perform at many Ukrainian festivals across Canada. Ashley is excited to share her knowledge and love of dance with new dancers and is excited for the upcoming year!

Matthew Borys


Matthew started his dancing journey at a young age with the Ukrainian Shumka School of Dance, where he learned Ukrainian dance, later Ballet and Contemporary dancing. Matthew began his passion for teaching dance as a junior instructor with SSD in 2014, later an assistant instructor in 2017, to present date. He has also assisted at various Shumka Summer Dance Camps throughout the years. Matthew is a Certified Instructor with the Shumka Dance Syllabus Academy. He has continued to expand his knowledge for Ukrainian dance, by taking part in the Ukrainian Dance Instructor Conference (UDIC) in 2014, 2015 and 2018, where he learned a greater understanding of both the technical and regional aspects of Ukrainian dance. Matthew also completed the 2017 Shumka Workshop Series under the instruction of Mrs. Anna Kanevets, where he further expanded his knowledge and understanding of Ukrainian dance through regional, costuming, and history. Matthew joined The Ukrainian Shumka Dancers in 2015 and is currently a proud member of the company, and has had the opportunity to travel and perform with various productions throughout Canada over the years. His favorite regions of Ukrainian dance is Central Ukraine, Volyn, and Hutsul’shchyna. Matthew looks forward to teaching with Verkhovyna School of Dance this year.