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Culture Fuze back with Hawaiian beat

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

Culture Fuze Dance Festival is back for a second year at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose this weekend. File Photo/Camrose Canadian

Culture Fuze Dance Festival is back for a second year at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose this weekend. File Photo/Camrose Canadian

Culture Fuze returns for its second year with a Hawaiian twist. 

 

The Ukrainian Dance festival hosted by the Camrose Veselka Ukrainian Dance Society started last year as a way to grow the cultural dance in the region. While Eastern Alberta has strong Ukranian influences, Camrose has stronger Scandinavian roots, and the small club never had the opportunity to compete at home. This three-day competition this weekend at the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre gives them that platform. 

"They feel a sense of pride in being able to show off their town and their theatre and competing at this level with the groups that we've got coming," said organizer Tanya Pattullo. "it just shows that what we're doing in Camrose … is top notch. We're right up there with these groups. For our kids it shows that what they've been working so hard for is comparable to everyone else in the province." 

The competition is set up to infuse other cultural dances into the weekend as well. Last year dance troupes were introduced to more contemporary dance styles while this year Tracy "Kelika" Thorne based out of Edmonton will be running workshops teaching Hawaiian hula dancing and New Zealand Maori. Dancing. Vincent Rees will also be returning this year to adjudicate and run the Ukrainian dance workshop. 

"It's something a little different," said Pattullo. "This year we just keep reaching out to bring something different that they normally wouldn't get in a Ukrainian dance festival." 

There were also be social events for the dancers so they get the opportunity to interact with other clubs from across the province and share and learn from each other. 

Culture Fuze is the first major competition on the competitive Ukrainian dance circuit and serves a warm up for the rest of the season. After attracting 450 dancers and 15 clubs last year, this year they have 600 dancers and 19 registered clubs, including the Shumka School. It is a lot of growth for just one year of the competition. 

"It's great, it speaks a lot not only to our festival but to our theatre," said Pattullo. "We just got comment after comment last year about the theatre – it's made for dance – and the community as well. Everybody loved coming to Camrose … that's why they're coming back and that's why the word of mouth spread." 

The weekend also represents the one competition where the Veselka Dancers older members will get to compete. While they usually perform at recitals and other exhibitions, most dance they generally do not compete at other competitions. 

Culture Fuze will be running hot all weekend with though Friday and Saturday evening from 6:15 to 9 p.m. may be the best time to check out the major group competition while the weekend will conclude Sunday afternoon with their showcase. Culture Fuze runs from March 9-11.  

The competition is open to the public to come and watch while the lobby will feature Ukranian cultural and dance vendors. 

 

jaldrich@postmedia.com 

 



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