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Zirka's Philosophy and Mandate

Ukrainian dance today combines elements of traditional Ukrainian folk dance, costuming and music with contemporary styles of training and performing. Zirka's mandate is to offer a high quality Ukrainian dance training program while providing the dancer with a strong background in traditional and contemporary Ukrainian dance. This is achieved through in-class training and stage performance experiences.

We strive to create a fun and respectful Ukrainian dance environment with the highest priority placed upon developing the required skills of technique and performance. In the classroom students will gain positive self esteem, learn to work together in a cooperative team environment and enjoy the pleasure of performing. We share a family environment that is inspirational, educational, and encourages a spirit of interest in Ukrainian dance and the Ukrainian culture. Our instructor(s) take great pride in sharing their love of dance and our families demonstrate their support through volunteering and fundraising for various projects and events.

Programming

All classes will train using Shumka's Syllabus for Ukrainian Dance and additional training goals set by the Director of Zirka. The Director will create an artistic plan and goals for the organization. Approximately 50% of class time will be spent on training and the other 50% of the class will be spent on choreography. As performances and competitions approach, the balance of the class will shift more to choreography cleaning and less on training. As the program grows, classes may require additional programs and classes. The following will demonstrate the amount of dances each class will learn during the year as more emphasis will be placed on training and proper technique to compliment learning choreography.

Classes # of Dances Choreographed
Pre-Beginners 1
Beginners 1
Grades 1 - 4 1
Grades 5 - 6 2 or 3
Grades 7 - 9 2 or 3
Adult 1 2
Adult 2 2

Shumka Syllabus for Ukranian Dance

Shumka Syllabus for Ukrainian Dance is a fully researched and developed curriculum program that ensures correct advancement of dance skill and technique through 9 grades, and enhances the dance training process by:
  • Offering consistency in training
  • Providing logical progression from one level to the next
  • Standardizing the use of terminology
  • Standardizing the style and technique of steps and exercises
Throughout the year, dancers follow a pre-determined course of study, including set exercises at the barre, from the corner, and in the centre. These exercises are set to custom-orchestrated music. There are 9 grades of study. Each grade level has 2 components: a certificate and a diploma level. The certificate level is the basic exercises required to complete a given grade of the syllabus curriculum. The diploma level includes the basic exercises plus some additional challenging exercises. Most students will advance from one certificate level to another however it is common for some classes/students to spend more than one year at a particular grade to complete the secondary diploma level. A student starting the syllabus in grade 1 at 6 years of age will take 12-13 years to complete the entire 9 grade syllabus.

These training exercises complement the learning process and contribute to the overall long-term development of the dancer. In this manner, we ensure proper growth and critical skill development while providing students with a solid foundation of skills and knowledge in dance theatre, drama, and ethnography.