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Shumka takes seniors dance class to the world wide web
EDMONTON -- A celebrated Edmonton Ukrainian dance company is proving that you’re never too old to still get some kicks out of life. Shumka is teaching an online class called “Seniors Can Shumka” where the 60-and-up crowd can replicate some of the company’s famous moves no matter if they’ve danced before or not.
“So long as people are moving and active they’re still getting the general sense of Ukrainian dancing and the feel of the dance,” says Tasha Orysiuk, Shumka’s creative director.
The program started in 2016 with classes being taught in studio, but when COVID-19 hit the sessions were moved online. The first thing covered was to how to move your way around a computer and Zoom.
“I actually did a trial run with my groups just to make sure people knew how to log on, how to mute themselves and how to turn their camera on,” says Orysiuk.
The dancers spend time learning how to connect the steps they’re taught but they’re also interested in connecting with each other.
“The social interaction is huge,” says Orysiuk. “We’ve had to book in a 15-minute coffee break before class because everyone wants to visit and that’s part of it.”
Orysiuk says the style of dance that Shumka teaches is ideal for beginners to take part in because it’s a form of folk dancing.
“Folk dancing was always for people so it’s a kind of dancing you want everyone to be able to do,” she says. “It should be easy enough for people to learn the basic version then take it to a level that’s harder.”
And even though it’s difficult for students in “Seniors Can Shumka” to take it to the high-flying levels of the professional company, the class will still have people hopping.
“We work hard. I’m not easy on these seniors. I work them. We get our cardio in that’s for sure,” Orysiuk says with a laugh,
The online dance classes are offered every Wednesday through the Shumka dance studio.