I am a writer from St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada who’s been a Ukrainian dancer for 20 years and an instructor for seven years. In 2010, I joined Troyanda Ukrainian Dance Ensemble based in Selkirk, Manitoba. Our group has travelled and performed in Canada, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Ukraine.
Dance was my introduction to Ukrainian culture, inspiring me to learn more about the music, traditions, and language. I visited Ukraine in 2014 and met some of my relatives for the first time. I've been thinking about the trip ever since, dreaming about when I would be back.
Three years later in August 2017, I found myself there again, travelling across Ukraine, training with professional dance ensembles for two months at a time before moving on to the next city. I arrived back in Canada July 2018, but you can catch up on my travels on my blog where I continue to share stories from my year in Ukraine. While abroad, I also wrote a monthly column focusing on a Canadian's take on the Ukrainian lifestyle for What's On Kyiv, an English magazine based in Ukraine.
I graduated in 2015 from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of science before attending Red River College to study journalism. My work has appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC Manitoba, Metro Winnipeg, and weekly newspapers in Manitoba's Interlake and surrounding areas.
In March 2017, I published my book, Planted: Stories From Manitoba's Natural World. More than 120 people attended the launch, and it was number one on the McNally Robinson bestsellers list.