Shumka is pleased to announce that former Artistic Director John Pichlyk was honoured at the 68th Annual City of Edmonton Salute to Excellence Awards at a ceremony June 10, 2019 at the Winspear Centre for Music. John was officially inducted into Edmonton’s Arts and Cultural Hall of Fame in the Artist/Builder category. The Hall of Fame was established in 1986 to honour outstanding individuals and groups whose work in arts and culture has brought recognition to the city.
John Pichlyk has been a dancer, choreographer, artistic director, and most recently artistic chair and mentor with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, representing Edmonton to audiences throughout the world. “Looking back, being able to serve in all of these roles has left me with a deep sense of gratitude and self-fulfillment,” said John.
John’s personal tie to his Ukrainian background began with the immigration of his grandparents to Canada. His deep respect for his culture is the result of a childhood that freely celebrated the customs and traditions of his heritage.
Lacking the opportunity in his small hometown of Dauphin, Manitoba, John started dancing relatively late. But, joining the Shumka Dancers in 1976 changed everything. “Shumka was really a good fit — one could participate in the exciting evolution of Ukrainian dance, watching its expressive movement firmly solidify a place in Edmonton’s dynamic arts community. For 30 years, it has been a labour of love. You surround yourself with people who have the same passion and it’s not work. Shumka is definitely the vehicle that has allowed me to express who I am,” he added.
“Shumka is so proud of John and this well-deserved honour. He pushed the envelope of Ukrainian dance and made it relevant to today… his vision is respected across Canada and in Ukraine,” noted Shumka Executive Director Darka Tarnawsky.
Shumka is Canada’s only professional Ukrainian dance company and one of the country’s largest and oldest dance ensembles. The organization is celebrating its 60th Anniversary Season in 2019-2020.