DANCE: Shumka returns to China for mammoth tour

OK, so a bunch of Edmontonians dancing like Ukrainians are going to troop across 13 cities to entertain millions of Chinese?

Holy Canadiana, Captain Canuck!

Seriously, how much more wonderfully multicultural an announcement could you get on the week the Heritage Fest Kicks off (or “drips on”, the way the weather’s going) than a national tour of China by Edmonton’s Shumka.

“Performed by Shumka’s 40 talented dancers, SHUMKA at 50 will be a breathtakingly powerful production celebrating the artistic evolution of traditional dance in Canada, celebrated with the passionate people of China,” says a release from the troupe. “These productions marry the genre of Ukrainian dance with classical and contemporary movement to create dramatic storylines, which are recognized as distinctively Shumka-style.

In fact, while everyone thinks of Shumka as Ukrainian Dance, the troupe — which  is celebrating its 50th anniversary of amazing swings, spins, and kicks — is actually a hybrid of traditional movement and techniques and flourishes invented by Ukrainian Canadians, along with contemporary dance. So we’re not exaggerating on the whole “multicultural” thing.

It’s also the third time Shumka has visited China, after stops in 2004 and 2007. The tour begins Aug. 3 and runs through Sept. 14.