Story by Susan Hagens, photos by Iconic Images


The Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group have been winning awards for their performances and it is easy to see why. Last Saturday, they performed The Brotherhood of the Traveling Boots show, at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium. The story was adapted from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a novel and film about four best friends who are about to separate for the summer for the first time in their lives. The seats were filled with family and friends who clapped along in unison with the energetic, and entertaining show. Dancers of all ages, wearing the vibrant colours of authentic traditional costumes, were a treat to see.

The show told the story of four brother/cousins and was narrated with classic Ukrainian humour. The smiling faces of the dancers took the audience through cultural scenes and were filled with fun and laughter. Especially impressive were the athletic dance moves of the male dancers. The performance was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the dancers, teachers, executive, and volunteers of Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group. In their 34th year they’ve once again outdone themselves.

Dancer, Dushan Zuber, whose heritage is Croatian, encouraged anyone interested in Ukrainian dancing to join. He started dancing when he was four years old and has found that that the Chaban group has become like a family to him. Michelle Cvornjek noted “I like to show what we are capable of doing, showing the hidden gem of our roots through Ukrainian dancing.” With the image of swirling girls and leaping boys fresh in my mind, I can only imagine what they have planned for their 35th anniversary performance next year.

Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group consists of more than 100 dancers, ages four and up. Last August, several of the group’s dancers and family members participated in a successful performing tour in Ukraine—the second such tour in seven years. Chaban has also performed to standing ovations in Costa del Sol, Spain, Disney World, and Canada’s National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, Manitoba. For more information on the Chaban Ukrainian Dance Group are encouraged to contact Chaban at