Danovia Stechishin, B.F.A, M.B. A, B.Ed. Artstic Director
Danovia received her formal dance, choreographic and
pedagogical training at the Edmonton school of Ballet, Alberta Ballet Company, The Banff School of Fine Arts, York University, George Brown College, and the Kiev Institute in Ukraine. Danovia danced professionally as a ballet and modern dancer for several years, as well as performed and toured with the Ukrainian ensembles Zirka, Shumka and The Ukrainian Festival Company. In 1984 she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) in Dance, in 1986, a Masters of Arts Administration and Marketing and in 2013 a Bachelor of Education, all degrees from York
University in Toronto.
Danovia Studied folk Dance in Lviv, Ukraine with the artistic directors of Verkhovyna, Hutzulski Company of Song and Dance, Zakarpatski Company of Song and Dance, UNIST Company, Horytsvit and took private classes at the Lviv Ballet Opera Theater. She did folkloric research in over 100 villages and studied with most of the professional folk and ballet companies in Ukraine. Danovia has also studied Hungarian and gypsy dance in Hungary, and studied many other countries’ folk dances including Polish, Russian, Georgian, Spanish, Hawaiian, Moldovian and Kuban.
Danovia founded the Ukrainian Academy of Dance in 1987 and has trained over 1500 dancers since then. She formed Arkan Dance Company in 1995 as the performing ensemble of the Academy, and they have performed at international festivals across the globe since then. Danovia is skilled n teaching age 3 to adult in Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom/Latin, Creative Movement, Modern, Character and Ukrainian Folk Dance with 32 years of experience. Her husband, Scott Stefura, a former Shumka dancer, himself, also assists with the studio, props, music and wardrobe. They have 3 children, all of whom dance at the studio.
Larissa Szachrajuk, B.H.R.M., Artistic Director
From the age of four Larissa trained in Toronto at the Ontario School of Ballet, learning Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop and Modern. Her passion for dance led her to continue her training at The Etobicoke School of the Arts where she took daily classes with locally renowned teachers and choreographers. Larissa is a graduate of York University where she received an Honours Bachelor degree in Human Resource Management.
Ukrainian Dancing for 23 years now, Larissa has been a soloist for the Arkan Dance Company since 2001 and has traveled with them worldwide to Florida, Nova Scotia, Quebec, China, Mexico, Turkey, Italy and South Korea. She has also been a featured soloist in Arkan Dance Company’s “Dance of Gold” in 2001, “Dance of the Light” in 2008 both at the Royal Ontario Museum and “Glory to Christianity” in 2014. In 2013 Larissa directed a tour to Florida where dancers performed in Disney World and danced alongside Disney professionals through the streets of Magic Kingdom. She also directed a 2009 tour to Italy and the Ukrainian Children’s Ensemble’s trip to Florida in 2007. This summer she will be taking the Children’s group along with select Arkan dancer to perform in Boston and New York City.
Larissa has choreographed pieces for Arkan Dance Company, The Ukrainian Academy of Dance, Stefura Dance Studios as well as various school and community programs. She has also had the privilege of choreographing a couple of pieces for Arkan with the National Artist of Ukraine, Rafail Malinowsky. Larissa has successfully completed Shumka’s Ukrainian Dance Syllabus Training Program (Tier 1) and attended the Ukrainian Dance Instructor Conference in Edmonton in 2014.