Thursday, 6 December 2012

Lusia Pavlychenko

Thanks to Father Patrick Powalinsky for the photo via Facebook
If you ever participated in Ukrainian dancing on the prairies, you have been part of Lusia Pavlychenko's legacy. More than a pioneer, she left a legacy that is hard not to be impressed with. Daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and honorary Godmother to Ukrainian dance on the prairies, Lusia Lydia Lubka Pavlychenko (affectionately called "Miss P") fell asleep in the Lord on November 25, 2012 at 79 years.

Lusia's parents were prominent leaders in Saskatoon's Ukrainian community, but even they were surprised at the amazing impression Ballet would have on their daughter.  Already proficient in Ukrainian folk dance, Lusia really took to the brilliant training of ballet, and pursued opportunities to learn from esteemed ballet masters, developing a professional dance career.  From dancer, to performer, to teacher, she developed an accute recognition of excellence, pursuing opportunities for her students to progress.  Quality experiences needed support, assessment and appreciation so she pioneered the concept of dance festivals for competitive opportunities among dance students. She had faith that young dancers, exposed to quality experiences, would elevate expectations, elevate the arts, and gain critical acclaim for a community building art form.  Beauty, collaboration, high quality artistic vision, thoroughly life-changing experiences of joy - Lusia's gift was transformative.

Lusia loved to teach. It sounds simple but she cast ripples throughout the ballet community, and touched the prairie Ukrainian dance community to its core. She had a way of expressing herself that would change opinions, influence trends, and leave a legacy of passionate belief in the human spirit.

It is important to note a few things about Lusia, about her times, and her experiences. Hers was an unusual and non-traditional women's career path for the times!  Growing up on the prairies in the 30's and 40's, there were certain socio/cultural norms for women, which she vehemently surpassed. A child of immigrant origins, there were certain socio/cultural constraints on the scope of her vision, which she capably overcame. There were certain community constraints that Lusia simply pushed aside.  Determination, hard work, and brilliant focus earned Lusia international recognition, accolades and awards of merit, moreover, her pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the Ukrainian dance experience here on Canada's prairies continues to be emulated by generations of aspirants. Hers was a signpost forward!!

Honoring Miss P., ukrainiancalgary encouages all readers who may have memorable stories about the lovely Lusia to email your comments to   In the process of establishing The Pavlychenko Legacy Fund as a future scholarship program for Arts and Culture, please consider donating to the holding account at: TD Canada Trust Acct># 77406400571.

Prayer Service and Funeral for Lusia were held at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Trinity in Saskatoon on Wednesday, November 28 and 29, 2012.
May her remains rest peacefully in these Canadian prairies, and her spirit fly to join her ancestors among the saints, to await her audience with the Creator!! Vichnaya Pamyat'! May her memory be eternal!
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