Ukrainian Shumka Dancers are seeking female actors and dancers for their world premiere production of a new work, Ancestors & Elders. The first performance will run April 27-28 in Edmonton. Future performances and tours are in development. Ukrainian Shumka Dancers are a non-equity semi-professional dance theatre company. The roles posted in this notice are paid roles.

When we seek out our similarities, we illuminate our differences. We aim to celebrate 125 years of Ukrainian settlement; acknowledge the Indigenous perspective of Canadian history; And foster, in this time of reconciliation, a new Ukrainian-Canadian ally relationship that has eroded over time. Throughout the piece and the process of its creation, we are “rooting our efforts in trust and respect,” to quote a line from writer Myrna Kostash. 

 Ukrainian and Indigenous perspectives are witnessed through two families, (Ukrainians and Indigenous) both lead by strong matriarchs in their respective communities; Baba and Kohkom. Their ways of life that have been passed down, adapted, and learned from, live in these women but also in the environments they have created and endured. Now they are anchors to their relations, but both communities have seen times with this essential connection to our ancestry disconnected. Today, we see how they pass on knowledge and teach/learn with their communities through time and through an unrelenting interdependency on the spirit of land and family. In doing so, the narrative of Canadian development and nation-building is challenged by the mixed (and often harsh) realities of this land.  

SCHEDULE: Rehearsals will begin in November 2017. Schedules will be designed based on rehearsal needs and your availability. Rehearsals are in the evenings on Mondays and Wednesdays and Sundays with occasional afternoon rehearsals on weekends.

HOW TO PREPARE: For all roles, please prepare a 60-second monologue. The monologue can be contemporary or classical, comic or dramatic, and should be something connecting you emotionally to family, love, history, or community. For the dancing roles please prepare a short piece for each style of dance required (ie. contemporary piece and/or a short Pow Wow piece).

HOW TO SIGN UP: Please schedule an audition time by emailing Co-Director Joseph Hoffman ( . Further auditions and callbacks will be scheduled as necessary. Auditions will be October 27 & 28, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

ROLES:  Please note that ages should reflect what you read onstage – not your actual age.

Baba, oldest generation, Caucasian, 60-75 years: grandmother of pre-teens. She can be comical and quirky but also (and more importantly) reverently stoic. Acting experience is required, dancing or musical experience a benefit. Candidates may be requested to act according to a provided musical score.

Joanne, adult, Indigenous, 30-45 years: Mother who is learning to bear the weight of her heritage and culture as she endeavours to share thatwith her pre-teen daughter. Must be able to portray a diverse emotional palette through body language and movement. Indigenous and Contemporary dancing experience required. Acting experience also required. Candidates may be asked to learn and apply emotion to a dance combination in the audition.

Sage, youth, Indigenous, 8-12 years:  Daughter who is at the outset of true and deliberate investment into her cultural identity and background. Indigenous dancing experience and acting experience required.


Thank you to everyone who attended our May and August 2017 auditions! We are always looking for new talent. Questions can be directed to Joe Hoffman at

Dancers must be at least 16 years old.

Audition includes: basic ballet barre, character and contemporary combinations, regional Ukrainian dance combinations, basic acting while performing, your opportunity to demonstrate solos or acrobatics.

Auditions are open to the entire dance community. Although experience in Ukrainian dance is an asset, anyone with high-calibre training in ballet, contemporary, jazz, or modern dance, acrobatics, or stage experience in another style of dance will be considered.

Dancers in Shumka are not required to pay for tuition, training or touring costs.