In 1971, Carol Coulson, a talented ballet and national character dance teacher, was hired to start a Folkdance group at the Russian Community Centre. She brought with her a number of young ballet students who were interested in folkdance. They rehearsed twice a week at the RCC and soon the group grew to over 30 dancers.
Mrs. Coulson was also asked to start a children's dance program through the Russian school. Soon there were dancers ranging from ages 4 to 44. Often times, the RCC stage had to be extended to fit the whole group for performances. Mrs. Coulson had wonderful ideas for costumes and choreography on a grand scale. Under her direction, the RCC Folkdance Group was one of the strongest performing groups in Vancouver.
Over the years there were many collaborative efforts made with the RCC Orchestra and RCC Folk Choir for the Folkfest shows at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the CBC Film Special, Canada Day performances, and the International Heritage Festival in Ottawa. The Dance group also performed on its own at festivals all over the lower mainland as well as province wide.
There have been several Russian dance directors at the RCC over the years: Carol Coulson, Nikolai Kulik, Helen Savkovic, and Laresa Wright. In 1989, Natasha Lozovsky-Burns took over the role as artistic director and renamed the group: RCC Yablochko Dancers. This 15 member group performs regularly at the RCC in conjunction with the RCC Orchestra and children's groups. It has performed throughout Vancouver as well as in Seattle for the Folklife Festival, in Washington DC and Philadelphia at the annual Balalaika and Domra Association of America conventions, and in Detroit as guests of the Balalaika Orchestra of Detroit. The group is still going strong, and hopes to celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019.
Interested in joining our Russian Dance group? Any RCC member between the ages of 15 and 35 is welcome to join the group! Some dance training is an asset, but isn't required (many of us started without any!).
We practice every Tuesday 7:30 - 9:30 at the Centre. Come try it!