Our Dance Instructors
Zhenia’s love for dance was ignited when he first began dancing at the Palace of Pioneers in Kitsman, Ukraine. This early experience led him to search out a career in professional dance. Zhenia graduated from the Chernivtsi College of Cultural Arts in the Faculty of Dance. He graduated with honors with a diploma in Professional Dance and Dance Education. Soon after graduation, Zhenia was accepted to dance with the Bukovyna State Song and Dance Ensemble, with whom he toured over 12 countries. During his employment with this professional ensemble, he was the primary soloist and highest paid dancer.
In 1993 Zhenia came to Canada and taught Ukrainian dance with various groups. Reputation of his excellence spread, and Zhenia was invited to conduct workshops and adjudicate in many cities across Canada. Zhenia has conducted many regional workshops as well as male technical and solo workshops.
An alumnist and guest instructor of the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and School, Zhenia was asked to become the director in the fall of 2000. He has had very successful years with Volya, creating a brand new exciting repertoire. He has led Volya on tour to Salt Lake City, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Italy, California, Portugal, New York, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey, Azores Islands, France, and to the United Kingdom.
Zhenia's vast experience has afforded him the artistic insight of a professional dancer, the choreographic excellence of a respected director, and the passion of a man who has dedicated his life to the art of Ukrainian dance.
Kelsey is a passionate and enthusiastic dancer, co-instructor, and teacher. Beginning her Ukrainian dance training at the age of ten, Kelsey has extensive experience in Ukrainian dance and ballet. She has studied these forms of dance with great attention and appreciation for the art.
Her ballet training consisted of learning under former prima ballerina, Maria Bokor in the Vaganova Ballet program. She pursued Ukrainian dance simultaneously as she started dancing with her local group, the Lamont Veselka Dancers. Over the past 20 years she has been dedicated to training in the art of Ukrainian dance through various workshops and under the direction of very charismatic and authentic Ukrainian dance specialists and choreographers.
Currently, Kelsey is an active member of the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. She is enjoying the opportunities her dedication to the group has allowed for international travel and performance. She’s been fortunate to have entertained audiences across Europe, as well as North and South America. In addition to dancing with Volya, her passion for dance and children has been inspiration for her dedication in the role of dance instructor. She has been a long time co-instructor with the Volya School of Ukrainian Dance and has taught at other dance schools around the local area.
Outside of the dancing world, Kelsey is an elementary school teacher. Her passion and love for teaching has her continuously helping children embrace their learning.
Jessie Balan began Ukrainian dance classes in Radway, Alberta at the age of eight. Jessie continued to dance in the rural communities of Radway and Thorhild until the age of 14 when he also began taking Ukrainian dance classes in Edmonton. Dancing in both rural Alberta, as well as in Edmonton, provided Jessie with the opportunity to learn from many different instructors before joining the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in 2012.
Under the tutelage of Zhenia Bahri, he has traveled to the United Kingdom, Greece, Columbia, and Croatia on international tours with the ensemble. In addition to sharing his love of Ukrainian dance around the world with Volya at international festivals, Jessie was fortunate enough to be a part of the ensemble's 25th Anniversary celebrations on home soil, culminating in an unforgettable show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. While Jessie enjoys serving Volya as a cast member for their performances, he has also served on the ensemble's Executive Board for the last four years.
Odessa Bahri began training in both ballet and Ukrainian dance at the age of 4. She was so passionate about dance that at the age of 8, she started to take lessons in other genres, including jazz, contemporary, lyrical and modern through Shelley's Dance Company. There she had the opportunity to attend workshops with many world-renowned choreographers, such as Stacey Tookey and Keltie Colleen. Odessa's passion for kids and their success led her to be a Co-Director of the For Kids by Kids Benefit Concert where she helped raise over $33,000.00 for the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.
Odessa currently dances with the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and has been able to tour with the ensemble to Greece, Colombia, and Croatia. In addition to performing with Volya, she has sat on the executive for the past 3 years.
To expand on her dance experience, Odessa began assisting with the Volya School of Ukrainian Dance in 2015, and in 2017 she began teaching at the Thorhild Ukrainian Dance Club. Odessa is very excited and honored to be a part of the Koperoush family!
Toronto native Nicholas began his training at the age of 7 with Ukrainian folk dance at the Ukrainian Academy of Dance/Arkan Dance Company. He then went on to attend George Brown College where he studied dance/performing arts. He has also attended the Oakville School of Dance, School of Alberta Ballet, L’École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec, and has attended the summer dance intensive at Canada’s National Ballet School.
Aside from his roles in The Nutcracker and a character role in Alberta Ballet’s Swan Lake, Nicholas has performed with Cirque du Soleil in the opening ceremonies of the 2013 C2-MTL Conference in Montréal. He has also traveled across Canada and internationally to Ukraine, South Korea, Boston, New York, and Indonesia to performing with Arkan Dance Company.
From 2013 to 2016 Nicholas danced with Ballet Edmonton (formerly Citie Ballet) where he performed in such pieces as Jorden Morris’ MOA, Jorden Morris’ Doorway, Heather Myers’ Hereafter, and the pas de trois from Paul Destrooper’s Carmina Burana. Since his retirement from full-time dance; Nicholas has concentrated on his choreographing skills and studying the Vaganova technique under the mentorship of Maria Bokor.