Our 2019/20 Instructors: Murray Howell & Kelsey Olijnyk
For fifteen years, Murray was a member and guest artist of the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. He served on the Artistic Committee for eight years and had the opportunity to be a guest choreographer. During his four international tours withShumka, he performed alongside stars Shirley Jones, Robert Goulet, and Andrea Bocelli. Murray also performed in four different dance productions under the artistic direction of Viktor Lytvynov, dancing alongside members from Shumka,Virsky, and the Kyiv Ballet.
He has taught at numerous dance schools and ensembles across Alberta, including the Viter Ukrainian Dancers. He has also choreographed and instructed many workshops and summer camps in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec. Murray was a co-creator and facilitator of the Ukrainian Dance Instructor Conference, which provided professional development to Ukrainian dance instructors across Canada.
Murray is in his eighteenth-year teaching Ukrainian dance. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Ukrainian Folklore and Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta. Currently, Murray is also a Grade 6 Ukrainian-Bilingual school teacher.
Kelsey’s passion and love for Ukrainian dance started at a young age.
She grew up dancing throughout rural Alberta before joining Volya Studio. After spending three years with Volya Studio, Kelsey joined the Nadiya Dance Ensemble where she danced for 10 years. In her quest to continue to grow as a dancer Kelsey joined the Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble in 2010.
Kelsey has been teaching Ukrainian dance throughout Alberta since 2005. She has also been a guest choreographer for dance groups in Saskatchewan and Ohio. Kelsey is currently the Assistant Artistic Director with the Dunai dance troupe. She has also been a member ofthe teaching faculty at Shumka School of Dance since 2013.
Kelsey loves new challenges, one of which includes competing inFitness with the Alberta Bodybuilding Association in 2011. She placedfirst in the Fitness Short category and received the best fitness routineaward. She is also a former member of the Edmonton Crush danceteam and the Edmonton Energy dance team where the styles ofdance she performed included hip hop, jazz and disco.
Kelsey’s credentials include graduating from Victoria Performing ArtsSchool, completing Tier 1 and 2 of the Shumka Syllabus for UkrainianDance, Ukrainian Dance Instructor Conference (Edmonton), InstructorWorkshop Tour (Ukraine), and being a certified Zumba and groupfitness instructor. Kelsey travels annually to Ukraine to continuedeveloping as an instructor. Together with her husband, Kelsey ownsa small business, Costumes by Paul, designing and producingUkrainian dance costumes.