Miorita is celebrating 30 years of continuous activity! This anniversary also marks 55 years of Romanian Dance in Regina!
It is hard to believe Miorita is celebrating 30 years. When you consider that many of Miorita’s original dancers – and at the present moment, some of the dancers are the instructors of the group – had danced many years previous, there is much more history to this group than thirty years. Miorita is a continuation of Romanian dance in Regina that started fifty five years ago and were it not for the efforts of Kae Banda who started the original Romanian dance group in 1965 at the Regina Ballroom, Miorita would probably not be here today.
The Eminescu Romanian Dancers, the predecesors of Miorita, existed for many years, more precisely from 1965 until 2002, and thrived as part of the Romanian Canadian Cultural Club. With dedicated leadership from Kae Banda, along with the amazing choreography and instruction of Maestro Petre Bodeutz, as well as Maestro Ion Gubernicu, the Eminescu Romanian dancers were one of the cultural dance groups in Regina, Saskatchewan, and certainly one of the most talented Romanian dance groups in North America. This group’s membership consisted of many of our own family members – some of them our parents and even grandparents.
Unfortunately, in the 1990’s the Romanian Club was affected by changes and differences in leadership and direction. The membership reduced, the restaurant was no longer viable and the club was no longer the financially successful place that it had been for so many years. Some of the original Eminescu dancers at the time, feared that along with the foreseeable future loss of the club, the dance group would also be lost. The majority of the dancers at that time pulled together and chose to start over and create a new group that would exist financially independent from the Romanian Club and exist solely to promote and celebrate Romanian culture through dance. Thus, the Miorita Romanian Cultural Society was formed.
And so it begins…
Through a group effort led mostly by our parents and senior dancers, Harry Draper along with support from Dennis Costron, Egon Fritzsche, Father Dan Nenson and dancers Colleen Draper, Enez Holunga and Cindy McFadyen, Miorita was officially incorporated as a group in 1990.
Since 1990, Miorita danced its way across the continent, participating in:
- multicultural festivals such as Folkfest in Saskatoon, Folklorama in Winnipeg, Heritage Days in Edmonton, Romanian Festival in Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, Whitsuntide celebrations in Vancouver, and Spring Free From Racism in Regina. Miorita is also a constant presence in Mosaic A Festival of Cultures in Regina;
- 100 years anniversaries of Romanian communities, such as Shell Valley, Manitoba, Cupar, Flintoft and Regina, Saskatchewan;
- weddings and New Year’s parties in Regina and Calgary;
- banquets, and special events such as Romanian National Day, and Christmas parties;
- Bring a Little Mosaic to you program. Every year, Miorita dances at Senior Homes as part of this program that includes a lot of activities prior to the Mosaic festival.
For these performances to happen, there is a lot of hard work happening behind the scenes and a lot of man power. So, let’s take a little time to recognize all those hard workers that supported Miorita’s activities. Since the inception, Miorita has benefited from:
- the dedicated volunteer directorship and instruction provided by Kim Rotelick from 1990 – 1999. Kim came back as an instructor for the adult group in 2011 and faithfully attended practices until her unexpected passing in January 2020;
- a great many volunteer instructors of the various groups over the past years who have included Bonnie Mancinelli, Cindy McFadyen, Jeff Fritzsche, Laurisa Temple, Mea Cicansky, Pam and Jason Rotelick, Patti Chesters, Regan Williams, Richard Kies, Rodney Eberly and Rick Tonita;
- the many talented “Moms” who have dedicated so many hours sewing, mending, pressing, washing and measuring costumes; special mention to Verna Todd, who in the early years of Miorita, was the “costume lady”; thanks also to Myriam Strachan, Brenda Krasiun and Alvina Neibrandt who have been our expert “costume Moms”. In the last years, Miorita had been suffering from not having designated “costume Moms”, but we have managed to branch out in the community and we always managed to find a “costume lady” to help us out;
- the Presidents and Board Members – too many to mention, but you know who you are – who have given many hours to meetings and organizing fundraising events that have kept Miorita financially in existence;
- the hard work of bingo coordinators Egon Fritzsche, Candace Runge and Linnett Moldovan.
- the many volunteers (many of you!) who have helped over the years with events such as bingos, banquets, spring shows, teas, garage sales, cooking food, selling tickets, arranging displays, ordering costumes, chaperoning for trips and list goes on and on… special thanks to those long-time Mosaic committee heads/key organizers who over the years, have given countless hours to making Mosaic and other such events possible – Alice and Father Dan Nenson, Angie Buchanan – Beaumont, Benji Hazen, Candance Runge, Cindy McFadyen, Jason Mancinelli, Jeff Beer, Jane Fritzsche, Jeff Fritzsche, Kim and Dave Rotelick, Mark McFadyen, Myriam Strachan, Patti Chester, Shirley Costron, Richard Kies, Linnett Moldovan, Lisa Punga, Justine Walton, Carol Sagin, Kae Banda, Emily Baumann, Andre Piasta and Monica Cliveti.
- the groups from Moose Jaw, Emonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Phoenix Arizona, Calgary and even Romania that came to dance with us and left as our friends and supporters.
- the dancers who have contributed to Miorita over the years; without their dedicated efforts to attend practices and make time for performances, there would be no group.
Thank you to all of you in general, our family members and friends, business and church members who have supported this group over the past thirty years. it is not easy to maintain such a group solely on volunteer efforts. We are thankful that you care to support Miorita and believe in our efforts to preserve Romanian traditions and customs, and we look forward to your continued support.
Many first generation Romanians from other cities have commented to us how they are impressed that Miorita, made up mostly by second, third and even fourth generation, is such a dedicated and such a talented group. And it is great that we can celebrate as a group that we have been able to keep alive the culture, traditions and dances of our grandparents and great-grandparents in this province that was and still is the new home to many Romanian immigrants. This is truly a reason to celebrate!
Looking to the future, Miorita Romanian Cultural Society has ambitious plans to carry on the traditions and customs of Romania, including a Romanian Language School, a choir, social dancing, Family Movie nights, cooking nights, Mosaic and other shows and activities.
Happy 30th anniversary Miorita!
La Multi Ani!