"Veselka Ukrainian Dance Association was founded in 1971. Veselka's practices and first ever performance were held at St. Nicolas Ukrainian Catholic Church on Cook Street. Mrs. Kateryna Makuch, wife of Father John Makuch, then parish priest of St. Nicolas, suggested the name "Veselka" (which means Rainbow). In those early days, dancers came from Ukrainian-Canadian families with last names like Deyholos, Kopan, Kruk, Macewko, Makuch, Martyniw, and Osowetski. Today, these Ukrainian roots have spread to include other ethnic heritage, such as Polish, English, German, Italian and even Cambodian, Chinese and East Indian, with names like Dojack, Easton, Edmondson, Kearney, Keram, Kuehne, Peluso, Phosy, Swan, and Wei. Veselka also currently has a number of families who are recent immigrants from Ukraine and Russia.
Over the years, Veselka has performed at many local events such as Heritage Day, Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival and Folkfest in Victoria, Island Social (together with Dolyna of Comox Valley and Vesna of Nanaimo) on Vancouver Island, as well as at events in Mission (BC Ukrainian Cultural Festival), Vancouver (Expo 86), Alberta (Vegreville Pysanka Festival), Seattle (Folklife), San Diego, and beyond.
Yet, more than about performances, Veselka is about striving to be the best we can be, both as dancers, and as people (and having fun as we grow). We, at Veselka, are a community - a community that was founded 40 years ago by Ukrainian-Canadians; a community with passion for Ukrainian Dance, an ever-evolving art form; a community that would not be what it is today without the sacrificial work of its members and the valuable support from the broader community, local businesses and even government. This community has evolved, just like Ukrainian Dance, to embrace dancers of mixed heritage and dancers who are recent immigrants from the old country. Veselka is truly a multicultural community, just like our country Canada. All who are involved with Veselka have the privilege to help shape it and pass it on. I wonder if that was what Kateryna Makuch had envisioned from the start?"