Vincent was raised on Vancouver Island, where he developed wanderlust and a passion for unique cultures. In 1992, he moved to Edmonton to dance with the Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. For many years he has been involved in Ukrainian dance as a performer, choreographer, teacher and adjudicator.
Vincent Rees has been a prolific dancer, director, choreographer and connoisseur of Ukrainian dance, art and culture for many years. Raised in Victoria BC, Vincent moved to Edmonton in 1992 to join the world renowned Ukrainian Shumka Dancers. With Shumka, Vincent had the great opportunity of performing across Canada as a cast member of “Absolutely Shumka”, “Shumka’s Cinderella” and “The Nutcracker” with the Kyiv Ballet of Ukraine and Shumka.
Vincent served on Shumka’s Artistic team for many years and took on the role of Artistic Director of Shumka School from 1999 to 2004. As director of Shumka School he developed his distinct Ukrainian dance teaching style and choreography. He was involved in the creation of the “Shumka Syllabus for Ukrainian dance” and participated in the evolution of the Shumka Summer Camp program.
Outside of Shumka, he has instructed many clubs throughout western Canada and has also created several of his own shows including: “Historia”, “The Lashky Project”, “Superstitions” and “Domovyk and His Magical Ukrainian Journey”. From 2011-2013 he served as Artistic Director of the Viter Ukrainian Dancers and Folk Choir, created several new works and organized the Viter Ukraine Tour escorted the entire in 2012.
Vincent studied dance extensively in Ukraine, taking workshops in regional dance and choreography at the Institute of Ukrainian Folk Dance, in Lviv and the Virsky Studio. In 2007, his fascination with Ukrainian dance and culture lead him to complete a masters’ degree in Ukrainian Folklore from the University of Alberta where he taugh a course on the culture and history of Ukrainian Dance.
In 2009, Vincent created Cobblestone Freeway – Culture and Adventure Tours, which specializes in tours to Ukraine for dance groups as general tourists. Every June, he hosts the annual “Ukrainian Dance Workshop Tour” which takes dancers, instructors and enthusiasts alike to train in the very regions that the dances came from. There are other fantastic tours including: Easter in Ukraine, a Photography Journey, a Culinary Tour and the grand tour called Fall Fantasy Ukraine.
Vincent runs the very popular intensive summer Ukrainian dance camp, “Red Boot Camp”. This year however, instead of Red Boot Camp, he is organizing a travelling Ukrainian dance workshop to Ukraine called “Kultura”. Here young and aspiring dancers will have the opportunity to attend the International Ukrainian Dance Festival, study at the Virsky studio as well as experience Bukovynian and Hutsul cultures. Parents are encouraged to come along and explore Ukraine while the dancers are attending workshops.
Although Vincent continues to instruct and adjudicate across western Canada, he has several other ongoing projects. He recently co-created a documentary film called, “Ukrainian Dance: A Journey to Alberta”, which can be seen on YouTube and has created a new site called Ukrainian Dance World to help unite Ukrainian dancers in Canada, Brazil, Australia and the USA. This spring Vincent will be an Artist in Residence at St. Martin’s elementary school where he will re-stage the production, “Domovyk and his Magical Ukrainian Journey”. Finally Vincent is producing a television series called, “Dance Planet”, which plans to travel the globe capturing traditional dances before they are forgotten by future generations and disappear forever.
Vincent believes that Ukrainian dance and culture can help us better understand the world we live in.