Russian born and educated Oksana Chernuk is no stranger to the International Festival of Fort Bend, or this area for that matter. She’s from a village in Odessa, Ukraine, and will once again be staging performances at the Stafford Centre for the annual event to be held on Sunday, March 24 from noon to 6 p.m. One of the major differences this time…she’ll be doing it as an American. She became a U.S. citizen about a year ago.
A dancer by profession, she’s the artistic director of the nonprofit arts and educational Sunrise International Dance Company, which she owns and operates in Houston. She first came to this country, actually to Houston in 1995, and stayed.
“Her dance troupe will be doing several numbers that will add sophistication to our international festival with this world class performing group,” said Nazy Khadivian, the festival coordinator. “Our students in the dance studio are all ages and we are able to feature a diverse array of high quality dancers,” adds Oskana. The dance company also has outreach programs designed to introduce public school children to dance, and it relies on contributions towards this aim.
Features of next month’s international festival will include a Russian winter dance, “a slow one,” said Oskana. The other one, a spring dance, is a “fast one,” and there’s also a snow storm number drawing attention to blue and white costumes that visually convey the ice and cold winters of Oskana’s heartland. “These are unique dances of Old Russia,” said Oksana, who also performs and teaches flamenco, Irish, Egyptian, jazz, ballroom, tap and other classic dance styles. She said that for the Russian performances, dancers have to be strong physically, especially the young men in light of the demanding and powerful agility called for.
Having also served as a pageant consultant, Oskana said her performances have been described as “electrifying,” which is what she intends to l deliver at the Stafford Centre.