History of Toronto Slovak Dancers

The Toronto Slovak Dancers is an ensemble which study the cultural heritage of its native Slovakia and present it to our multicultural North American society.

Originally the TSD was organized as a ballroom dance group and participated for two years in numerous ballroom junior competitions and shows. With the arrival of folklore choreographer J. Jantoska to Toronto, on April 6, 1985 the dance group had diversified to folk dancing with senior and junior groups.

Following the departure of J. Jantoska in 1987, the group was trained for two years by P. Sirak, a professional Slovak folklore choreographer. His skills created nine new dances which made the ensemble able to perform over two hour shows.

J. Jantoska returned in 1990 and enriched the repertoire with four new dances which include "Horehronska Veselica, Cerkany, Perinarky Janosik and Veselica na Detve".

Through its dances, the ensemble has laid a great deal of importance upon the intimate knowledge of the folk character of the given region, and the development of individual abilities of all the members. By choosing music from different regions of Slovakia, the ensemble's repertoire demonstrates the beauty and variety of Slovak folklore.

As news about ensemble had spread, so did the invitations requesting the group to participate in various North American cities such as Windsor, Markham, St. Catherines, Cambridge, Bradford, Welland, Hamilton, Oshawa and Ottawa in Ontario and in Beauport and Montreal in Quebec, Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta and Winnipeg in Manitoba. In the U.S.A. the list of cities performed in include Detroit, Chicago, Elmhurst Illinois, Mount Pocono and New Jersey. One of the highlights for the ensemble were performances at The American Stage at Epcot Center, in Walt Disney World, Lutheran Haven and the Slovak Gardens in Orlando Florida.

1991 was especially busy, outside the annual shows in Canada, the group had toured native Slovakia for 16 days with seven performances in different cities. Also the same year they traveled to the Garden State Arts Center in Jersey City where they performed a 2 1/2 hour show at the Slovak Heritage Festival.

The year 1992 was marked in the history of Toronto Slovak Dancers as a very important year. The first big accomplishment was mastering a very physically strenuous dance called "Janosik". The young dancers proved, that they have matured into very skilled performers able to acquire and present a very challenging choreography. The second great accomplishment that year was to celebrate group's 150th performance on the popular TV show run by City TV in Toronto called "Breakfast Television", which since then has become an annual event.

The year 1993 started with a performance in a program with famous Slovak Tenor Miroslav Dvorsky, celebrating the Proclamation of the independence of the Slovak Republic. The year continued with performances at various ethnic activities across Ontario and a trip out west to Edmonton for an international folklore festival and to Calgary for a Slovak Canadian Youth Festival.

In 1994 both senior and junior groups of the ensemble entered and won first places in Kiwanis dance competition.

The year 1995 marked the 10th anniversary which was celebrated with a special program with special guests from Slovakia of Julius Pantik, Darinka Lasciakova, Vladimir Dobrik and Milan Jesko. The same program was repeated in Welland and Windsor. With annual performances in Southern Ontario, until today, group has performed 215 times since its inception in 1985.

In 1996 the ensemble is preparing to travel to Slovakia for the international folk festival in Dubnica nad Vahom.

With their eagerness and willingness to continue to work hard, it is hoped that the group will continue to be a good ambassador of the Slovak fork-art in Canada in the years to come.

The dance ensemble was established and managed throughout the years by Mr. Milan Popik

Major Events in 1996

June 23, 1996 - Slovak Day Celebration - Slovak Benefit Society, Credit Vale Park on Barbertown Rd, Mississauga
June 24, 1996 - Sick Children Fund Raiser - Embassy Suite Hotel, Warden & HW 7 at 8:30 PM
July 14, 1996 - Youth Festival and Slovak Day - Canadian Slovak League, Creditvale Park at 2:30 P.M.
July 28, 1996 - Jednota Day - Creditvale Park, 2:00 P.M.
Aug 20 - 29, 1996 Slovakia - Surany, Slovenska Lupca, Piestany, Bratislava (See Local Paper for details)
August 29 - Sept 1, 1996 - Slovakia - 3rd International Festival in Dubnica nad Vahom.

Toronto Slovak Dancers in Slovakia - Aug. 29 - Sept. 1, 1996.

Information about Toronto Slovak Dancers is prepared by
Milan Popik, Manager.

Informacie o Toronto Slovak Dancers a ich aktivitach pripravuje
Milan Popik, Riaditel.
All contents copyright 1997. All rights

All comments should be forwarded to Ondro Mihal at omihal@slovak.com. 
Last Update: January 31, 1997