Shannon Gabrush developed her love of Ukrainian dance at age five, and was known as an energetic and charismatic dancer. She spent the formative years of her youth dancing with the Rushnychok Ukrainian Folk Dance Association in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In the summer of 1998, she was fortunate to study at the Institute of Ukrainian Folk Dance in Lviv, Ukraine. The varied focus on ethnography, costumes, music, choreography, and ballet deepened her love of Ukrainian culture and dance.
Shannon joined the Pavlychenko Folklorique Ensemble (PFE) in 1998 where she danced for 13 years. Under the Artistic Direction of Serhij Koroliuk, she performed with PFE in Brazil, Ukraine, the United States, and across Canada. In addition to dancing, Shannon spent many years on the PFE board of directors and took on the role of President from 2007-2009. She was one of the founders and had a key role in the establishment of PFE Dance Showcase. The annual dance festival has grown into the largest Ukrainian dance festival in Saskatchewan. Shannon acted as tour director for her last performing tour “Nostalgia,” which travelled across the eastern United States and Canada. In 2016-2017, she took on the role of stage director for Ukrainian Day in the Park in Saskatoon. In the summer of 2018, Shannon rebranded and led the UCC Saskatchewan’s summer Ukrainian dance program “SaskTanets” to its most successful year to date, while also preparing to take the youngest group of performers ever to participate in the International Ukrainian Dance & Culture Festival in Ukraine.
Shannon was fortunate to study under many masters and professional groups while she continued to further her dancer and instructor education. She finished her studies at the Institute of Ukrainian Folk Dance in Ukraine and attends various workshops and seminars offered in Canada and Ukraine.
Shannon has been instructing Ukrainian dance for more than twenty years. Her teaching career began through the instructor apprenticeship program offered at Rushnychok and by the age of fifteen, she had begun teaching her first class. Over the years, she has taught at ten different dance schools across Saskatchewan and has been invited as a guest choreographer for groups across Canada, continues to enjoy teaching summer workshops, and adjudicating dance festivals. Shannon is known for creating unique dances that draw out the personality and emotions from her dancers – young and old. Many of these pieces have earned choreographic awards and top honours at many Ukrainian dance festivals.
Outside of her work life, Shannon is happily married to a Ukrainian dancer turned golf professional, Brian. Together they have two children, Lena and William, who fill their house with singing, dancing, and laughter. In her spare time Shannon enjoys photography, travelling, wine, decorating, and repurposing furniture.