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ChaiBy MYRON LOVE The honours continue to mount for our Jewish community’s Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble.

On Saturday, January 30, Dance Manitoba recognized Canada’s preeminent Israeli dance troupe with the dance organization’s Special Achievement Award at Dance Manitoba’s 2016 Distinction Awards for Excellence in Dance.
Chai is the first dance group – as compared to individual dancers – to have received Special Achievement Award (which was introduced three years ago). The award was given for “Outstanding Achievements and Exceptional Artistic Accomplishments to the Art of Dance within our Community”.
“Being recognized by our peers for excellence in dance and our contribution to the community through this art form is inspiring,” says Tracy Kasner Greaves, Chai’s recently retired artistic director. “This reminds us of the impact of dance and how it can change lives.”
Kasner Greaves accepted the award on behalf of Chai along with Chai dance director Elan Marchinko who is also leaving her post to pursue a Ph.D. program in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.
Reeva Nepon, the administrative director for the Chai Folk Arts Council and the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble, notes that Marchinko did accompany the troupe to Kelowna for its most recent performance.
Coming performances for Chai are a joint appearance with the Rusalka Dancers on June 5 at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’s annual conference and trade show which is being held in Winnipeg this year.
Chai was started by the late Sarah Sommer in 1964 and has grown into an internationally-acclaimed dance troupe that comprises some 30-40 singers, dancers and musicians ranging in age from teens to adults in their early 40s.  The Winnipeg-based dance company has performed across Canada and the United States, Mexico and Israel.