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Dance was Alina’s life-saving therapy

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By Natalya Krasnenkova

If you were in Kyiv before the war and were thinking about where to spend your Friday evening, you probably thought about going to the 'Variety Royale' show.

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This is a well-known music and dance show, which is very much loved by Kyiv residents and tourists. In this variety show, you would definitely pay attention to a bright dancer with long blonde hair.

Then you would see her again on stage with famous Ukrainian show business stars. In the evening, if you turned on the TV you'd see the blonde dancer again in talent shows and dance shows. Alina Maslak is 29-years-old from Kyiv, who has been living in Killarney for six months. She performed at the Independence Day of Ukraine at the ANAM Cultural Centre, and at the dance classes she held in Killarney.

Alina cannot live without dance, this is the whole meaning of her life. In Kyiv she trained a lot to achieve high results, took part in many shows and taught hip hop and heel dancing. Since the beginning of the war, the young dancer moved to a friend's house where they hid from shelling. 18 people lived in one house; they were cut off from the world and could only watch the rockets flying over the field, and shuddered from the explosions. Friends hid in the basement which served as a bomb shelter. Alina and her friends did not have enough water, only basic food, and the house was not heated or the lights turned on. People were scared and depressed. Alina saved her friends by holding yoga classes. She believed that relaxing the body and brain is very necessary to maintain psycho-emotional health. Alina herself continued to dance. This was her life-saving therapy. Imagine the sounds of explosions, an old house, and a dancer dancing in complete darkness.

MOVING TO KILLARNEY

After a month of living under shelling, Alina decided to leave. Together with her sister, they arrived in Dublin.

"There are many opportunities for my professional development as a dancer and dance teacher," thought Alina. But no housing was found in Dublin and the sisters were sent to Killarney. Despite the fact that hip hop or pop dance are not common here, Alina decided to develop this direction on her own.

"If fate brought me here, then it makes sense. If I can't develop here professionally as a dancer, then I will develop as a teacher or look for new professions," Alina said to herself.

She has since conducted several classes. Local women who attended her classes enjoyed hip hop and dancing on heels. If Alina manages to find a dance class, she will continue teaching dance in Killarney.

Alina also conducts yoga classes online. This is how she wants to support Ukrainians who do not have access to sports or dancing. But often she continues to dance for herself. Now, instead of a dance class, she has either a corridor or a children's room. Alina lives in a hotel with her sister and now her mother - who was transferred to Ireland in July. Before that, she lived in the small town of Slavutych.

When Alina heard about the preparation of the concert for the Independence Day of Ukraine, she wanted to perform a dance number with her students from Killarney. But time was short. Then Alina performed a solo number in which she told her story.

"Dance for me is not just movements," she says. "This is my way of conveying emotions, telling the world a story. Each of the numbers contains meanings that everyone can understand."

Today you can meet Alina at Kerry College in Tralee where she enrolled to study as a personal trainer and nutritionist. Mastering new skills, acting effectively under any circumstances, not complaining about life and never giving up - these are Alina's basic settings. She continues to move forward with them.

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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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