Debbie Koziak-Koper began her dance training at the young age of three with St. Basil’s Parish in Edmonton, and then spent many years under the tutelage of Chester Kuc in the UNF Dance School & Junior Cheremosh. Her performing career culminated with the renowned Ukrainian Cheremosh Dance Ensemble under the direction of Rick Wacko. She has beneﬁted from the opportunity to take Ukrainian, Character & Ballet classes from numerous other instructor/choreographers as well - most notably Maria Mitrache- Bokor, Roma Pryma Bohachevsky and Nikolai Zukovin. Her teaching career began independently, then progressed to St. Basil’s with the Ukrainian Cultural Association. In 1983 she took over the instruction of Stony Plain Ukrainian Dancers which then became Parkland Ukrainian Dancers as it is known today. In the past 31 years with PUDS Debbie has taught over 474 dancers aged three to adult. She has adjudicated at the Vegreville Pysanka Festival twice. Debbie graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree and is currently the Assistant Manager of Chateau Louis Hotel & Conference Centre.
Chris Koper started his dance career at the ripe old age of four. Like many Ukrainian Dancers at the time, he started at St. Basil’s Parish in Edmonton and completed his formal training with the Ukrainian Cheremosh Dance Ensemble at the age of 28. Chris has attended numerous seminars throughout North America and as far away as Ukraine. He has adjudicated dance competitions across Alberta. At the age of 13, Chris began teaching Ukrainian Dance at the Balwin Community League. Prior to joining PUDS in 1990, Chris taught at Evansdale, St. Basil’s Kupalo & Alberta Zirka Ukrainian Dancers in Calmar. Chris graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Education degree and is currently teaching at Annunciation Elementary School in Edmonton. He and Debbie have four children and two grandchildren.