The Vychodna Slovak Dancers originated in 1984 from a group of parish children at the Nativity of the Mother of God Slovak-Byzantine Rite Catholic Church in Toronto, Ontario. During our first few years, we performed primarily at church functions and local Slovak community events. As word began to spread about our talents, we were invited to perform at many different festivals and celebrations in Canada. In 1990, we traveled to Slovakia for the first time to show Slovakians how their folklore was thriving in Canada and performed at the popular Vychodna and Detva folklore festivals. In 2014, we celebrated our 30th Anniversary at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.
In the fall of 1984, an executive committee was established with Michal Fecko being elected the first president, and John Kadet as the dance instructor. Vychodna’s early success allowed the group to flourish in membership. As the original dancers matured, many were capable of handling more difficult dances, which later led to the division of the group into two levels: senior and junior. This allowed the group to invite well known choreographers from some of the top groups in Slovakia, including Jan Blaho, Štefan Kocák, Peter Kocák, Lukáš Cabalka, and Stanislav Marišler to enhance and expand the group’s repertoire. Throughout the years, Vychodna has had the pleasure of performing in Slovakia on many occasions, and forged many relationships with groups and choreographers along the way.
Aside from our yearly dinner dance Jarný ples, Vychodna has performed numerous times in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Some of these performances include various Canada Day celebrations, Slovak Heritage Festival in Markham, Toronto City Hall, the Canadian National Exhibition and the opening ceremonies of the Skydome. Outside of the GTA, Vychodna has performed at several Slovak Day festivities in Cambridge, Hamilton, Welland, Sarnia and Windsor. One of the earlier highlights for Vychodna came in 1987 when the group traveled to Beauport Quebec where they danced an award winning performance at the International Youth Festival. Throughout the years they have performed at various Slovak functions in US cities such as Cleveland OH, Boston MA, Detroit MI, Whiting IN, New York City NY, Holmdel NJ and Danville PA. As a result of these trips, Vychodna has established long-lasting relationships with Lucina Folklore Ensemble from Cleveland OH, Šarišan Slovak Folklore Ensemble from Detroit MI, and Veselica Slovak Folk Ensemble from Chicago, Il.
Presently, the Vychodna Slovak Dancers are thriving. Their group totals over forty young and enthusiastic dancers ranging from the ages of five to forty who have a real passion for performing Slovak folklore. Their total repertoire stands at over forty dances and songs. With a solid base in the Greater Toronto Area, founded and sustained by the Toronto-Slovak community, Vychodna has since come to share their love of Slovak folklore with audiences across Canada, the United States of America, and across Slovakia itself.
Vychodna sincerely appreciates the generous donations it has received from various organizations. Over the years Vychodna has received funding and support from the St. Mary’s Church, Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Canadian Slovak League, Slovak Catholic Sokol, Jednota, Úradom pre Slovákov žijúcich v zahraničí, the Rosary Society, Ontario Folk Arts Council, Mississauga Arts Council and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. They are grateful and honoured that these organizations have believed in them and truly are grateful for their contributions.