Alex Petlichkov has dedicated his entire life to promoting and preserving the rich Macedonian culture through traditional song and dance. From the very beginning, he was captivated by the intricate rhythms and melodies, and the colourful and dynamic movements that are central to Macedonian folklore. As Alex grew older, he became increasingly involved in the cultural life of his community.
Alex arrived to Canada in 1957 with a clear goal in mind, to promote Macedonian culture through traditional dance. His talent and dedication quickly became evident, Ensemble Makedonka was founded in 1959, then known as The Macedonian Dance Group. In 1964, in conjunction with the Executive Board of Directors of St. Clement of Ohrid Macedonian Orthodox Church in Toronto, Canada, The Macedonian Dance Group became an official auxiliary of the church. It was later in 1970, that their name changed to what we know today as Ensemble Makedonka.
From the date of their creation in 1959, Ensemble Makedonka became the first Folklore group to make an impact outside of Macedonia, and Alex Petlichkov soon became recognized as one of the most skilled and passionate community leaders. But for Alex, promoting Macedonian culture was more than just a hobby or a pastime. It was a calling, a mission that he devoted his entire life to. He became a true master of the craft, and the performances he constructed were always a testament to the beauty, complexity, and richness of Macedonian culture. Alex and his wife Mary danced for several years together, and eventually having two children, Gail and Chris. His 2 children, along with his three grandchildren Peter, Thomas and Julia will go on to dance in Ensemble Makedonka for many years to come.
Through his tireless efforts, Alex played an instrumental role in preserving and promoting the unique cultural heritage of Macedonia. He inspired countless others to take an interest in traditional Macedonian music and dance, and has helped several other Macedonian folklore groups get a head start.
In addition to his work in his local community, Alex took the groups talent on the road, traveling around the world to share the beauty and richness of Macedonian culture with audiences in many different countries. Ensemble Makedonka's performances were always a hit, with their vibrant costumes, intricate footwork, and soulful melodies captivating audiences everywhere they went. Ensemble Makedonka’s success and longevity is a testament to his talent and dedication to the traditions of Macedonian music and dance.
Today, Ensemble Makedonka is synonymous with the very best of Macedonian folk music and dance, and Alex Petlichkov’s legacy lives on in the many individuals and groups who continue to carry on the traditions he worked so hard to preserve and promote. The ensemble continues to be run by his grandson Peter Ziskos and his wife Victoria Veljanov, both alumni dancers. They too are excited and devoted to keep the Macedonian folklore tradition thriving for many generations of dancers to come.