Polish Dance Excellence

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Sister Alojza (Krystyna Cichowicz), from the Calgary Polish Communities Our Lady Queen Of Peace Parish, founded the Polanie Song & Dance Association forty years ago and laid the foundation for success and the achievement of Polish Dance Excellence. Her passion for Polish Dance drove the association forward over the early years and was key in nurturing Polish Canadian youth and cultivating a love for Folk Dance.  

The influence of Sister Alojza has spanned the decades. In fact, a number of the Polanie parents and even the current Artistic Director were pupils of hers over the years! Polanie Song & Dance Association will always reserve a special place for Sister Alojza as she is the true Heart of Polanie.

The Decade under Dr. Marek Skalinski's Artistic leadership is when the Association's quest for Polish Dance Excellence took flight:

Through his unique choreographic style of delicate balance, authenticity of tradition and enhanced theatrical vibrancy, Skalinski elevated "Polanie" to the ranks of the best ethnic dance ensembles in North America.  

Dr. Skalinski promoted the beauty of international dance and produced numerous multicultural festivals and shows during the period of his Artistic leadership.  The Impact Marek Skalinski had on Polanie's cultivation and achievement of Polish Folk Dance Excellence cannot be overstated as he has left a profound mark on Polanie's Repertoire and the Association as a whole.

Skalinski's coat-tails proved long as the passion, momentum, and influence generated under his Artistic Leadership helped propel the Association forward after his resignation.  Indeed, his daughter Maya continued the Skalinkski families focus on dance excellence and attainment of high standards.   

Patti Czerski ushered in a new era for Polanie.  Patti has the distinction of becoming the first homegrown Artistic Director as she came up through the ranks of Polanie. She brought changes to the Association with new artistic approaches and creations.  

There is one thing, however, that did not change, and that is the same high level of discipline  and dedication to Polish Dance Excellence.  Czerski raised the bar with both technical standards and artistic integrity and certainly added to Polanie's standard of excellence.

During the above period Polanie performed internationally to a wide range of audiences.  The association performed in Canada, United States, and Europe, including performances at high profile events such as the Olympic Games, Poland’s prestigious International Festival of Polish Folk Dance where it was awarded first prize for Best Choreography, and second prize for Best Performance.

In 2008, Polanie obtained the services of an exceptionally talented and educated professional.  Sandro Barbosa was born in Santa Mariana, Brazil where he began his Polish Dance career.  His passion and commitment to Polish Dance and Culture so impressed the Brazilian Minister of Culture and Education that he awarded Sandro a scholarship to study Polish culture and folk dance in Poland.  Barbosa then proceeded to surpass all expectations when he successfully completed two challenging four year degree programs and went on gain valuable experience in Poland:

Sandro completed a four year program in Ethnography at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and a four year scholarship program in choreography at the Marie Curie University of Lublin. Sandro also studied with the Igor Moisseyev Ballet and the State Ensemble Beriozka Teachers Program in Konin, Poland and Moscow, Russia.

Sandro's talents in choreography are at an exceptional level.  He brought an outstanding level of professionalism and artistic flair to Polanie. To say he left a lasting impression would be an understatement.  Sandro Barbosa's focus on discipline and artistic accomplishment elevated the Polanie Song & Dance Association to a new level. The Association enormously benefited from the education, training, and experience that Sandro acquired during his time in Poland.

Although the highlights under Sandro were many,  Polanie has selected the Montecatini Italy Festival in 2014 to distinguish Sandro and illustrate his talents as an outstanding leader and Artistic Director. Watch the video below where Sandro is introduced and goes on to talk passionately about Polanie.  That opening is then followed up with some of the dance highlights by his group, and closes with Sandro being recognized and congratulated by the Festival Director.

In 2016, Polanie promoted Jesse Wilms to the Artistic Director position.  Jesse holds the distinction of being the first Artistic Director that has been schooled from the cradle and though all levels of the Polish communities dance programs, and subsequently into this key position!  Although Jesse actually began her dance career at the age of three she was registered into the Gaiczek program a couple years later:

Jesse started dancing in the Polish group Gaiczek when she was 6 years old under the direction of Siostra Alojza, founder of the Polanie Polish Song & Dance Association. At 12, she moved on to dance in the Krakusy Dance Ensemble, where the group participated in Iwonicz Zdroj in the 7th Polonijny Festiwal Dzieciecych Zespolow Folklorystycznych.

Within time Jesse graduated to Polanie where her passion and commitment to Polish dance exceeded all expectations.  She evolved into a leadership position in Polanie and in 2016 the Board of Directors, seeing the potential, offered her the Artistic Director position.  

While bringing her own personal creative flair to the position; Jesse is the product of Polanie's 40 year focus on the achievement of Polish Dance Excellence, and she's the beneficiary of an exceptionally talented group of Artistic Directors that went before her and set the standards. The Polanie Board is committed to providing Jesse access to all the tools and training that will help her evolve into a world class Artistic Director. Jesse has been rewarded her with an advanced training program in Poland to further evolve her choreography skills.   

Polanie has chosen a video from International Women's Day to acknowledge Jessee where she choreographed and also danced in the performance. Although the dancing conditions were less than ideal; the performance was outstanding!  Watch and see as the crowd feeds off the energy created by the Polanie Dancers. This was an outstanding event and the group was rewarded with a visit by Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi at the conclusion of the performance!

40th Anniversary Celebration

The Polanie Association is currently preparing for their upcoming 40th Anniversary celebrations.  Polanie has obtained the services of Mario Maslaniec, an outstanding choreographer from Slask (Polish National Song and Dance Ensemble) the world's premier Polish Dance organization to assist with the preparation of the dance group.   Slask has toured internationally to rave reviews and received numerous internationally prestigious awards. In fact, The President of the United States and the Russian Minister of Culture are among the many to have formally recognized Slask.  Polanie is honoured to have Mario on board and currently collaborating with Jesse Wilms in preparation for the 40th Anniversary Gala performance.  

Polanie is raising the bar even higher for this special event and are absoultqly thrilled to announce that Krzysztof Jablonski one of the world's outstanding pianists will also be performing on stage at our Gala:

Krzysztof Jablonski is Laureate of the F. Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw in 1985 as well as numerous top prizes at international piano competitions in Milan, Palm Beach, Monza, Dublin, New York, Calgary as well as Gold Medal at the A. Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition in Tel Aviv.

Mark your calendars! Headlined by the Polanie Dancers and pianist Krzysztof Jablonski this will truly be a world class performance. Don't miss this opportunity to be treated to an evening extravaganza of Polish cultural celebration.

Polanie's Vision

Substantial change is currently impacting the Polanie Polish Song & Dance Association.  The Board of Directors is effectively managing that change and steering the organization in new directions; however; always mindful of Polanie's bedrock mission statement.   The new vision of Polanie adopted by the Board of Directors one year ago is:

Within the spirt of the Polanie Mission Statement; our vision is to celebrate Polish Dance and Canadian multiculturalism by projecting our Polish folk dance team onto the global stage where we can share our culture and passion with the world

The vehicle chosen to accomplish that vision was to develop an effective presence over the internet through the Polanie website and social media platform.  Polanie has taken a significant step in that direction over the past year with the integration of a active and growing social media platform consisting Facebook, Vimeo, Twitter, and Instagram and a current social media following and website traffic now in the thousands. 

With the release of the new website version which now tells the Polanie Story in multiple languages and incorporates state of the art search engine optimization, the Association is now projecting broad visibility on a global scale.  Polanie is on the cusp of realizing the vision statement!

Sister Alojza (Krystyna Cichowicz); look what you've created out of that little Polish Parish in Calgary, Alberta Canada some forty years ago...

Polanie Polish Song & Dance Association, 3015 15 St NE Calgary, AB, Calgary, AB T2E 7L8, Calgary T2E 7L8, Canada

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