After two decades of artistic directorship under the Skalinski family, Polanie emerged into a new era, a fresh and exciting time of leadership that evolved from the ensemble itself. 2005 was the year for new beginnings as well as continued traditions, when the reigns of the Artistic Director were passed on to Patti Czerski - a former dancer, instructor, and a leader in Polanie since 1991.
Patti’s love and passion for Polish dance began at a young age, when she immigrated to Canada from Poland in 1985. Growing up in Calgary, Patti has studied and fostered her love and appreciation of Polish folklore and dance ever since, through a continued commitment to dancing and performing not only in Polish ensembles, but also exploring the world of Ukrainian dance, ballet, jazz, funk, and contemporary dance forms through the University of Calgary, Tryzub Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, and Decidedly Jazz Dance works. Patti has performed at countless festivals in Poland, the United States, and Canada, as well as stages at the Calgary Stampede Grandstand Show, Canada Day, Heritage Day, and various other public celebrations. Patti is also no stranger to the theatre stage, and has performed in full-length productions and in collaborative, multi-disciplinary shows, as well as assisted in producing them since the mid-nineties.
In 1996 Patti’s role in Polanie expanded when she became a dance instructor for the ensemble - the first dance instructor to be brought up from the ranks of Polanie dancers. She has been passing on the art of Polish dance since then, and also initiated the greater development of dance technique and exploration of different dance styles by arranging special workshops with guest artists of various dance disciplines. Patti’s dedication to and knowledge of dance on a larger scale has fostered higher levels of artistic integrity and appreciation within the ensemble.
As an Artistic Director, it was Patti’s vision to achieve a balance between preserving the unique style and artistic tradition of Polanie, and evolving into new and fresh artistic approaches. With her passion and long standing dedication to the art of Polish dance, as well as her extended experience in the dance genre overall, Patti was leading Polanie in a direction of heightened artistic abilities, higher standards of technical merits, increased presence in the artistic and public realms, and greater artistic integrity.