Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

While Americans hit the beach and their cottages over the course of Memorial Day 2006, Wawel hit the dance floor and performed two shows in as many days.

On Saturday, May 27, Wawel traveled to Grand Rapids, MI to perform at Brandon and Katie's wedding. The group presented the newly weds with the traditional bread and salt and then performed Polka Tramblanka and the Karolina Polka.

On Sunday, May 28, Wawel performed along with the PRCUA Opole Dancers and the PWA Lowicz Dancers at St. Mary's of Orchard Lake's Country Fair. The group performed Polka Tramblanka, the Karolina Polka and its Rzeszow suite.

With summer here, the group is now busy preparing for the summer festival season. The group's summer performances include: Wayne State University's Festival of the Arts, Birmingham's Cultural Fair, Milwaukee's Polish Fest, Freedom Hill's Polish Fest, and Immaculate Conception's Perch Festival.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Seeing Stars

On April 30, 2006, the PRCUA Gwiazda dancers held their 46th annual recital at the St. Florian Auditorium in Hamtramck, MI. Several current and former members of Wawel danced with Gwiazda.

The program began with the ensemble singing the American and Polish National Anthems. Following the National Anthems, Gwiazda’s Choreographer, Ms. Laura Hejza, presented Gwiazda’s 2006 Graduate, Ms. Jennifer Drescher – Bjornholm. Ms. Drescher-Bjornholm was also presented at the Michigan State Ball on March 4, 2006. Her escort for both the State Ball and her Gwiazda graduate waltz was Mr. Thomas Zuchowski.

After the presentation of Ms. Drescher-Bjornholm, she and her escort danced to the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss, Jr. Her 15 years of dance were apparent as she and her escort delivered an elegant and graceful performance.

Gwiazda next presented some of the national dances of Poland. Included were Groups 1, 2 and Alumni members presenting the Polonez followed by Group 1 and the Alumni presenting the Mazur. These dances were the picture of dignity with the men in their military uniforms and the ladies in their stately ball gowns.

Following the national dances, Gwiazda took its audience on a virtual tour of Poland. The tour began with presentations from the region of Slask by the tots and Group 2. The dances in the Slask suite included Grozik, Gasior, Kokotek and one of the most representational dances of the region, Trojak.

Staying in southern Poland, Group 1 and the Alumni dancers next presented a suite of dances from Cieszyn. Included in the suite were the Chodzony, Jawornicki and Mazurka Goleszowska.

From Cieszyn, Gwiazda moved east to the city of Rzeszow, a lively region of Poland where the inhabitants bring new meaning to the term “get down,” through the bent knee characteristic of their dances. Group 2 presented a suite of dances from Rzeszow including Gacok, Lasowiak, and Polka Hurra.

The audience was next transported to central Poland and the region of Lowicz, with its rich folkloric traditions, exquisite dress and varied dances. Group 1 and the Alumni presented a sampling of Lowicz’s rich cultural heritage through their presentation of Chodzony, Klapok, a lively Lowicz Oberek, and Polka Drygana.
After a brief intermission, Hamtown met Motown as Gwiazda presented tap and jazz numbers to the Motown Records musical catalog. Included among them was Group 2 dancing to Heat Wave, by Martha and the Vandellas, the Tots dancing to Sugar Pie Honey Bunch by the Four Tops and Group 1’s interpretation of the Temptation’s I Can’t get Next To You.

Following a quick costume change, the Ensemble returned to present their own versions of some toe tapping American Polkas. Included were Group 2 dancing to the Let’s be Happy Polka, the Tots’ Dancing Doll Polka and Group 1 and the Alumni’s presentation of the Hosa Dyna Polka.

Gwiazda then concluded its recital with entire Ensemble’s performance of the Krakowiak.

Congratulations go out to all Gwiazda students and parents on a fine performance. Special thanks to Ms. Laura Hejza, Choreographer - Group 1 & Alumni, Ms. Basia Grabas - Choreographer, Group 2 & Tots, Dominika Koper, Assistant Teacher, Cindy Cervenak, Director, the Officers of the Gwiazda Dancers: Elaine Schima, President; Kim Hancasky, Vice President and April Kobeski, Secretary/ Treasurer, the Alumni Members of the Gwiazda Dancers, Tommy Lisiecki for his help with music for the recital and to St. Florian’s pastor, Fr. Tomasz Sielicki for the use of the Parish’s facilities for practices and the recital.

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