Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday: A Day of Rest?

That might have been the original plan, but Sunday May 6, 2007 was a busy one for members of the Wawel Folk Ensemble.

In the morning, the Ensemble participated at the 11:00 mass and procession at St. Hyacinth's parish in Detroit, Michigan. The mass and procession were celebrated by His Eminence, Adam Cardinal Maida, Archbishop of Detroit in celebration of the parish's 100th Anniversary. St. Hyacinth is the 9th oldest Polish parish in the Archdiocese and has a long tradition of serving Polonia and America.

In the afternoon, the Ensemble presented its Rzeszow suite at Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights, Michigan at a talent competition sponsored by the United States' Postal Service.

The Ensemble is now busily preparing for its upcoming summer season. Performance this summer include: the Milwaukee, Wisconsin's annual PolishFest and the Polish Folk Dance Association of the Americas Festival held in Chicago, IL. Wawel's next public performance will be on June 8, 2007 at the Detroit Festival of the Arts on the Wayne State University Campus.

Gwiazda: Dancing with the Stars

On April 29, 2007, the PRCUA Gwiazda Dancers presented their 47th Annual Recital at the St. Florian Church Hall in Hamtramck, Michigan.

The program began with the singing of the American and Polish National Anthems followed by a welcome and introductory comments from Gwiazda’s Choreographer, Ms. Laura Hejza.

The recital began with Gwiazda’s presentation of the national dances of Poland. Included were Groups 1, 2, 3 & and the 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.

Gwiazda continued its presentation of the national dances of Poland with a Kujawiak – Oberek performed by Alumni members Natalia Maska (2004) and Nick Nowakowski (1997). The national dances were rounded out with the entire ensemble presenting the Krakowiak which included a visit from the Lajkonik, played by Alumni member Jonathan Kobeski (2000), and the entire ensemble singing Płynie Wisła

Following the national dances, Gwiazda took its audience on a virtual tour of Poland. The tour began in the forests of northeastern Poland with dances from the region of Kurpie presented by Group 2.

From Kurpie, Gwiazda moved east to the region of Kaszuby located on the Baltic Sea and home to beautiful beaches and the birthplace of the Solidarity movement. Groups 3 and 4 presented suites of dances from Kaszuby. The movements of the Kaszubian dances incorporate many elements and movements of the sea which was pivotal in the lives and livelihoods of the people from this region.

Gwiazda next took the audience southwest almost to the Russian border to the region of Lublin. Group 1 presented a suite of dances from Lublin which included Mach, Polka Podlaska, and Osa.

Following a quick costume change, the Ensemble returned to present their own versions of some toe tapping American Polkas. Included were Group 4 dancing to the Regina Polka, Group 2’s Hanusia Polka, Group 3’s interpretation of the classic Zosia polka and Group 1’s presentation of the Sally Polka.

Next Gwiazda took its audience westward and across the pond with its American numbers. This year’s theme was Dancing with the Stars. Performances included Group 4’s Quick Step to Sing, Sing, Sing, Group 2’s Jive to the chartbusting hit SOS by Rihanna, Group 3’s Disco to Shake your Grove Thing and Group 1’s Cha Cha to Everbody to the Cha Cha.

After a second intermission, the entire Gwiazda dance school concluded its performance with a suite of dances from the mountains of Zywiec. Included in the suite were Siustu, Sarna, and Hajduk. The audience was wowed by the athletic stunts and intricate footwork demonstrated by the dancers.

Congratulations go out to all Gwiazda students and parents on a fine performance, especially Ewa Sztandera, who received her 5 year trophy. Special thanks to Ms. Laura Hejza, Choreographer - Group 1 & Alumni, Ms. Basia Grabas - Choreographer, Groups 2, 3, and, 4, Dominika Koper, Assistant Teacher, Cindy Cervenak, Director, the Officers of the Gwiazda Dancers: Kim Hancasky, President and April Kobeski, Vice President, Natalia Maska (2004), who provided Polish narration for the recital, the Alumni Members of the Gwiazda Dancers and to St. Florian’s pastor, Fr. Tomasz Sielicki for the use of the Parish’s facilities for practices and the recital.

After a busy 9 months, its time for some well earned rest and relaxation. See you in September.


Congratulations to Wawel's Choreographer, Donna Skurski and Wawel member Tommy Lisiecki. In addition to their involvement with Wawel each choreographs a children's group which recently presented their annual spring recitals. Donna teaches the PRCUA Opole Dancers and the PWA Lowicz Dancers, Tommy teaches the PRCUA Halka Dancers.

Congratulations also go out to Wawel members recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Warren Polka Boosters. They include Alumni member Jim Chmielewski, Vice-President, Adella Pietryzk, Corresponding Secretary and Nick Nowakowski, Procedure Director. The Warren Polka Booster's next dance is its Beach Party themed dance on July 28, 2007.

Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Polish Constitution Day

Konstytucja 3 Maja 1791 by Jan Matejko
Poles and Polonia celebrate the adoption of Poland's Constitution on May 3. The 1791 Constitution contained many of the same ideas brought about by the European enlightenment that fueled both the American and French Revolutions and served as the basis for the American Declaration of Independence.
The 1791 Constitution granted equality between the nobles and peasant and effectively did away with serfdom in Poland. This brought about reactionary responses from Poland's neighbors and brought about the demise of the Polish republic and the partition of Poland by its neighbors Russia, Prussia and Austria in 1795. Poland remained partitioned for the next 123 years and did not re-appear on the European map until the Treaty of Versailles signed in 1918.

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