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Mazury Polish Dance Company: Celebrating 70 Years of Polish Dancing and Singing – an Introduction and Invitation

12/02/2019

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On Sunday 3rd of March, the internationally acclaimed Mazury Polish Dance Company will be celebrating their 70th anniversary with a show that’s guaranteed to be an array of colour and choreography. They present a variety of Polish folk dances and songs from the many regions of Poland. The 70th anniversary show will be taking place at the New Wimbledon Theatre, and with tickets selling like hot cakes, you’ll want to be quick in getting yours, for what will be an exciting and spectacular evening!

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

From humble beginnings…

Mazury, the Dance Company of the Polish YMCA in London, was set up in 1949 by Wiesław Gąsiorowski and a group of Polish ex-servicemen and women who found themselves in the UK as a result of the Second World War. Unable to return to their homeland due to the Soviet takeover and imposition of communism, they decided to establish the dance group as way to remember and celebrate their Polish heritage and culture.

…to Present Day

Today, Mazury is one of the oldest and largest Polish dance groups in London. It has over 120 members across 3 groups who span from as young as 7 to those who have been dancing in the group since the early 1980s! Mazury have had the honour to perform to a variety of audiences both in the UK and abroad. One of their most notable performances was to an audience with HM Elizabeth II and the Prince and Princess of Wales. They’ve represented Poland at the Foreign Office, performed at the Southbank, taken part in a variety of festivals, and been part of charity/social events throughout the UK. Most recently, Mazury performed at the Annual Polish Charity Ball, where they showcased a Polonez, a Mazur and Krakowiak for the Polish Ambassador to the UK and the ball’s guests.

The members who make up the dance company come from various Polish backgrounds; some were born in London and are grandchildren of the ex-servicemen, while others were born in Poland and moved to the UK more recently. What unites them is a love and passion for Polish folk song and dance and the motivation to share this aspect pf their heritage with others.

The Dancing…

Much of the original repertoire was created by the well-known Polish choreographer and ballet-master Jan Ciepliński. Over the decades, each instructor has developed and strengthened the choreography, seeking guidance and training from the areas and regions that the dances originate from to ensure that an authentic style is maintained. The current Artistic Director is Zosia Lesiecka, who took on the role in 2010 after the sudden death of her father, Włodek Lesiecki, who’d led Mazury since 1973. Zosia and Lucjan Santos-Witkowski (instructor and choreographer) lead rehearsals for all three groups (Juniors, Middles and Seniors) of Mazury every Friday in Ealing.

The Music…

Mazury’s very fortunate to have its own folk band (kapela), which is an integral part of the Dance Company and is made up of professional musicians led by current musical director, Maryla Kolendo.

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

The Costumes…

An important and eye-catching element of any Polish dance group is their costumes, which alongside the choreography help to distinguish the different regions of Poland where the dances come from. Mazury prides itself on having produced most of its own costumes. The group owns a staggering collection of over 3000 items! From embroidered corsets to handmade belts, to hats with peacock feathers, these are all looked after and organised by Wisia Saller.

Your Invitation…

With their passion for dancing and singing, and the motivation to share their Polish heritage and culture, Mazury invites you to celebrate their 70th anniversary at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Sunday, 3rdMarch, at 7pm.Come and enjoy an evening of fantastic dancing, amazing music, stunning costumes, and a heart-warming Polish atmosphere!

 

Tickets are available online and at the box office and cost £15-16 (subject to booking fee). See https://www.mazury.org.uk

 

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

(c) Ryszard Szydlo

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