On September 13, 1965 Mr. Michal
Jedrasik, President of the Parent Advisory Committee at the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish Saturday School, initiated the formation of a Polish dance group to be affiliated with the school
Historia), under the artistic direction of Mrs. Irena
Krzak. After only a few months, the group had its first performance at the annual May 3rd
celebration, and during the following autumn, they danced at the annual United Nations Festival.
As a result of the reorganization of the group in 1971, the dance ensemble became independent from the Saturday School, taking on the name the Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton Society. The following people attended the first committee: President - Michal
Jedrasik, Vice-President - Tadeusz Kiryczuk, Secretary/Treasurer - Maria
Filipowska, and Board of Directors - Reverend Father Ryszard Kosian and Stanley Fill.
After many hardships and countless hours of work put in by the instructors (Halina
Buksinska, Jolanta Najfeldt, Teresa Morawska, Zbigniew Zapasek, Sr. Humilitas leading the choir, and Tadeusz Kiryczuk as accompaniment) as well as the dancers, ranging from 5 to 15 years in age, the dance group performed for several Polish communities in Alberta, such as
Radway, Grand Prairie, Bonnyville, and Athabasca, presenting their repertoire of
Krakowiak, Mazur, Polonez, Kujawiak, and traditional Polish songs. They received a warm welcome from the Polish community and enthusiastic applause after every performance.
In 1974, Mr. Zbigniew Filipowski became the new president of the ensemble. He extended the repertoire to include "Goralskie" (Mountaineers) dances, which were taught by Father Wladyslaw
Karciarz, OMI. Mr. Filipowski organised for the instructors to attend the Polish Folk Dance Course for Choreographers and Instructors, which was affiliated with the Maria
Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. At this time, the role of artistic director and choreographer was held by Tadeusz Batogowski from the Warsaw Grand Theatre, who improved the dance technique within the group, and whose Krakowiak moved the hearts of all audiences.
After graduating in Folk Dance Choreography at the Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in
Lublin, Poland, Mrs. Anna Filipowska, Mrs. Barbara Filipowska, and Mrs. Maria Filipowska became the instructors and choreographers of the dance group, enriching its repertoire with the
Lubelskie, Kurpowskie, Zywieckie, Slaskie, Cieszynskie, Kaszubskie, and Opoczynskie dances.
The group took part in many successive Polish celebrations: the annual May 3rd celebration, November 11th, the Combatant's Ball, Polish Canadian Congress, Polish Canadian Society, and Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish Saturday School. Its involvement with the Edmonton Folk Arts allowed for the group to perform for many different ethic groups in St. Paul, Drayton Valley, Ft. McMurray,
Josephburg, Glendon, Prince Albert, and Stony Plain, as well as for its participation in the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Edmonton Arts Folk Council, the 100th Anniversary of the Canadian National Parks held in Rocky Mountain House, and during annual Canada Day festivities.
Some noted performances that the Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton participated in were: "Polonia Jutra", a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the group, Kelowna Regatta Festival in
Kelowna, B.C., a concert in celebration of Pope John Paul II's visit to Edmonton, and the VI Canadian Polish Folk Art Festival in Toronto. The ensemble also took part in the filming of, "Polish Settlers in Alberta".
|On March 18, 1986, the organization became registered under the name of "Young Polish Canadian Dancers-Singers of Edmonton Society"
Incorporation). Incorporation of the Dance Group as a society was a very important step as it enabled Mazur to receive the grants and also make an application for the Casino, the important elements that enhanced the financial viability of Mazur. One of the objectives of these grants was to train the instructors to enrich the program and who eventually were capable, should the situation require, to take over the Artistic Direction of the organization.
At the same time, Mr. Stanislaw Zajac, who was trained in ballet and danced competitively with the Polish song and dance ensembles of Mazowsze and
Slask, became the instructor and choreographer of the group. A year later, Mrs. Debbie
Wojda, an alumnus of the previously mentioned Polish Folk Dance Course for Choreographers and Instructors, took over the role of instructor for the two younger groups within the ensemble.
On June 1, 1988, the organization changed its name (Alberta Consumer and Corporate
Affairs, Corporate Registry and Certificate of
Amendment) and became known as Mazur Polish Canadian Dancers of Edmonton Society (Mazur).
In September 1988, Dr. Walenty Michalik, a Instructor of Dance in the Special Category, dancer and artistic director of the ballet group for the song and dance ensemble "Krakus" in Krakow, became the artistic director and instructor of Mazur. During his 20-year collaboration with the group, a program rich in folklore and technique was formed, which consisted of the following dances: Krakow,
Rzeszow, Lublin, Lowicz, Slask, and Zywiec.
|Mazur also took part in many performances in Edmonton,
Alberta, and even as far as in Poland during this time, such as: the
Annual Polish Folklore Festival and the Festival of Trees in Edmonton,
numerous performances in schools, senior's homes, and hospitals, the
Kimberly Folk Festival (1997, 1998, 2007), Drumheller (1999, 2000, 2002),
Peach Festival in Penticton (2004), VII International Folklore Festival in
Krakow (1998), International Children's Folk Dance Festival in Iwonicz
Zdroj (2003, 2006) and the "Krakowskie Wyrwasy" Festival (2008).
Ms. Anetta Malczewska, participant of Courses for Polish Folk Dances Instructors organized by Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton Society and dancer of many years ( Young Polish Canadian Dancers, Mazur and Polonez), with the assistance of Amanda Chrusciel took over the role of instructors in the fall of 2008. After rigorous practices and hours of instruction, the group created an entirely new program consisting of the Mazur,
Krakowiak, Oberek, Lublin, Kaszuby, and Town Polkas, which it showcased over 20 times within the following year, including at the Festival of Trees, the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish School Banquet, Polish Panorama Ball, May 3rd Celebrations, at the Revenue Canada Banquet, Canada Day celebrations, and Heritage Days, all within Edmonton and area. In 2009 they also travelled to Disneyland in California and the Peach Festival in
Penticton, B.C. to bring their dances to new audiences.
In September 2009, Mazur formed a younger group under the instruction of Ms. Joanna
Dumicz, dancer of many years in Song and Dance Assembly "Zency" in Szczecin, Poland.
|Mazur Polish Canadian Dancers of Edmonton Society was established for the purpose of providing a creative and enticing learning environment for children and youth, so that they may learn Polish folklore dances and music from various regions of Poland. Learning various traditional dances enhances children's understanding and appreciation for Polish culture, and provides them with the opportunity to share their culture with audiences all over the world.
Despite obstacles that have come their ways during the last 45 years, the group still remains till this day. It is thanks to the motivation and dedication of its many dancers, parents, volunteers, and instructors, without whom it would not exist.
|Michal Jedrasik 1971-1974|
|Zbigniew Filipowski 1974-1986|
|Danuta Swiech 1986-1987|
|Barbara Chodkiewicz 1987-1991|
|Dariusz Struzyk 1991-1992|
|Marta Banas 1992-1995|
|Aleksandra Korzeniewska 1995-1997|
|Katarzyna Stochowska 1997-1998|
|Beata Jozwiak 1998-2005|
|Kasia Rudolf 2005-2007
|Elzbieta Linczewska 2007-2008|
|Beata Jozwiak 2008-2011|
|Kasia Rudolf 2011-2015|
List of Works Cited
|Materials from the archives of Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish Saturday School|
|Materials from the archives of the Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton Society and Mazur Polish Canadian Dancers of Edmonton Society|
|Polonia in Alberta 1895-1995 by Andrzej M. Kobos and Jolanta T. Pekacz|
|40 Lat w Sluzbie Idei SPK by Zbigniew Filipowski|