• August 6, 2014
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A report of a “Wilia” dancer from the 14th World Festival of the Polish Community Folk Music Bands

On Tuesday, July 22, the current line-up of the dance group of the Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble „Wilia” set out for the 14th World Festival of the Polish Community Folk Music Bands.

We were greeted in Rzeszów by our tour leader Anna Siciak who had taken care of our band a year before. After residing in the dormitory at the campus, we could relax. During the first night, we met Polish community bands from all around the world. We had sung and danced for hours in a big gazebo.

On July 24, we had a morning rehearsal of our choreography to prove our best during the upcoming performance. Everyone had some free time after the rehearsal, so I decided to once again visit the Old Town with my friends.

July 25 was getting hectic. From breakfast to dinner, we were rehearsing our general choreography at Hala Podpromie in preparation for the Gala Concert. After dinner, 37 bands from 14 countries took part in a procession, during which each band had an opportunity to briefly present a dance from their countries. We also performed Polish songs. Upon all bands coming to the main square, we all sang the greatest Polish song of them all–“Mazurek Dąbrowskiego.” After the distinguished guests gave their speeches, the Mayor of Rzeszów opened the festival and gave us keys to the city. The rock-reggae/folk band Ratatam was entertaining us during the first night. We had great fun listening to them. Saturday, 26 July, was the day of the outdoor concert in Świlcza, a small village near Rzeszów. I believe that we, along with a local band Pułanie and Krakusy from Los Angeles, gave a great performance for residents of Świlcza. After the concert, once again we experienced the wonderful Polish hospitality.

On Sunday, the Holy Mass was said at the Church of the Sacred Heart by the Bishop Jan Wątroba to celebrate all bands that had came to the festival. Monday and Tuesday were the most hectic days of the festival. On Monday, we have been preparing for the “Folklore of Nations of the World” show all day. We danced “Szybka Polka” (lt. Greitpolkė; “the quick polka”) there. The show was amazing. In three hours, we had found out about many nations’ folklore. During the Gala Concert, titled “Faithful to Rzeszów,” we danced polonaise from the film version of Pan Tadeusz and a suite of waltzes from The Promised Land, Nights and Days, and Trędowata. The scores for those films were written by an acclaimed Polish composer Wojciech Kilar, so our dance was a tribute to him. We danced waltzes as an encore–after our performance, all of the bands applauded us.

When the event ended, even though we were partying until the morning light came up, we were sad to go. Teary-eyed, we bid our friend from all around the world and our tour leader Ania farewell. We promised, however, that we would meet again in Rzeszów in three years. We cannot wait!

Łukasz Kamiński

Translated by Michał M. Kowalski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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