My 12 years of “stuff”

 

danielb

It is hard to believe that I have been in Polonez for 12 years. I still vividly remember my first practice. Or more precisely, I still remember my distinct displeasure at joining a “dancing” group. My brother had enlisted the previous week, and my mum thought it would be a good idea that I follow his example. I had never danced, nor had I ever wanted to dance. Still to this day, I claim not to be a dancer…

Given this lack of passion for “dancing”, the key question worth asking is: why am I still here 12 years later? The answer is simple: it’s all the other “stuff” that comes along with being a Polonez member.

That’s how I explain to my non-Polish friends why Polonez is so special to me. However, they never seem to understand what I mean by “stuff”. They roll their eyes when I decline their invite on a Friday night, saying “oh that Polish thing again yeah…?” I’m sure this sounds familiar to all Polonez members reading this… Yet, we all stay. We all embrace. We all love Polonez. So, what is this “stuff”? In a way the “stuff” is intangible, but in other ways, it represents all the opportunities provided to Polonez members – opportunities that none of us would ever have been able to experience if it wasn’t for joining the group.

For me, the “stuff” includes three trips to Europe (including performances in Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania); four trips to Australian cities for Polarts (Sydney, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth); and involvement in the Federation Square festivals. I have had the opportunity to open the 2005 Gala Concert in Rzeszow; dance in front of 12,500 people at Vilnius’ Siemens Arena in 2005; and perform at the Sydney Opera House in 2003. While trips and performances have certainly been highlights, the most important thing about Polonez is the fact that it is a family. As soon as you join Polonez, you know that you haven’t just enrolled in another dancing or social group. Polonez is different. It is unique. The friends you make are lifelong. The bonds formed when travelling overseas are unbreakable. The sense of loyalty to one another is lasting.

Being a member of Polonez has also enabled me to become part of a much broader Polish community. Following my seven Polonez tours, I have Polish friends in every major Australian city, as well as in Canada and the USA. This is probably the thing I cherish most about being in Polonez. It is also great to know that wherever I go, I’ll have a tour guide, and if I push the friendship enough, perhaps a place to sleep too!

Oddly, Polish dancing has also greatly assisted with my professional successes. When I applied for Law School, Polonez was the first extra-curricular activity mentioned. At my job interview, HR were most fascinated by Polonez, rather than academia or sport. Even when I did vacation work, my boss was more interested in a demonstration of Goralski, than he was about my intellect! This is because Polonez is quirky and exceptional – and helps to separate me form nearly every person I meet. Indeed, it recently enabled my admission to a TV game-show. At my audition, the producer was most attracted to the “Polish dancing thing”, and when introduced on the show, I was called “Daniel, the folk-dancing lawyer”!

I feel privileged to have been part of Polonez for the past 12 years. I look forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary next year, by honouring those whose hard-work and determination have resulted in today’s ensemble. Without their efforts, Polonez could not have facilitated so many of the things I have enjoyed in my life to this date. By providing me with so much “stuff”, Polonez has served me in ways beyond contemplation. For that, I am, and will always be, tremendously grateful.

Daniel Bolkunowicz

Polart 2015 Fundraising Dinner

Polonez recently was invited to perform at the Polart 2015 Fundraising Dinner. The event held at the Polish club Albion with all proceeds going towards the funding of the up coming 2015 Polart Festival to be held in Melbourne. Polonez performed to a full house of patrons with a dance from the Podlaski region.

Celebrations at Polish Club Albion

Celebrations for the extensions to the Polish Club Albion in the presence of Hon Nicholas Wakeling, Minister for Higher Education and Skills.

Polonez dancers

Biesiada

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Polonez Melbourne singing and dancing the roof off at the “Biesiada” at Essendon Church.

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Music For The People

Polonez recently was invited to perform at the 2014 Music for the People Multicultural event. Celebrating the closing of the annual Brunswick Music Festival, the event was planned to be full of music, dancing and food but unfortunately was rained out, never the less Polonez kept a smile on their faces and were still excited to be together on the day.
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Maslenitsa Slavic Festival 2014

 

Polonez was proud to have danced at the 2014 Maslenitsa Slavic Festival at the Royal Exhibition Building Melbourne.

We danced along side our brothers and sisters from fellow Slavic national dance groups, including Russian, Slovakian, Georgian.

The day was full of music, drinks and sun.

Maslenitsa 2014 Group ShotMaslenitsa 2014 Krakowiak

Stachowiak Wedding

On a sunny day in December in Daylesford, a small troop of Polonez members had the joy of dancing at the Stachowiak & Opasik wedding. The pair of dancers performed Czardasz to a intimate room full of guests much to the pleasure of all those who attended.

Polish Festival 2013

Again we had the pleasure for opening the official part of the Polish Festival at Federation Square Melbourne. We danced alternating with Obertas group form Brisbane. Opening with our freshly revitalised Podlaski dance, we entertained the crowds with regular favourites like Nowy Sącz, Rzeszów and Hucuł. We finished with the always entertaining Lwów and closing the show with Krakowiak. A Highlight as always was leading the public in a polonaise across the whole of the square. Our dancers enjoyed their time both on and off the stage. There was lots of great Polish food, drink and entertainment on offer and a great atmosphere shared with many dance group members from interstate.

Images thanks to Limo Visuals https://www.facebook.com/lemovisuals

Zabijacka (Slovak Wine Ball)

Polonez recently was invited to perform at the Slovak Wine Ball (Zabijacka). One of the most popular functions on the Slovak Social Calendar Polonez was proud to be the honorary group and entertainment for the night. Here are some photos from the night.

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