The Roots of Dance / Korzenie tańca is an international and multicultural artistic project for young generations of dancers and choreographers. It is about stimulating their creativity by going back to the roots of culture, looking for inspiration and stimuli in local cultures for the development of contemporary dance and enriching the dance culture of the world. The final workshop culminating in the final show in Katowice has just taken place.
From 23 September to 2 October, participants from almost all partner countries came to Katowice to come together and prepare a dance show for the public.
First, the participants met with the Magurzanie Regional Ensemble in Łodygowice and took part in traditional singing workshops led by Brygida Sordyl, band manager, and traditional dancing workshops with Bartłomiej Mieszczak. They then met with the Biołodunajcanie Regional Ensemble in Biały Dunajec and took part in a regional dance workshop with Iwona Kiwacka-Majerczyk, the ensemble’s manager. In Katowice, they took part in choreography workshops together with students from the Dance Division of the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice, leading to the creation of choreographic etudes, which they presented at the final show. The workshop was led by choreographers and pedagogues Jacek Łumiński, Aleksandra Dziurosz and dance teachers Angelika Karal, Sebastian Wiertelak and Łukasz Zgórka.
The culmination of the Roots of Dance project was a show that took place on 2 October at 7 p.m. at the Szopienice-Giszowiec Municipal House of Culture. During the evening, dancers from Mexico, Canada, Georgia, Croatia, Malaysia and India, as well as dance students from the Dance Division in Katowice, presented etudes created after joint workshop work.
This is how Sudarshan Chakravorty, choreographer and founder of Sapphire Creations Dance Company, recalls the final meeting:
„The 12 days tour of Poland took dancers to Zakopane, Katowice, Warsaw and further in the south in the mountains to experience the traditional music and dance of Poland in the Roots of Dance project. Artists from Mexico, Canada, Georgia, Croatia, Malaysia and India presented choreographic works prepared in cooperation with the students of Dance Division of Music Academy of Katowice.
The Roots of Dance project was one of its kind both in terms of its orientation and the approach of the whole program. It first initiated in the year 2020 online when participants were introduced to the whole project and then two years later it finally took place in physical spaces in respective cities of the participating countries and in Katowice (Poland) with so many other participants from different countries coming together under one roof . We had workshops on Polish folklores in music and dance by teachers from Poland namely Brygida Sordyl, Bartlomiej Hacocok Mieszczak and Iwona Kiwacka at Łodygowice and Biały Dunajec and finally Jacek Łuminski in Katowice.
In Katowice, dancers had classes on Polish Contemporary Dance Technique led by Jacek Łuminski. The best part about this program was its inclusive format since the participants had different art backgrounds and not just dance.
For our final presentation as part of the project it was staged at this beautiful venue called Miejski Dom Kultury Szopienice-Giszowiec in Katowice. Overall it was an enriching experience and something to take forward in coming years as a continuous project.”
Mateusz Czekaj, project coordinator, summarises the project:
„’The origins of the Roots of Dance project date back to 2019 when, on the initiative of Aleksandra Dziurosz, Deputy Director of the Institute of Music and Dance 2018-2022 for Dance, Polish artists travelled to California to conduct workshops on Polish traditional dances with elements of instrumental learning and choreographic workshops inspired by Polish tradition at the Department of Music and Dance at San Diego State University. The presenters were Piotr Zgorzelski, Anna Čemeljić, Aleksandra Dziurosz and the WoWaKin ensemble.
A year later, already during the Covid-19 pandemic, Jacek Łuminski, choreographer and pedagogue, Bartłomiej Mieszczak, a highlander and expert in the music, singing and dances of the Żywiec Beskids, and Janusz Prusinowski and Ewa Koźlakiewicz, experts in the music and traditional dances of Poland, were invited to join the project. They led online workshops for participants from the Kofago Dance Ensemble (New York, USA), Sapphire Creations Dance Company (Kolkata, India), Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (Hangzhou, China) and ASK Dance Company (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Happily, the following year we were able to continue the project and invited new participants from Arts Research Institute of Georgia (Tbilisi, Georgia), Moving Borders (Mérida, Mexico), The Dance Centre (Vancouver, Canada), TRAFIK dance / theatre company and Croatian Institute for Dance and Movement (Zagreb, Croatia).
After the online workshop, we hit the road to meet the participants live. This wasn’t always easy due to covid restrictions, but we managed! Our residencies abroad were supported by diplomatic missions: the Polish Institute in Tbilisi (Georgia), the Polish Embassy in Mexico City (Mexico), the Polish Consulate General in Vancouver (Canada), the Polish Institute in New York (USA) and the Polish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
During each trip, Jacek Łumiński, Aleksandra Dziurosz and one of the dancers: Sebastian Wiertelak, Łukasz Zgórka and Angelika Karal led the dance workshops, while I coordinated the project. In each country, the participants were very involved in the joint activities and genuinely interested in the elements of Polish culture that we wanted to convey to them. The audiences, both local and online, were supportive and often talked to us about Roots of Dance after the presentations.
Finally, we invited all the project participants to Poland. Most of them came to Katowice to learn together about the traditional cultures of Podhale and Beskid Żywiecki and to prepare presentations with dance students. The workshops took place in the spaces of the Dance Division at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice and the show at the Szopienice-Giszowiec Municipal House of Culture – our partners, without whom there would have been no such successful finale!
Roots of Dance allowed us to look at Polish dance culture through the prism of a multicultural encounter with participants from different corners of the world. It was fascinating to find similarities of musical and dance elements in other cultures and to establish new relationships with such wonderful artists. The participants were delighted with their stay in Poland and still reminisce about the time. We are already looking forward to meeting them again!”
We encourage you to watch the project summary video, the recording of the final show and the photos:
A review of the final presentation as described by Alison Kent for Dance Europe magazine, no. 264, December/January 2022 is now available: Issue #264 | Dance Europe –
The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage as part of the “Inspirational Culture” Programme.
Project contact person:
Mateusz Czekaj – Programme Specialist
tel. +48 785 430 000, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org