The Young Canadian Polish Singers & Dancers of Edmonton
In 1969, under the initiative of Mr. Michael Jędrasik a Polish dance group and choir was formed at the Henryk Sienkiewicz Polish Saturday School in Edmonton. After less than four months, the dancers and singers gave their first performance at the annual May 3rd celebration.
During the fall of the same year, the group gave its first performance outside the Polish community, at the annual United Nations Festival.
The group continued to take part in this festival until the U.N. Association folded.
The group flourished with the Saturday Polish school until 1971, when it was reorganized and given its present name: THE YOUNG POLISH-CANADIAN DANCERS & SINGERS of Edmonton.
The first committee consisted of:Michael Jedrasik – President; Tadeusz Kiryczuk – Vice-president; Maria Filipowska – Secretary/Treasurer;Reverend Father Ryszard Kosian and Stanley Fill-Board of Directors.
In 1973, The Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton started performing outside the city entertaining the small Polish communities of Radway and Kopernik. The groups repertoire then consisted of Krakowiak, Kujawiak, Mazur, polonez and a choir under the direction of Sr. Humilitas. The first major provincial performance was in Grande Prairie where the group received a very warm Polish welcome from the Polish Community.
In 1974 Mr. Zbigniew Filipowski become the new president.
The The Góralskie dances were added to the group’s repertoire.
These dances were enthusiastically received by audiences in Red Deer, Athabasca and Bonnyville.
Three members of the dance group attended the Polish Folk Dance Course for Choreographers and Instructors in Lublin, Poland during the summer of 1975. They came back and increased the group’s repertoire to include dances such as: Lubelskie, Kurpiowskie, Żywieckie, Śląskie, Cieszyńskie Kaszubskie and Opoczyńskie.
The late Mr. Tadeusz Botagowski of the Warsaw Theatre became artistic Director and Choreographer of the group in 1976.
His Krakowiak was a smashing success with all the audiences.
With the return of Mr. Batogowski to Poland the following year, Anna and Barbara Filipowski became the choreographers of the group.
One of the highlights in the group’s history was the Tenth Anniversary Concert in 1979.
The one and a half hour show pat rayed songs and dances from nine regions of Poland.
The Young Polish Canadian Dancers and Singers of Edmonton have been members of the Edmonton Folk Arts Council for the past twelve years.
The first out of province performance was in Kelowna B.C. at the 1982 Kelowna Regata. 1984 saw another our of province performance in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Over the past 16 years, the group has given sixty-five concerts and one hundred and twenty-five performances.
The group is kept busy by performing at the annual Canada Day Celebrations the Provincial Museum, various inner city festivities, hospitals, malls and special occasions such as Edmonton’s NS Alberta’s 75th Anniversary and the Pope’s visit. The group was also involved in the filming of “ POLISH SETTLERS OF ALBERTA” part of a series of films on ethnic settlers of Alberta.
At its present stage, the group has fifty-four members including two children’s groups. The majority of the costumes owned by the dance group are made by Mrs. Filipowski, Anna, Maria, and some members, with the exception of a few sets which were bought in Poland.
The groups president for the past ten years has been Mr. Zbigniew Filipowski, The present artistic Directors and Choreographers are Anna and Maria Ewa Filipowski.
We take this time at the annual Canadian Polish Folk Festival in Toronto, We are very pleased and proud to take part in it.
Maria and Zbigniew Filipowski