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KrakusyEstablished in 1956, the "Polish Folk Dance Group" was a result of a direct need to represent Poland in an "International Folk Festival" held annually at UCLA. Organized by Henia Cybulska, four young immigrant couples overcame difficulties in obtaining costumes and music to perform at the festival. The original members of the ensemble included Zosia and Wiesiek Adamowicz, Henia and Kazik Cybulski, Krystyna Janiszewska, and Zbyszek Szumanski, Basia and Tadzik Sarnecki, and Wanda Gwozdziowska at the piano. They were soon after rewarded with further opportunities to dance and perform, including an invitation to perform at Disneyland. Steadily growing in number of members, the group performed for local community events and festivals, as well as, television shows. Henryk and Krystyna Jankowski became the group's first official artistic directors in 1964, when a second generation of dancers was enlisted.
City of KrakowAttracting newly arrived Polish immigrants and professional dancers from "Slask" and "Mazowsze" Polish national folk ensembles, the group continued to grow and increase its repertoire. In 1966, the "Polish Folk Dance Group" performed at the Los Angeles Coliseum to celebrate 1000 years of Christianity in Poland. By this time, the ensemble was composed of over 100 dancers. Also in 1966, Staszek Danko, a well-known soloist from "Slask", joined the group and added dances from Tatra Highlanders to the ensemble's repertoire. In 1967, Marylka Klimek George, an experienced and talented soloist from "Slask" joined the ensemble and became its dance director and choreographer. For close to the next 20 years, under her dynamic
Edward Hoffman
Current Instructor
Previous Instructors
leadership, the ensemble blossomed; the repertoire was enriched with new national and cultural folk dances and Polish and American audiences enthusiastically received concerts. In 1968, the ensemble adopted its current name "Krakusy", a familiar reference to the townspeople of Krakow, the old Capital of Poland. Some of the more notable performances include: in 1984, participation in the opening ceremonies of Olympic games at the Los Angeles Coliseum; performance at the opening festivities preceding the Papal liturgy at Dodger Stadium in 1987; and in 1997 the ground breaking ceremonies of the new cathedral "Queen of Angels" in downtown Los Angeles.
Since its inception, Krakusy have meticulously retained the traditional costumes and authentic character of each Polish regional dance. Since 1997, the group has been directed Krakusyartistically by a number of former members and dancers who began dancing in the group at a very young age. These directors have traveled to Poland and completed courses of study in Polish folklore and have brought back new and exciting song and dance traditions.
For over 45 years Krakusy has performed throughout the western United States generously sharing Polish folklore and culture with the American public. Over 500 young people have danced or participated in the ensemble over that time. That means over 1000 parents have helped with sewing costumes, music, systems and stage production, fund-raising efforts and other functions related to maintaining the smooth operation of the ensemble.

In 2012 Krakusy were awarded two very prestigious awards;

  • Gold medal was received from Headquarters of “Wspolnota Polska”, organization, which govern Polish folk ensembles all over the world. This medal was awarded to Krakusy for many years of work to entertain and educate Polish Americans and Americans about Polish dances, folk songs, costumes and polish customs.

Krakusy continue to serve as ambassadors of Polish culture in performances throughout the state. [...] Krakusy enjoy nothing more, however, than sharing their folklore and culture with you."

 

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