Romana Agnel, director of the Cracovia Danza Ballet, has been unanimously elected by representatives of the dance community to represent polonaise custodians. Although the action is nationwide, an important player in the inscription of the polonaise will be the city of Krakow. Not only has it already gained experience during the inscription of the Nativity Scene (szopka) tradition on the UNESCO's Representative List, but, above all, is a city which has been focused on tradition and heritage throughout the years.
The polonaise is a part of many municipal celebrations in Krakow. To mention just a few of them: the lighting of the Christmas tree in the Market Square by Mayor Jacek Majchrowski was accompanied by the polonaise called God is born performed by the Cracovia Danza Ballet, the Scottish Tartan Festival gathered many couples dancing the polonaise on the Main Market Square and the commercial about the city is is a recorded flash mob including the polonaise â€“ both as a piece of music and a dance â€“ as its main element. This is why Krakow will now become a venue for many events, thus becoming a partner in the polonaise inscription on the UNESCO list.
The Cracovia Danza Ballet will become the coordinator of Krakow's events supported by the city. It is worth mentioning that this ballet company based in Krakow has in its repertoire as many as 26 choreographies of the polonaise from different periods prepared by various choreographers. It is also the only company in Poland to dedicate entire performances to the polonaise â€“ Let the Polonaise Begin (2018) or From Polonaise to Mazur (2019).
An online collection of signatures in support of the idea of inscribing the polonaise on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List is still being run until the end of February (link to the list of signatures: https://bit.ly/3jkQJRD). Many people show interest in this topic. So far over 5 thousand people have signed the declaration (as of 9th February).
The Polonaise connects (Polonez Å‚Ä…czy) website has been set up on Facebook to promote the living tradiction and practice of this dance. There you can find a link to sign in support of the initiative. There is also a community group with the same name. Its members share recordings of their polonaise performances and information about polonaise events. The materials shared in this group prove how popular and still commonly danced the polonaise is.
At the same time, polonaise groups (koÅ‚a polonezowe) are being set up. The first one has been established in Krakow. Created from the bottom up by local communities, they will activate their dance groups and organise events. In this way, a nationwide network of such groups will be created. As Romana Agnel assures, they will be placed on an interactive map with information on activities connected with the protection and preservation of the polonaise tradition.
As Romana Agnel writes in the Polonaise Preservation Strategy, all these activities are intended "to promote already existing long-standing events and activities related to the polonaise in Poland; to activate communities practicing the polonaise to include this element in all cultural events existing in the community; to create new events-opportunities to present the polonaise in various places and spaces combining joint activities on a nationwide scale; to promote existing and newly created activities related to the polonaise in all fields of art, science and culture in a wide and varied way."
We are all custodians of the polonaise, its tradition and heritage. We therefore bear a responsibility to preserve and protect it, to nurture it and pass it on to future generations. This is why the campaign to have the polonaise inscribed on the UNESCO list is a grassroots initiative, and everyone can join in with polonaise events created by them.
This year Krakow will host, among others, the Polonaise Days called Polonaise to Independence (28th October â€“ 11th November 2021) prepared by the Cracovia Danza Ballet. The following events have been planned as part of it: a presentation of the Cracovia Danza Ballet's show Let the Polonaise Begin at the Juliusz SÅ‚owacki Theatre; a series of polonaise performances in urban spaces; the preparation of choreography to the Ignacy Jan Paderewski's polonaise by all dance groups in Krakow and its joint presentation as part of Polonaise â€“ towards Independence performance at the Grunwald Monument; the organization of the Polonaise in Krakow conference; Polonaise in Krakow publication; as well as polonaise workshops addressed to instructors and teachers.
The polonaise first appeared on UNESCO's national list in 2015, but together with other national dances such as mazur, krakowiak, kujawiak and oberek. This most important Polish dance was given the chance to be included on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity only whenÂ it was listed separately on UNESCO's national list. ThisÂ was an initiative of the national branch of the CIOFF (International Council of Organizations for Folklore, Festivals and Folk Art) and Tomasz Nowak, PhD., a musicologist.