Tatry Polish folk song and dance group was formed in 1962 by Barbara SławinskaBojanowska who came to England at end of World War II. The group is now based at the Polish Social and Cultural Centre close to Hammersmith where RenataUrbaniak has been Artistic Director for over 30 years.
Tatry, named after the mountain range in southern Poland, is a performing group with a wide range of dances and costumes. The dancers are mostly of Poles either born here or from Poland and over the years there have been people of other nationalities. The group also has a wide age range. Over this past year, we have started a second class which has successfully grown under AnetaOrmanczyk.
Tatry is a performing group and has danced at various festivals and appeared at Albert Hall and television programmes such as Blue Peter. The group has also danced in Prague and a number of times at weddings of their dancers in Poland.
Tatry is not just about performing well – the enjoyment and enthusiasm is an essential part of the package.
- Please, could you tell us about your background and how it leads to the work you do today?
Tatry is a Polish dance group that has been promoting Polish folk culture in London for over fifty years. Dancers are largely, though not exclusively, Polish immigrants. The group aims to create links between them and their local communities, promoting diversity and mutual understanding. Tatry perform regularly for their local community, and for members of the British public, as well as putting on dance workshops at Cecil Sharpe House. As their instructor, I have 30 years of dance experience, as well as a qualification in dance teaching accredited by the Polish Ministry of Culture.
- Where are you base?
We are based at the Polish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.
- How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
It is colourful, vibrant and energetic. Regional folk dances are performed in traditional costumes, reproduced largely on the basis of early twentieth century fashions. Dances show how people used to relax after difficult weeks at work, and reflect the values and interests of past societies.
- Who else it’s behind your brand?
We are supported by the team at the Polish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith, and our wonderful musicians led by Patrick Miles.
- What or who has been the biggest singular influence on your work?
Our work is influenced by research which has been conducted by ethnographers and anthropologists. Although we adapt dances for the stage, we aim to show authentic steps and convey a sense of what these dances might have looked like- or still look like, as folk culture is very much alive in some parts of Poland.
- Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
We have worked on a huge variety of projects over the years- we have performed at events ranging from the local and intimate to those at the Royal Albert Hall and BBC television. We are currently preparing for a performing trip to Poland in July 2016. This is an exciting project as dancers are able to meet other groups who share their passion and present their work to an entirely new audience.
- Where people can find more about you and your future projects
Please see our website:
and Facebook page : Tatry – Polish Folk Song and Dance Group