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RIYADH: The world-renowned Polish Slask Song and Dance Ensemble named after Stanislaw Hadyna performed for Saudi audiences at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter.
The Theater and Performing Arts Commission of the Saudi Ministry of Culture organizes the ensemble event which features participants wearing colorful traditional costumes from various regions of Poland during song and dance routines.
Traditional dances include Krakowiak, Mazurka, Oberek, Polonaise and Bohemian Polka, backed by the orchestra.
Dr. Houd Al-Omrani, the event’s project manager, told Arab News: “Essentially, we thought about Polish folklore based on Poland’s rich history.
“Poland has gone through many experiences, but one of the beautiful things is that through their experience of World Wars I and II, the Polish people thought positively about how to prevent their identity from being erased. because of these wars.”
Poles have focused on protecting their rich history by nurturing young people’s attachment and love for the country’s heritage, documenting their stories through song and dance.
The shows presented are rooted in centuries of culture and heritage, inspired by regional customs. Much of this folklore was retained by the famous Polish composer Frederic Chopin, who frequently incorporated them into his works.
Al-Omrani said folklore in many cultures around the world has often been overlooked or forgotten due to a lack of documentation of music, clothing, dance, and other elements.
“What happened with Polish culture is that world-class composers like Frederic Chopin, one of the greatest composers in the world and in the history of the piano, composed a large part of the Polish heritage , including what we listen to in Riyadh.
“Polish culture has different dimensions, just like Saudi culture; it changes depending on the area and the city. If you notice the clothes, they are colorful and the ways of dancing are different. Some of the techniques are inspired by natural elements in Poland, such as the peacock and the hen,” Al-Omrani added.
The week-long show was organized as part of efforts to create opportunities for cultural exchange and strengthen relations between Poles and Saudis.
Zbigniew Cierniak, the director of the Polish ensemble, told Arab News: “We are absolutely sure that the audience here in Saudi Arabia will bring only positive feelings. There’s a lot of historical context after every play we put on, so it’s not just art in itself, but it’s also an educational aspect, which we like to emphasize.
“After spending a few days in Saudi Arabia, we are absolutely thrilled and in love with the country. We meet very open-minded and friendly people who surround us from our arrival in the country through the hotel, the theater, the staff with whom we work. So everywhere people do everything to make us feel comfortable,” he said.
The Slask group today begins its 70th artistic season since its creation in 1953.
“Throughout 70 years, we have earned the mark of being the ambassador of Polish culture to the world,” Cierniak added.
The show will continue at the Palace of Culture until September 7.