35 years of Living Folklore


On 23rd of November at 5 p.m. Folk Song and Dance Ensemble “Częstochowa” will be having a solemn gala celebrating its jubilee. It has been developing continuously for 35 years. During this period of time over a thousand concerts have taken place, educating over two thousand young people by teaching them songs and folk dances with respect for tradition and the history of the country. Numerous groups of its former members are now professional dance teachers or choreographers, passing their skills to the next generations. Because of the high artistic levelled ensemble, Częstochowa has been often called ‘little Śląsk’ –connected with the fact that for 17 years its art manager and choreographer is Jarosław Świątek, the chief of ballet in the “Śląsk” Ensemble.

The group is the only one in Częstochowa, who has been educating school youths about the varieties of Polish dances, rituals and folk customs; every year reaching out to a few thousands of children and teenagers. Since 2000, it has been the host of the Days of European Folk Culture that are taking place in our city attracting over 50 thousand people annually. With its high level and an interesting repertoire expanding every year, the new dance schemes caused the ensemble to be nominated multiple times by the Polish organisation IOV to represent the country in international festivals, for example in China and Brazil. The ensemble is our cultural face which can be seen with their frequent concerts in cooperation with European partners of Częstochowa – Austrian Graz, German Pforzheim, Italian Loreto, French Lourdes, Lithuanian Szawle and Latvian Rezekne. “Częstochowa” has appeared in many European countries, as well as in the USA. Moreover it represented our country during the International Folk Festival in Shanghaj as the first amateur folklore group.

Also in its hometown, the ensemble’s activity is highly appreciated. The 30th anniversary concert and music-dance spectacle “Carmina Burana”, in which the ensemble participated, received from the readers of “Gazeta Wyborcza” Daily the title of The Best Cultural Event of the Year. Amongst its numerous artistic projects, it is crucial to mention the organization of two operas with the artists of Great Theatre in Łódź – “the Haunted Manor” (“Straszny Dwór”) and “Halka” as well as staging “the Cracovians and the Mountaineers” (“Krakowiacy i górale”). Ensemble Częstochowa’s repertoire also consists of Christmas carols. Cultural spectacles like “Częstochowa’s Wedding” (“Wesele częstochowskie”) and “Midsummer Night” (“Noc świętojańska”) are very interesting and effective initiatives that are presented every year in various parts of Poland.

Lately, the ensemble has collected and compiled dances and folk songs from the nearby Częstochowa village regions that were kept in Jasna Góra Monastery’s collections. Works also included designing the regional clothes that were done with the cooperation with Museum in Częstochowa.

Currently Częstochowa consists of 90 dancers working in 4 age groups. The ensemble is performing over 30 concerts every year. Among many awards and distinctions they have received the Special Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage in 2008 and the Award of Częstochowa City in the Field of Culture in 2013 – for their total artistic activity and popularisation of traditional folklore in Poland and in the world.

Tadeusz Piersiak

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza – Częstochowa, 22.11.2013