Monday, September 10, 2012

Essay on Polish Culture

Essay on Polish Culture

The performance of the Mazowsze Polish dancers, singer and musicians, which took place on November 24 in the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia became a very bright and interesting cultural event. The Mazowsze folk ensemble is very popular all over the world. High quality of performance and adherence to national traditions become the main reasons of its popularity. The performance of this ensemble helps people from all over the world to get an idea about Polish folk art and culture. Mazowsze was founded by Tadeusz Sygietynski and Mira Zimenska-Sybietynska in 1948. Originally the Mazowsze ensemble was created with the intention to save Polish original art and culture. This idea was supported by the Ministry of Culture of Poland.

The Polish culture is a unique combination of Latinate and Byzantine cultures. Many local ethnic groups, who lived on the territory of modern Poland, added to the cultural diversity of this country. The Polish culture can be generally characterized by the combination of different cultures and lifestyles. This country incorporates Eastern and Western customs, traditions and styles. Traditional Polish costumes combine Eastern style with Islamic elements. For the most part Polish songs are monophonic but they can also be suitable for dancing. The themes of Polish folk songs reflect the history and identity of the people. Many songs are dedicated to the historic events; others describe the themes of love, friendship, betrayal, etc.

Mazowsze ensemble was created during the difficult time when the cultural identity of Poland was under threat. With the flow of time it helped not only to save Polish culture, but also to popularize it all over the world. The troupe perfectly reproduces the national spirit. It gives an opportunity to people, who are not familiar with the Polish art, to form an opinion about it. The costumes of the ensemble reflect national clothing of many regions of Poland.

The debut at the Kimmel Center became a bright and picturesque event. The ensemble consisted of around 100 singers and dancers, who performed in more than 1500 costumes. During the show they presented dances from 15 different regions of Poland. The members of the troupe projected the national spirit, which contained a mix of emotions, humour and rich musical expressions. The songs from Hrubiezow fascinated the audience with melodic and romantic sounds while the songs from the Kjelce region cheered up the public. Several songs, dedicated to the coming holiday season, displayed strong religious values. All songs were very melodic and even without understanding the words the audience was able to hear the message conveyed by the artists.

Wonderful choreography was accompanied by nice music. Bright and lively compositions, where music sounded so nice that it was hard not to start dancing, were changed by lyric and melodic themes, which touched the very depth of my soul. During the dances smiling dancers moved so naturally and organically that the entire stage seemed to be a mixture of colours, sounds and joy. Lyrical compositions made nice combination of wonderful play and singing. Traditional Polish instruments sounded so nice that it seemed sometimes that I could hear the very spirit of these people, who make such wonderful music and put so much soul in it. Polish music is a combination of touching sounds and very melodic passes between them. When the song starts, you feel poured in to the melody and can not think about anything else but tender, appealing and deep sounds, which capture all your attention and make follow them.

The national dance from Krakow, called Krakowiak, filled the audience with the true polish spirit. It originated from the Malopolska region of Poland. Krakowiak inspired many Polish composers, such as Chopin, Paderewski and Szymanowski. It was very interesting to see this famous dance in a perfect performance of Mazowsze troupe which is known specifically for performing national Polish dances. During the dance performances I could feel the rhythm of the music and enjoyed watching the dance movements. The dances captured the Polish spirit and reflected the performers’ national identity.

Integration and globalization, which became a big part of the modern world, assumed not the absorption of one nation by another, but rather an interconnection and creation of closer ties between different nations. That is the reason why sharing national identities and getting closer to other cultures is so important. I believe that Mazowsze troupe gives a perfect opportunity for everybody interested in Polish art and culture to get to know it better. Poland is a European country and its unique history gives it a rich cultural heritage. Originally situated between East and West, this country united the best achievements of many cultures of the world. At the same time it combined the inputs from different cultures in the unique manner and created its own national identity. The globalization has raised the level of interest to different cultures and their folklore. The rich Polish art has a lot to offer to the world and Mazowsze presents it in a way which appeals to many people from different cultures.

What I really enjoyed was that people of Polish descent as well as the people of other nationalities enjoyed the performance. This indicates the high proficiency of the troupe. It is natural that this folk art appeals to the polish people, since this culture is native for them, but when the people of other cultures enjoy the performance, it demonstrates the universal language of art.

I enjoyed the performance not only because it gave me the insight into another lifestyle and culture, but also because the singers and dancers were magnificent. The costumes recreated the spirit of different regions and historical epochs of Poland. I would recommend this show not only to those, who are interested in Polish art and culture, but also for people, who appreciate folk art of high quality. Attending a show like that is a best way to get acquainted with different cultures and to get an aesthetic pleasure from the performance of high level.
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