RIYADH: The world-renowned Polish Slask Song and Dance Ensemble, named after Stanislaw Hadyna, has been performing to Saudi audiences at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh’s Diplomatic Quarter.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture’s Theater and Performing Arts Commission is hosting the ensemble event that features participants sporting 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 of Polish folklore based on the rich history in Poland.
“Poland has gone through many experiences, but one of the beautiful things is that, through their experience in world wars one and two, the Polish people thought in a positive way about how to prevent the erasure of their identity due to those wars.”
The Poles focused on protecting their rich history by developing youth attachment and love for the country’s heritage, documenting their stories through song and dance.
The performances showcased are rooted in centuries of culture and heritage, inspired by regional customs. Much of that folklore was retained by famous Polish composer Frederic Chopin, who frequently incorporated them into his works.
Al-Omrani said that folklore in many cultures around the world had often been neglected or forgotten due to a lack of documentation on music, clothing, dance, and other elements.
“What happened with Polish culture is that the world-class composers like Frederic Chopin, one of the biggest composers in the world and in piano history, composed a huge part of Polish heritage, including what we’re listening to in Riyadh.
“Polish culture has different dimensions, much like Saudi culture; it changes depending on the area and the city. If we notice the clothing, they’re colorful and the ways of dancing are different. Some of the techniques are inspired by natural elements in Poland, like the peacock and the hen,” Al-Omrani added.
The week-long show has been staged as part of efforts to create cultural exchange opportunities and strengthen relations between Poles and Saudis.
Zbigniew Cierniak, the Polish ensemble director, told Arab News: “We are absolutely assured that the public here in Saudi Arabia will bring only positive feelings. There is plenty of historical background after every piece we are staging, so this is not only art itself, but this is also an educational aspect, which we like to underline.
“After having spent a few days in Saudi Arabia, we are absolutely thrilled and in love with the country. We are meeting with very open-minded and friendly people surrounding us from the moment we arrived in the country through the hotel, theater, staff we’re working with. So, all around, people are giving the utmost to make us feel comfortable,” he said.
The Slask group is now entering its 70th artistic season since its establishment in 1953.
“Throughout 70 years, we have earned the brand of being the ambassador of Polish culture around the world,” Cierniak added.
The show will continue at the Cultural Palace until Sept. 7.