Greenpoint Gazette

Polish American Folk Dance Company to Celebrate 75 Years

BY Jeff Mann

In 1938, Frances Wesołowska-Popławska formed the Polish American Folk Dance Company (PAFDC) to help preserve the Polish folk songs and dances she treasured.

In the 75 years since, the PAFDC has become one of the premier amateur Polish folk dance ensembles in the world with separate adult and children’s dance ensembles, a folk band and a performing wardrobe of more than 25 dance suites and 600 costumes representing most of the regions of Poland.

The Company has been honored by the Republic of Poland for its success and dedication to researching, preserving and presenting Polish folk culture in America. It has performed in nine World Festivals of Polish Folk Song and Dance and presented exclusive dance compositions at banquets for such guests as Princess Grace of Monaco, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henryk Gorecki, Lech Walesa and Pope John Paul II. It has performed at The Plaza Hotel and Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Taj Majal in Atlantic City as well as the White House and marked the 150th anniversary of Chopin’s death in 1999, with a performance at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, November 23rd, the PAFDC will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a two hour performance at NYU Skirball Center showcasing the rich diversity of Polish folk culture. The presentation will include national and regional Polish dances, as well as song medleys by Kapela Ludowa (“Folk Band”).

The PAFDC will also premier three new dance suites choreographed by Zofia Czechlewska, a soloist and ballet instructor at Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble of Poland for 30 years.

Kołomajki represents the Śląsk region of Poland, and Mazurka features girls’ games at the court balls. Both suites are performed solely by women. Szamotuły is inspired by the western part of Poland, where the influence of the region’s equestrian past is reflected in dances with men demonstrating their skills handling whips. PAFDC will also debut two dance suites created by its choreographer Tomasz Orzechowski: Kurpie, dances from the White and Green forests of eastern Poland, and Mazur Kopciuszek, featuring a Cinderella theme.

Tickets for this special performance are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and students with ID, and $20 for children under the age of 15. Group rates are also available.

Tickets can be purchased at:
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, New York, New York, 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111,
Polish National Home, 261 Driggs Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 718-387-0505
Forum Travel, 616 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 718-389-1010

For more information about PAFDC, please visit


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