In Poland, a common birthday toast is “Sto Lat!” which means “100 Years!”  For MCH resident Ada Dziewanowska, who was born in Poland, the traditional toast takes on a special significance this year as she celebrates her 100th birthday.  To make her birthday even more special, the Polish dance community in Milwaukee will be marking the occasion with an original choreographed dance piece based on her life.

Ada has been involved in the traditional art of recreational Polish dance all her life.  She’s taught in Poland, Japan, Israel, Switzerland, and all over the United States.  She’s also created teaching tools for other instructors, and is the principal author of Polish Folk Dances and Songs: A Step-by-Step Guide, which is considered the authoritative English-language work on Polish folk dancing.  She’s often shared the cultural riches of the Polish folk tradition with our community at MCH, giving talks and performances and even teaching us a dance step or two!

The dance piece in honor of Ada’s life is being performed by the Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, a group that Ada has led as Artistic Director for many years.    The performance will take place on February 11th at the “Bal Maskowy,” an annual ball sometimes referred to as the “Polish Mardi Gras.”  The piece was choreographed by her student and longtime collaborator, Staś Kmieć, an award-winning dancer and choreographer who is currently the Artistic Director of Ballet Western Reserve in Youngstown, OH.  We’ll feature more about the event, including pictures, in the upcoming print edition of the Focus newsletter!

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Ada with Staś Kmieć, who choreographed a dance piece in honor of her 100th birthday

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Ada performs in traditional Polish costume