Polonia - Polish Folk Song and Dance Ensemble  -  Chicago USA
Northwest Center Traditional Polish Folk Dancers - 501(c)(3) Non Profi

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Created by Nicole Romek & Dorota Romek. All rights reserved.

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Day 1: Guayaquil 06-14-2009

Day 5: Middle of the Word

Day 6 - 11: Ibarra - Festival
                 Paz y Cultura Para el Mundo
                 TV Day
                 The Charm of Cotacachi People

Day 12: Quito

Day 13 - 16: Baños adventure
                    Jungle at its purest!
                    Hike to waterfalls
                    Dance all night
                    Go Jump Off The Bridge

Day 1: Guayaquil 06-14-2009

PAP Quito, Ekwador

16 lutego 2009


         Jak donosi nasz korespondent z Chicago Andrzej PIetowski po rozmowie z Dyrektorem Festiwalu Folklorystycznego "Ecuador 2009" Mgr. Estuardo Guaman Arevalo, Zespol Piesni i Tanca "Polonia" z Chicago zakwalifikowal sie do udzialu w tym prestizowym festiwalu zespolow folklorystycznych z calego swiata , od 18 do 23 czerwca. Festiwal zamieni historyczne miasto Ibarra polozone dokladnie na rowniku w wielka scene, na ktorej popisywaly sie swym kunsztem beda zespoly z kilku kontynentow. Poza konkursem przewidziane sa pracownie dla tancerzy i miedzynarodowe spotkania kulturalne.


         Zespol "Polonia" dzialajacy wsrod Polakow w metropolii chicagowskiej wystepowal juz na czterech kontynentach a w roku 2006 zdobyl wyroznienie na jednym z najwiekszych festiwali w Ameryce Poludniowej "Festidanza 2006".


         Dyrektor Zespolu pani Anna Krysinska wyrazila radosc z udzialu w konkursie tanecznym i festiwalu w przepieknie polozonym kraju jakim jest Ekwador. Prywatnie powiedziala nam, ze bardzo lubi slonce i plaze i taka forma wypoczynku relaksuje ja i nastraja optymistycznie do zycia. Mlodzi tancerze maja jeszcze tylko jedna skromna bariere do pokonania przed ladowaniem na lotnisku w Quito polozonym w samym srodku miasta otoczonego szczytami Andow: musza zebrac po 2,500 USD od osoby aby pokryc koszt tej egzotycznej eskapady. Pani Dyrektor jest jednak dobrej mysli i twierdzi, ze pomimo kryzysu ekonomicznego, Zespol "Polonia" skorzysta z funduszow Rzadu Federalnego i zapomogi, o ktora niedawno zwrocil sie do Waszyngtonu burmistrz Chicago, przychylny Zespolowi "Polonia" i calej Polonii pan Richard Daley. Jego biuro nie odbietralo telefonow, wiec nie moglismy potwierdzic wypowiedzi p. Krysinskiej.


          Rowniez pan Ambasador RP w Limie Przemyslaw Marzec wyrazil poparcie dla planowanych ponownych odwiedzin "Polonii" na kontynencie poludniowo amerykanskim, a jako, ze Ekwador podlega jego jurysdykcji, przeslal odpowiednie dokumenty do Senatu i Wspolnoty Polskiej w Warszawie. Juz jutro, we wtorek na specjalnym zebraniu ta dobra wiadomosc zostanie przekazana rodzicom rozspiewanej i roztanczonej grupy, ktorzy wypisza czeki jako pozyczke na zakup biletow lotniczych dla swych pociech.  Zostanie ona zrefundowana z chwila nadejscia funduszy federalnych do Ratusza w Chicago.


          Inne zespoly folklorystyczne z Chicago, a jest ich okolo 16, wybraly skromniejsza forme spedzania czasu w wakacje i beda na zmiane tanczyly w poludnie na Daley Plaza w centrum miasta aby w ten sposob splacic miastu  dlug wdziecznosci za wyslanie Reprezentacyjnego Zespolu PIesni i Tanca "Polonia" na tournee w Ekwadorze na koszt Ratusza. Po koncertach beda przechodzic na pobliska Montrose Beach aby zazyc ochlody w rzeskich wodach jeziora Michigan.


           Wypada tylko zyczyc "Polonii" milego lotu i wspanialej publicznosci pod ekwadorskim niebem.


"Polonia" - Tak trzymac!.


Gratulacje, AAP

Day 2 - 4: Puerto Rico                               La Barquita                                 Isla de la Plata

We arrived to the town of Puerto Rico a few hours before midnight. The only impressions we got then were those of a mysterious and dark place, with the entrance acting as a portal and taking us from an outside world of dusty and cracked soccer fields to an enormous bark arc and overbearing and tall palm trees. The next morning would bring all of our impressions to life.
    Awakening to the unexpected were always my favorite parts of arriving at our destinations by night. I so clearly remembered feeling the same way 4 years ago in Lozenetz, Bulgaria as I did when we got to La Barquita, and even our hotel in Guayaquil just a night prior. We arrived to what we thought was an uncivilized town by the moonlight. But by daytime, everything came to life.
    When we awoke from under our mosquito netting and peeked out through the door, the atmosphere was unimaginable. The exotic flora and fauna seemed to be in such peace with itself and with everything and everyone around it. Breakfast was served in the giant ark by some of the most hospitable people we encountered. Eggs and bread rolls- as we would soon learn- were going to be the regular meals of the morning, but we perceived it as an unexpected surprise.
    With stomach’s full and with the laid- back atmosphere of our new haven, we were ready for a relaxing day on the beach. Little did we know it was finally time for the long anticipated surfing lessons that we heard so much about!
    We walked under a hut and through a sandy cove, where we were introduced to Rodrigo, our instructor who introduced himself with a pep talk that we’ll never forget. In his broken English, he told us about our soon to become passion. “People spend years surfing, and the reason that they keep doing it is because after one day, it’s going to hold a dear place in your heart. I’m going to get everyone up on the surfboard, and after that, just have fun!” We lined up single file on the beach and did about an hour of on- land surfing lessons. The only thing that you could decipher from our camouflaged, sandy bodies was our smiles.
    With sore arms and high hopes, we took off on the water. One- by- one, each member of our group stood up on the board. For some, it was a natural calling. For others, it took a few more determined attempts. But for all, it was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience. By the end of the day, only a handful of passionate ones were left. We strapped the board off of our ankles, sat on the beach and looked over the horizon. Watching the massive white monsters crashing into each other and watching them wash away our footprints on the shore, all we could think about was the fact that we were a part of the ocean now. We rode those waves ...and we left a part of ourselves behind with La Barquita.

Joanna Tomaszewski

    It was another day in paradise for everyone in Polonia. Everyone was still talking about horseback riding on the beach and through the Ecuadorian back roads. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating with us, so some people decided to just chill and relax in our comfortable and calming hammocks. With their newly acquired skill, those who succeeded in surfing decided to go for round two. Although the waves were not as big as those seen in Hawaii, getting on top of the surfboard and riding a wave is definitely a great feeling of excitement and accomplishment. Even with the sun not present, the beach was still beautiful and awe inspiring. The beach area had a raw, untamed and exotic feel to it and that’s what made it so great. Sadly, it was our last night at our hotel so everyone was packing at night and getting ready for our early departure in the morning.

- Jonathan Krysinski -

Isla de la Plata,

Tuesday, 06-16-2009

We were woken up at 7:30 a.m. to eat breakfast and pack our backpacks for our full-day trip to Isla de Plata (Island of Silver).  We took a van to the port, and waited on the beach.  We got onto the speedy motor boat and traveled for an hour on the beautiful open Pacific Ocean.  The sun was really strong. Thankfully, we had been reminded to bring our 50 SPF and hats!  When we arrived to Isla de Plata, we got an English-speaking guide to show us around the island.  We took the 3-hour tour of the island, and saw the great biodiversity.  Blue boobies are birds whose feet turn blue when they mature, and are abundant on the island.  Male birds of a different species, which happened to be courting, had a red membrane that swelled up like a balloon on their necks.  These islands, similar to the Galapagos, are primary sights for many studies of evolution and natural selection. As a biology major, these various biological interactions I witnessed first hand were thrilling for me.
            After the tour of the island, we got back on the boat and headed over to the snorkeling area. The water was cold, but under it was quite a sight!  Schools of fish were swimming under us, and the water plants were vibrant.  When we finished snorkeling, we ate delicious tuna sandwiches on the boat and a bowl of fresh fruit.  As we were heading back to port, the captain of our boat noticed a huge fin pop up from under the water.  It was the fin of a whale! As it turns out, it was mating season for the whales, and there was more than just one.  We counted at least seven different whales, all in one area.  It was a great experience for us, because it is not a common occasion for us Chicagoans to see whales.
            We returned to La Barquita a little after sunset, which was around 7:00 p.m.  The whole group sat down for dinner and we enjoyed this time together, as usual. At night, we had a bonfire—a perfect end to a perfect day.  Mr. Pietkowski brought his guitar, and him and I alternated playing songs and singing with the whole group.  We played Polish traditional songs, as well as the Beatles and other classics. The atmosphere of this night was amazing—almost indescribable.  It was definitely a bonding experience for the whole group, and it was a day that I will never forget.

-Dagmara Danek 


06-21-2009 Middle of the Word - La Mitad del Mundo - Srodek Swiata

Ibarra - TV Day 06-19-2009

 We finally arrived to the city where we came to do what we do best. The greatest feeling was waking up to the thrilling city after relaxing in Puerto Rico. We woke up at 6 A.M. in the morning to get ready for the performance which was later shown on television. The girls were ready by 7 A.M. where they met the boys in the town square before us-obviously they got too much sleep if they beat the girls! We danced Krakowiak on ten pairs and then split up into two groups of four where we went on two separate interviews which were later featured on television.
    After our intense hours of stardom, we had the whole day to explore Ibarra and get a taste of what the city was like. Every time we would walk by to the hotel from our interviews we saw massive crowds of women, nail polish and scissors. One of the town plaza’s by us offered free manicures and haircuts done by a beauty school. The setting was so strange because it was literally in the middle of a plaza outdoors. Most of the girls enjoyed the treatment, but so did one of our brave men. Mateusz Podowski decided to get a haircut and definitely rocked it later that night!
    The night was filled with dancing and new friends. The very friendly and welcoming Ecuadorian dance group took us on a night into the city. We attended club Tsunami where we danced most of the night away. They not only danced with us, but acted as our security for the night. Lets just say that Mateusz needed them around!

- Malgosia Rozko -


Cotachaci - The Charm of Cotacachi People

    When I awoke on this typically sunny day in Ecuador, I had no idea what was in store. I had absolutely no idea that just twenty-four hours later, I would by lying in my hotel bed with a full cast on my leg, feeling one of the worst pains of my life. I’ll save the juicy details for later though, because other than the unfortunate ending, this day was a very memorable one.

    The day began as it does every day, with a delicious breakfast served to us by the exceptionally kind Indo America dance group from Ibarra, Ecuador. I quickly ate all of my eggs and tomatoes because I knew we would have a long day ahead. The first part of the day was spent on free time. Myself, and a few others spent the day enjoying the town.

    Some time in the afternoon it was time to get dressed into our costumes and head over to the theatre where we were to perform our main concert. It was a great time to see what the other groups had to offer, and we were not disappointed. My favorite group came from Columbia; they were a group of 11-13 year old kids who could dance like no other. For some reason, perhaps it is because of his charm, these young kids were infatuated with my brother Peter. It was fun to watch the interaction because my brother spoke as much Spanish and they spoke English: none.
    Immediately after our performance was over, we were informed that we must pack into the bus once again and make a trip to Cotacachi, a small yet prosperous Ecuadorian village that is inhabited only by Indigenous peoples. This town was exceptionally clean, with a beautiful town square and very modern, yet classical looking buildings. The Cotacachi people excel in the leather craftwork and globetrotters from around the world travel there just to purchase the beautiful leather clothing and accessories. 

    As we drove up to the Cotacachi museum where we were to perform we were told that the audience had been awaiting our arrival for nearly two hours. We felt terrible, and knew that it was our time to shine. We made a pact that despite the difficult dancing conditions we would dance our hearts out. 

    The room was a mini rectangular ballroom and seated along every single wall were the Cotacachi people. You could tell on their faces that they did not know what to expect. Never until this day had we had such an impromptu performance. Every single dance had to be edited to fit the small room, but we had fun with it. When I was dancing the Krakowiak, I sang to each and every person as if they were the only one in the room. We danced two dances, the Krakowiak and Rzeszow, and when we finished the Mayor of Cotacachi, his wife, and a few others graced us with the famous indigenous dance. The performers walked around in a circle while the Mayor played a giant seashell. During the dance Angela was pulled into the circle and within minutes most of us were dancing as well. Our translator told us immediately after that this special dance can last up to eight days, and it would be very disrespectful to walk away before its ending. Another interesting bit about the dance is that all women who partake in it are sure to get pregnant within a year. Lets hope not.

    We were lucky to be in Ibarra and Cotacachi during the days of one of their most important holidays that they celebrate for eight days. After our performance we walked throughout the museum to learn more about the culture of this town. A gentleman from the audience approached us and explained as well as he could, that what he saw was unlike anything he had ever seen. He loved our singing, our dancing, and he loved us. Within minutes of the conversation we were all laughing and engaging in a good old group hug. We were all invited to a celebration out on the river that is not like the celebrations we are used to. All attendants must strip from their clothing and jump into the river nude. While some of our liberal dancers thought “When in Rome,” others exclaimed “Absolutely Not!” Pani Ania decided for us and eventually we did not go. 

    One of the most astonishing aspects of this culture is seen in the hands of its people. Their rugged hands expose just how hard working they all are. I am so very honored to have had a chance to see and study the culture of the Cotacachi people and I hope that one day I will have that chance.

    Now, before I forget I must explain why the next day after the visit to Cotacachi, I was stuck in bed with a full cast on my left leg. At night, after the performances and after supper, we had a small mixer with the Ecuadorian dance group where we could mingle and learn several Ecuadorian dances. I was not feeling well and decided to sit out most of the night, but as easy it is to feed me, it is equally easy to get me onto the dance floor. I ended up dancing Salsa with our kind translator Jaime. Here I am having the time of my life when in the blink of an eye I am on the floor and my knee is dislocated. It was honestly one of the worst pains I have ever felt, and I hope I never feel it again. I screamed and cried until my mom, Jaclyn, and the paramedics arrived. Those were the only people I needed to calm my nerves. I ended up in the Metropolitan hospital with a very good-looking doctor from Brazil, who took excellent care of me. The entire experience is hazy due to the unbearable pain I was feeling, but two hours later, and 5 seconds of what felt like 50 angry invisible fairies stabbing me in the knee, I was on my way back to the hotel. The rest of my trip was sure to be an experiment because my leg was stiff and every activity would surely be an obstacle.

-Justyna Koscielniak-

Quito 06-25-2009

On June 25th, our 23th day in Ecuador, we were able to experience our first day in Quito. As the capitol of Ecuador, Quito is one of the most recognized cities. After eating a delicious breakfast of pancakes, fresh fruit and eggs at our hostel, we packed up our cameras and traveled by bus to the Old Town section of Quito. We stopped on the road to see the Pichincha Volcano, an active volcano which is surrounded by the homes and businesses of Quito. The most recent activity experienced from the volcano was when one of it's peaks, Guagua, erupted in 1999. Our tour guide explained the the entire city was covered in ash. These volcanoes overlook Quito's two million inhabitants.

As we traveled we saw many landmarks and buildings. We passed the House of Culture which is the best archaeological museum in Ecuador. Also, Alameda Park which claims the title of being the first astronomical observatory in South America. We saw the monument of Simon Bolivar, liberator and president to many South American countries including Peru and Venezuela.

Our first stop off the bus was the Basilica del Voto Nacional. We were greeted by a statue Pope John Paul II which warmed the hearts of our dancers. We took many pictures of the outside of the church. It's gothic style makes the church a beautiful sight. Unlike the traditional gargoyles we are used to seeing the Basilica homes the indigenous animals of Ecuador. We walked inside church and took many more fantastic pictures. After, we walked up many narrow, seemingly unstable staircases in order to get to one of the top towers of the Basilica. Although it was quite frightening for someone who is uneasy about heights, it was well worth it. Our group was able to view the entire city of Quito from almost a birds eye view. Once we were done taking pictures and climbing back down, we all met at a little cafe to enjoy some coffee and ice cream. After our rest we packed back into the bus in order to drive to our next destination.

The second church we visited was the Church of the Society of Jesus, or La Compania. The church is done in the baroque style, all carved on volcanic grey stone. It took 160 years to build, beginning in 1605. As you walk into the church, two large canvasses are on either side of you. On the left, there is the Last Judgment, on the right, Hell. The original paintings were stolen many years ago and never found. The ones hanging now are replacements. The biggest impression the church makes on you is the fact that every centimeter of the church is covered with a fine 23-carat gold lamina. Our tour guide explained that all together there is 52 pounds of gold covered the church. The church has a Latin Cross design. It has a central, north and south nave, transept, crossing, presbytery, anteroom to the sacristy and chapel. As we admired the golden main altarpiece we were told of a story about the Virgin Dolorosa, whose painting is in the middle. In 1906, the Virgin Dolorosa opened and closed her eyes in front of 36 students visiting. It is a miracle that has not been witnessed since. We moved onto seeing the bells from the bell tower. They are currently on display inside the church because an earthquake in 1868 destroyed the towers.

Our third stop was to visit the Iglesia de San Francisco. This church was built in the neoclassical style. We did not enter, but instead listened to our tour guide talk about the church on the stone steps outside. The church overlooks a large open area where many families and tourists sit down and relax. We all realized how hungry we were after the days events so we decided that our next stop should be lunch.

We arrived at a little restaurant which served guinea pig because a few of the boys in our group decided that today was the day they wanted to try it. A few people ordered the guinea pigs and said they enjoyed them. It was quite interesting to see guinea pigs on peoples plates because that is not something that is very common back in the States!

Our next stop was El Panecillo, a statue 200 meters high of an angel which overlooks and protects the city of Quito. We took many pictures outside, and again this was a fantastic sight overlooking the city.

Our last sight of the day was taking cable cars up the Pichincha Volcano. This time around, we literally did have a birds eye view of the city because the cars take you up almost 14,000 ft to the top of the peak. We were all dressed in shorts and it was freezing outside. However, there were huge, puffy, picture perfect clouds so we decided to stick it out and stayed outside to enjoy the view. Once we decided we had enough and went inside, some of our dancers took advantage of the oxygen bars while others enjoyed hot chocolate, coffee or tea and various desserts at the cafe. After we were well rested and well fed, we got back into the cable cars and went back down the mountain. We climbed into our bus and headed back to the hostel.

This tour gave us a look at a completely different side of Ecuador. As a city, Quito was unlike any other city we had seen in Ecuador thus far. In comparison to the smaller towns of Puerto Rico and Banos, Quito was much more similar to our hometown of Chicago. Within it's busy streets and beautiful culture, it gave us, as visitors, a taste of what it means to live in Ecuador.

-Amanda Wegrzyn-

Jungle at its purest!

I can say without hesitation that my favorite day of our trip in Ecuador was when Polonia embarked on a jungle expedition. After awakening with an appetite for adventure, my fellow dancers and I boarded the bus that would take us to our point of exploration. The drive went by quickly as we transitioned from the safety of paved streets to “off-roading” through streams and rocky roads.  

The jungle guides met us upon arrival at a path that would lead us into La Amazonía. Our group of youth and adults were given variously sized ponchos and rainboots to distribute among ourselves, “just in case”...  And it’s a good thing! We were hit with a downpour merely several minutes after pulling on our gear. Given our positive attitudes, the rain proved only to fed our excitement and sense of adventure. We split into groups- a Spanish speaking half to be led by a young indigenous man and the other half to be led by an English speaking Ecuadorian- and began exploring! 

In the jungle, we learned about various plants and their medicinal or economic purposes to the habitants of the region. We also encountered various insects, some large, some small, and some edible! Our guide was very knowledgeable, providing our group with facts about the Amazon rainforest and answering questions. I was amazed to learn that the rainforest accounts for just under half of Ecuador’s total surface area and is only populated by less than 5% of the population. After getting drenched from head to toe, despite our raingear, we decided it couldn’t hurt to jump into a nearby creek. My Spanish-speaking group and I splashed in the waters until it was time to head back for dinner. 

We all regrouped to tell stories, have a good laugh at our soaking bodies and enjoy a hearty meal of soup, fresh fish, veggies and other indigenous goodies. After the wonderful, home-cooked dinner we got the chance to watch some monkeys play, talk to a tropical bird, and even hold a boa constrictor! 

Following such an exciting and eventful day in the jungle, it’s needless to say that we all slept remarkably well that night. 

-Monica Cholewinski-

06-28-2009 - Baños - Hike to waterfalls

The murmur of falling water flowed in through our hotel windows from the waterfall tumbling down the hill outside, welcoming us to a wonderful new morning in Baños. It was Sunday morning and bells ringing from the church in the center of town invited all to come and celebrate mass. Mass was in Spanish, and while we couldn't understand most what was said and sang in the olden church, we could admire the architecture and detail of an age long past. After mass we traversed the streets of the town and did a little shopping.Our adventure began at one o’clock. The bus with no windows or doors (more like a pickup with benches and a roof), drove us into the hills where views of magical waterfalls and breathtaking scenery appeared before our eyes. We stopped along the road for pictures and watched as cable cars crossed over the valley on a metal rope. We kept driving until we got to a bridge. There we watched as a few daredevils gathered their bravery and, held by a rope, jumped off the bridge. Our tour guide Jose went to jump off himself to show us how fun it is. Some of us wanted to go, but the parents of course forbid it. As for being young and determined, the next day of plans would expose what our desires would guide us to do…

Driving along the roads in the hills we stopped one of the cable cars. The cable cars took us in small groups, quickly sweeping us on a fast trip across the valley. The scenery below was so incredible that it was hard to grasp with the bare eye. Everything was passing by so fast. We could look down at the waterfall from every angle as the cable car rode to one side and started off back again. Cold mist sprayed into our faces and camera lenses as we tried to take pictures. Too soon we were on solid ground once again.

Driving to lunch we had an unexpected incident, our bus broke down. Yet with the energy and optimism of our group we danced the time away. Finally a new bus came and in the trunk was a Border Collie wagging its tail and barking to go to lunch. Our lunch spot was a quite exotic restaurant with a garden that had growing bananas and a variety of other plants. In the trees we met some talking parrots that said “hola” and “bonita” to us.
After lunch we rode to the best attraction of the entire trip - the biggest waterfall.

We had to hike downhill on a rocky footpath which weaved through beautiful cloudy forests until we reached a suspended bridge. From the bridge you could view the waterfall or for $1 pass through El Otro Lado restaurant and walk on their private path until you reached the surprise on the other end. Many of us entered. As we went further up the winding path, the trail became tighter. Soon we were on our knees trying to get through the cave-like passageway. Yet when we came out of the dark tunnels the view was breathtaking. It was like in a movie. A strong, huge torrent of water plummeted down the mountain at great speed right in front of our eyes. It was called El Pailón del Diablo (the Devil's Cauldron) and our proximity to the waterfall was such that we felt its thunderous descent and its mist soaked us almost to the skin. The last few meters of the trail went up a flight of steps that went right under the wall of water, where you could stand and see the fall from behind. It was wet enough there to take a shower.

After singing, dancing, and taking a lot of goofy pictures in the (near) rain, we reluctantly had to march our soggy feet back. But first, we walked a little farther down the cobblestone steps to a place where you yelled down into the water to get a spray of mist in return. Soon after we headed back and as we walked we took in our last sense of jungle and forest Amazonian feel. Riding back in the “open” bus we felt the breeze on our still wet bodies and watched the sun shade its tones of colors while lowering itself behind the hills of Baños.
Aleksandra and Matthew Podowski


Baños - Dance all night

When we arrived at our hotel, we quickly took short showers and jumped into our dancing costumes. We took the open bus again but this one was lit up with colorful bright lights. As we rode down the streets of the town, our colorful costumes and welcoming smiles invited the locals to come watch our concert. We got out at the town center and paraded the rest of the way to our the gymnasium, attracting cheers from the locals. At the stadium, we met another Polish traveling group that was led by our co-organizer and leader Andrew Piętowski, who had previously directed our expedition to Peru. Amongst the group was my younger brother. It brought me great joy to see him again.

That night we danced Rzeszów, sang our folk songs and danced Krakowiak for the finale. The Ecuadorians reacted with stunning enthusiasm because they had never encountered such a culture in their small city. The major of Baños was most astonished and invited us to dinner. There he shared his appreciation for our unplanned show and even welcomed us to come during our winter break to put on a full performance and enjoy the rest of the attractions in his city.

Baños left us one of the best impressions because it was a place that is home to so many varied attractions for people and it also preserves the natural landscape which is so precious in our times.

Aleksandra and Matthew Podowski

Ekwador 2009

Zespól Piesni i Tanca Polonia na festiwalu w Ekwadorze.

Zródlo: Dziennik Zwiazkowy, 07.13.2009

Rozmowa z  Cecylia Roznowska i Anna Krysinski, kierownictwem zespolu "Polonia"

Gratuluje rozlicznych wyjazdów na miedzynarodowe festiwale folklorystyczne. Tym razem tanczyliscie w Ekwadorze. To kraj niezwyklego piekna i bogatej historii.
Tak, to juz nasz czternasty miedzynarodowy festiwal. Ekwador zauroczyl nas niebywale, to kraina nader spektakularna o wielkiej urodzie. Ten kraj to trzy swiaty: niebotyczne Andy, sloneczne wybrzeze i dzungla.

Prosze rzec slów kilka o festiwalu.
 Uczestniczylismy w V Swiatowym Festiwalu "Pokój i Kultura dla Swiata" w Ibarra...V Festival Mundial del Folklor. Festiwal ten organizowany byl przez Swiatowa Organizacje Festiwali i Sztuki Ludowej.

Jak przebiegala aklimatyzacja na tak duzych wysokosciach?
Nie bylo wiekszych problemów, choc niektórzy odczuwali pewien wysokosciowy dyskomfort. Andy siegaja przeciez do 6000 m n.p.m., Quito lezy na wysokosci 2850 m n.p.m.

Jakie kraje uczestniczyly w festiwalu?
Glównie z Ameryki Poludniowej: Peru, Kolumbia, Wenezuela i Ekwador.

Prosze przyblizyc program
Klasyczne rutynowe koncerty, szesc dni zmagan festiwalowych, takze koncerty w pobliskich miasteczkach. Dwanascie par tanecznych prezentowalo polskie tance ludowe. Nasze wystepy oklaskiwano z wielkim entuzjazmem. Bylismy dla nich egzotyczni, odmienni, kolorowi i perfekcyjni tanecznie...

Jakim repertuarem Polonia podbila serca Ekwadorczyków?
Krakowiak podobal sie najbardziej, ten dynamizm, ta ekspresja, barwne stroje, ciekawe uklady choreograficzne. To bylo niczym burza wiosenna , niczym tecza na niebie...Prezentowalismy tez tance rzeszowskie, kaszubskie, takze piosenki ludowe.

Prosze rzec slów kilka o piesniarzach i tancerzach z Ekwadoru
To zupelnie dla nas odmienny swiat, to swoisty melanz indiansko  hiszpanski. Ekwadorczycy to Indianie (40%) i Metysi (40%), takze potomkowie Hiszpanów. Podziwialismy stroje, zwlaszcza Indian Otavalo, jakze piekne. Indianki paraduja w bialych haftowanych bluzkach, dlugich spódnicach, na glowach kapelusze lub chusty, na szyi duzo zlotych korali (podobno z firmy Jablonex z dawnej Czechoslowacji), mezczyzni nosza kolorowe poncha, sandaly, wlosy upinaja w warkocz.
Ich tance pelne dynamizmu i tajemniczosci.

Takie stroje widzialem na targu w Otavalo. To swoisty festiwal indianskiej (inkaskiej ) sztuki.
Bylismy zauroczeni jarmarkiem w Otavalo. Czegoz tam nie bylo...welniane poncha, czapki z wlosów lamy, bizuteria, kapelusze, rekodzielo artystyczne, wyroby skórzane, zabawki i pamiatki, koszyki, maty. Wszedzie rozbrzmiewal jezyk indianski ...quechua.

Dlaczego kazdego roku wyjezdzacie na festiwale?
To nasza wielka radosc, takze obowiazek upowszechniania polskiego folkloru. Cieszymy sie, ze jestesmy ambasadorami polskiej kultury, ze mozemy przyblizac swiatu nasza 1000 letnia historie i bogata sztuke ludowa. Poza tym nader wazny jest aspekt wychowawczy dla naszej mlodziezy, te wyjazdy ksztalca , wychowuja. Mlodziez poznaje inny swiat, inna kulture, nawiazuje przyjaznie. Te przezycia zostaja w tych mlodych sercach na cale zycie, to potem ogromnie profituje.

Na pewno taki festiwal ma tez aspekt poznawczy, turystyczny?
Bez watpienia tak. Dopiero poznanie historii kraju, jego duszy, obrzedów i obyczajów, walorów turystycznych w powiazanu ze sztuka daje pelny obraz.

Co was zauroczylo w Ekwadorze?
Ekwador znaczy równik po hiszpansku. Stoi tam pomnik zwany Middle of the World. To bardzo znany landmark tego kraju. Zauroczylo nas Quito, stolica. Kolejka linowa udalismy sie na szczyt, by stamtad podziwiac panoramiczna perspektywe miasta, przepiekna, nietypowa... waskie uliczki, dawna kolonialna architektura.
Ze wzgorza Panecillo, gdzie stoi pomnik Matki Boskiej z Quito niebotyczny widok stolicy. Miasto zyje przeszloscia. Podziwialismy najpiekniejszy kosciól La Campania de Jesus, na zdobienie oltarzy i innych dekoracji zuzyto siedem ton zlota. Ten kruszec byl dla Indian symbolem slonca. Quito znajduje sie na liscie swiatowego dziedzictwa kultury UNESCO od 1978 roku.

Co jeszcze zwiedziliscie?
Podziwialismy z oddali Cotopaxi, najwyzej polozony aktywny wulkan swiata ( 5897 m), niesamowita sceneria. Na zaproszenie burmistrza miasteczka Cotacachi koncertowalismy w lokalnym muzeum. Nasz wystep bardzo sie podobal, sam burmistrz zatanczyl z radnymi miasta dla nas rytualny taniec i zagral lokalna melodie na indianskim instrumencie, zaprosil nas tez do wspólnej celebracji ich czerwcowego swieta.
Bylismy w Banos, gdzie wsród wulkanów i wodospadów kwitna orchidee, wygasle juz wulkany lsnia osniezonymi szczytami.
Zwiedzalismy niedaleko polozone sanktuarium EL Quinche, gdzie znajduje sie figura Matki Boskiej slynaca z licznych cudów, otaczaja ja dziekczynne wota, ofiarowane szczególnie przez kierowców. Przepiekny to widok. W Banos tez koncertowalismy, nasz wystep bardzo sie podobal. Burmistrz Banos zaprosil nas bysmy przyjechali w grudniu, wtedy w Ekwadorze jest lato, a w Banos odbywa sie wiele artystycznych imprez.
I jak tu zapomniec o Ekwadorze? Wszedzie spotykalismy sie z ogromna zyczliwoscia i wielka sympatia.

Zatem warto poniesc trudy podrózy, by zatanczyc krakowiaka na równiku.
Na pewno. Taniec zbliza narody i czyni swiat lepszym, lagodniejszym.

Inicjatorem i wspoloraganizatorem tego wyjazdu byl znany podroznik i edukator – Andrzej Pietowski.

Janusz Kopec

Zródlo: Dziennik Zwiazkowy 7/13/2009