The POLONUS Polish Folk Dance Group was established in 2014 by the Polish Association in Christchurch after an intended one-off performance at a Race Relations Day concert in Oamaru.
The group’s purpose is to promote Polish culture, customs, traditions and language and to preserve, make known and promote the enjoyment of Polish folk dancing in New Zealand. It comprises first, second and third generation New Zealanders of Polish descent. The number of dancers ranges from six to 8 couples, some of whom included parents and their children.
Polonus’ repertoire includes the polonez, krakowiak, oberek, kujawiak, mazur and dances from the Cieszyn region in Poland. The group choreographer from 2016 is Dorota Kamińska Pawlas.
Since 2014 Polonus performed at a range of events, including the 75th Anniversary of Polish children from Pahiatua’s arrival in New Zealand (Auckland and Christchurch celebration). We are also a frequent participant at multicultural events in the Canterbury Region, such as the Culture Galore festival in Christchurch and CultureFest in Lincoln. One of our achievements was also the Polish folkloric concert “Far from home, close to the heart” organised with the visiting Polish Song and Dance Ensemble Lajkonik from Sydney in 2017.
The highlight of our activity so far was participation in the PolArt festival in Melbourne in 2015 and Brisbane in 2018. We were looking forward to another Polart in 2021 which sadly had to be postponed.
We are now planning to expand and perhaps include children section to ensure continuation and the future of our small group.