DAY 6: Dance & Dobczyce
Today was a big day for everyone. It was the first concert of this trip in Dobczyce. The plan was that we would all have our lessons today with Prof. Cieniawa in the morning to touch up all our duets with our Polish partners. The children were so lucky to have such an opportunity to study with a teacher who is so observant in her teaching. She didn’t have much time with each pair, but she managed to work with them all on the specifics that they needed to improve.
In a span of few days, the children were doing much better. Not all the duets started off perfectly from the start. The children needed some time to get to know each other and work together. This was only the fourth day the children from Thailand and Poland got to work together. It was incredible to see how much they can learn in such short time!
Our afternoon started with a fun traditional Polish dance workshop. Our teacher, Anna, kindly explained the children a small history of the dances. Out of the five Polish dances, we learnt three today. Anna linked the importance of dance with the history of the Partition of Poland between 1798 and 1918. She mentioned what this Partition meant for Poland, that it was no longer there on the map. However, people were still there. People didn’t disappear, neither did their culture.
She kindly taught us Polonaise and Mazurka first. These two were more popular in the ball rooms and were considered very elegant. Indeed, they were. Anna asked a few Polish students to demonstrate for us before teaching us the basic steps of each dance. They looked very charming and graceful. We only hoped we managed at least half of that elegance today.
The last dance Anna taught us was the Cracovian dance. She started by letting us close our eyes while listening to her feet danced. She asked us all to open our ears to listen to all the sound and imagine……imagine what it sounded like. We all guessed the same. It sounded like horses running! Anna then let us open our eyes and explained why the Cracovian dance was different from the previous two dances she taught us. This particular type is the only type of dance forbidden during the Partition time because it represents so much power. From only the sound of the feet tapping on the floor alone, we can imagine people as strong as horses to dance this dance, people that those in power would fear, people who could be strong enough to form a resistance. The Cracovian dance is so special because it shows such a strong, energetic, and brilliant side of the Polish culture.
As soon as we finished our dance lesson, we headed to Dobczyce. Our host families kindly picked up all the kids + staffs to go there for our first concert together. The concert there was possible thanks to the help of Our dear friend, Konrad Ligas, who coordinated everything. We performed in the Dobczyce Music School. Our concert, “Muzyczny ThaiFUN”, is almost like a friendship concert between many schools. While Nat Studio and Paderewski school brought some cross-cultural piano duets and solos from Thailand, the schools in Dobczyce offered both other instrumental chamber music and traditional dances for us. We were so honored to be invited to perform there.
I must say that I was very proud of all our students today. They had a full day schedule. They barely had enough time to try the piano after they arrived in Dobczyce, but they still managed so well on stage. All our children seemed calm. They played very well and so gracefully too!!! Moreover, they get to see what they just learnt about the dances in real performance with real costumes right after their performances.
The children were very happy. Everyone did well and we were all very proud of their progress in such short time.