Mazur

The Mazur is one of the five national dances of Poland, which was developed in the eastern ethnographic area of Mazowsze. Its origins date back to the 11th century with the arrival of the Slavonic tribes to the region. Over time this lively dance was adopted by the higher social strata who developed and embellished it in recent centuries. The dance began to include elements from other regions and spread in popularity. It was often performed at court by young officers, thus gaining a military uniform as its alternate costume. Despite its high profile, the dance retains its peasant roots in the form of quick running steps with both the man and woman looking forward.

Rzeszowski

The Rzeszow region the south-easternmost corner of Poland has had a great variety of influences. Its geographic location exposed it to migrations, foreign occupation and trading. A beautiful and fertile area, it attracted a diverse group of people such as German, Wallachian, Ukranian, Lemko and Jewish settlers. These people influenced the regions' culture and this permeated to their dances and costumes. The dances tend to be lively and are filled with a variety of steps and formations.The men wear a sleeveless jacket and pants, which are both blue and have red embroidery. The full, white eyelet shirt has a special leather belt hanging over it, which loops around itself and hangs low at the side.The women's skirts can be any colour between yellow, green, blue or red. The vests are embroidered in beautiful beadwork, and come in various colours. The aprons and scarves are embedded with eyelet work.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Nowy Sacz

The Sacz region in Poland has been marked mainly by its trade industry. The region lies in the heart of former trade routes between Poland and the Czech and Hungarian regions. The richness of the soil in this area also attracted settlers as far back as 4000 B.C.E. Over the centuries German settlers and the Ruthenians from the region of Volhinya to the south-east established villages in the area. This richness of influences and traded goods allowed the people of this part of the country to design elaborate costumes with intricate embroidery and a variety of features borrowed from neighbouring regions. One of the most visible of these is the 'Parzenice'; a wide leather belt on a man's costume which is typical of the Goral people in the mountainous region of Poland. The dances presented here feature some of the characteristic elements of the region including an all-male dance designed to impress the women.The men wear navy blue long coats, which are heavily embroidered with a floral motif. On the front of the pants are large, special embroidered patterns called parzenice. The white linen shirts are embroidered and are tucked into a large, elaborately tooled leather belt with many brass buckles. Their hats are decorated with flowers or ribbons.The women wear navy blue jackets with the same embroidered floral motif in mind. Their skirts are red and have black embroidery on the bottom. The aprons, worn overtop of the skirt, are black aprons that include needlework on it. Their white blouses and scarves are embroidered as well, and they also wear red coral necklaces.

Krakowiak

The city of Krakow in southern Poland in the ethnocentric area of Malopolska has had a rich history. Having been the old national capital and beiiing located on one of the maor trading routes joining the Middle East and Western Asia to Central and Northern Europe, the city has many influences. One of these comes to us in the form of the Krakowiak costume, which dates back to the 14th century when it arrived from Persia. In the 18th century, the costume was used a military uniform by General Kosciuszko. Today, the Krakowiak is one of the five national dances of Poland, but developed from humble roots in the villages surrounding Krakow. Eventually, it assimilated various elements from other regions of the country as well as military influences in the form of gallops imitating horsemen.The men wear red and white striped pants. The metallic disks, which are strung to the men's leather belts, come from armor. The tassels on the blue, sleeveless coat come from Napoleonic times, imitating military decorations. The outfit is topped with a four-cornered red hat, ornamented with ribbons and peacock feathers. The women wear beautifully embroidered and beaded velvet vests, and floral challis skirts, which can be made from any colour. A single woman wears a wreath of flowers, while the married woman wears a white kerchief. Ribbons are worn on the right shoulder and hang loose. *Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Kolomajki

Another of the many dances from the region of Slask shows off yet another element of Polish folklore. The Kolomajki is a dance performed by young girls only. It seems it was a way to show men that girls can also perform by themselves and not necessarily as a means to entice a man to dance.

Kaszubski

The region of Kaszuby in north-central Poland is located on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The original inhabitants of this region, the Slowinski people, were related to the Latvians and Lithuanians. During the domination of the Teutonic knights over the region from 1226 to 1466, the Kaszubians saw influences of the Germanic culture permeate their traditions. Consequently, their dances also changed and today they display a rich mixture of Polish, German, Latvian and Lithuanian elements. Since the region is in a maritime region, the Kaszubski Suite also displays influences introduced by the fishermen.The Kaszubski costume is typical of the Kaszubian Lake district in the early 19th century. The men wear dark blue heavy cloth coats with brick red belts. Their yellow pants are tucked into long black boots. Their black hats have a red embroidered band, however, their cotton or linen shirts are unadorned.The women's dresses are blue with floral pattern embroidery on the bodices. Over their skirts they wear white aprons decorated with simple eyelet work, while their white blouses are plain. Their blue bonnets, first made in convents in the 18th century, are ornamented with raised embroidery.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Goralski Podhalanski

These are highland dances of the inhabitants of the Tatra mountains, full of bravado and vigor. There are dances by maidens and lads in which the lively temperament of the highlanders pours out. Very small, precise steps are characteristic in these dances, as in the Kresany, which means"to strike sparks out of mountaineers' axes", and the Zbojnicki, the term for highland robbers. In these dances the boys display feats of skill and strength to impress the girls. The tradition has it that Góral men impress their women with their fancy dancing and complicated footwork.

The people of Podhale, meaning below the mountain pastures, are mountaineers and shepherds. They owe their culture and folklore not only to southern Polish elements but also from Slovak highlanders who live just on the other side of the Czech border.The men wear tighten, wool pants that are decorated on the front with parzenice (special embroidered patterns). Their white shirts have little ornamentation but are held together by brass or silver pins. Around the waist they wear heavy leather belts decorated with many buckles. They wear leather slippers called kierpce. The hats are made from black felt and are decorated with cowrie shells and an eagle feather. The men carry with them a ciupaga, which is a mountaineer's axe.The women wear floral printed skirts and richly embroidered velvet vests, which are tied at the front by a large red ribbon. Their blouses have wide frills and cuffs, and also have elaborate embroidery. They wear red coral necklaces and shawls to match their skirt. The women wear woolen socks and also have kierpce. *Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Cieszynski

The region around the city of Cieszyn is located in southern Silesia bordering the Czech Republic. It is a semi-mountainous region traditionally known for it's being a pastoral area. The Cieszynski is performed by festively dressed women, while the men wear a simple shepherd costume in traditional colours. The dance portrays pastoral themes and elements exemplifying simple dances and formations, which could include children signifying strong family values.The men wear a blue vest and pants. The vest is decorated with brass buttons. The white shirts have no embroidery.The women wear long black skirts. Overtop of the skirts is a floral-muted apron that looks like tapestry. They have black velvet vests, which are decorated with gold appliqué. The belts are made of metal strands and include a large buckle on the front. The white blouses are decorated with eyelet work, and silver necklaces are worn. The women wear crocheted white caps, which are covered at the back by a woven scarf.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Eastern Krakowiak

Krakowiak Wschodni
This is a variation of the Krakowiak from the Eastern Krakow region.

Lubelski

The disrict around the city of Lublin includes most of the people on the eastern side of the Vistula River. Mainly an agricultural area, this part of Poland attracted settlers from a variety of surrounding regions. People came here from Mazowsze to the northeast, White Russians from Byelorussia to the northeast, and Ruthenians from Volhinya and Polesia, in the southeast. Their influences over the region are mostly reflected in the costumes worn by the people rather than the dances that draw their roots from earlier times. The dances presented in this suite are performed at weddings. In fact, the suite is a reflection of the rites of a wedding and the celebration of the event.The men's costume is all black, with the pants having a red stripe along the sides. The jacket is decorated with diamond shapes of many colours, along with red trim. The white shirt is embroidered with red and blue geometric designs. The hat is made of straw and can be decorated with flowers or ribbons.The women wear skirts of a solid colour, and are decorated with man bands of horizontal ribbons. Over the longer skirt the women wear a shorter skirt overtop that includes the same decorations of ribbons. Their vests are made of velvet with tabs at the bottom and a decorated waistband. The women's blouses also have red and blue embroidered patterns. The women's headpieces are very elaborate and are decorated with many flowers and ribbons.

Kurpie Puszczy Zielonej

The region of Kurpie in northeastern Poland has only been settled since the 16th century, mostly due to the presence of two vast forests. These two forests were called 'Puszczy Zielona' (Green Wilderness) and 'Puszczy Biala' (White Wilderness). Although the people of this region were forest dwellers, they developed lively and energetic dances not unlike those found in the mountain regions of southern Poland. The dance presented here comes from the more northerly Puszczy Zielona. This particular choreography shows off the variety of steps found in the region, ranging from slow movements to intricate footwork.The men's costume consists of a plain white linen shirt worn underneath a short red jacket. Underneath are white pants. The men wear dark brown hats (in the Puszczy Biala region the men wear black caps).The women wear striped wool skirts, mostly red, and overtop they wear a vest. The white linen blouses have little ornamentation although the women always wear necklaces made from amber. A very ancient element is the black velvet hats decorated with flowers or ribbons.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Opoczynski

Located in central Poland, the Opoczno region is characterized by fertile lands, forests and meadows. The principal occupations of the people were agriculture and raising livestock. The combination of the colours of the land and the great availability of wool, allowed the people of this region to develop beautifully coloured wool costumes. The dances of the region are characterized by lively music and fast moving formations. Together, the colour of the costumes and lively dances form a stunning suite portraying the attitudes of the people of the Opoczno region.The men wear white linen shirts and wool pants with a purple-checkered pattern. They wear vests of the same checkered pattern as the pants. Their belts are made of striped pasiak material.The women wear white linen blouses, which are embroidered on the sleeves. Their dresses and aprons are made from multi-coloured pasiak material. Their embroidered black vests are often held together with a strand of beads. The women wear coloured scarves on their heads.*Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Slask Suite

The southwestern region of Slask, or Silesia, is culturally one of the richest of all regions of Poland. The division of north and south, mountains and lowlands, plus the influences of Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, has all given this part of the country a varied vulture and folklore. A part of this variety will be presented her in one of the most unique dances in Polish folk dance called Trojak. A man and two women perform this dance. The triplets perform a variety of formations. Traditionally, this dance celebrates the harvest and the hard work of the people.

Warminski

The region in north-eastern Poland was one of the ancient provinces which formed the territory of Prussia. Originally inhabited by Slavic and Wendish people, the region was settled in 1226 by the Teutonic Knights. Until their defeat in 1466, they spread German culture throughout this region. From 1772 until 1945, this part of Poland again fell under German control. This resulted in the area's culture and folklore to be a complete mixture of Polish and German influences. The dance presented here has a reflection of this. The suite opens with a dance called the 'Chodzony' or walking dance, used to open official functions. The following dacnes tend to express the more lively nature of this region. The choreography for this suite was attained while at the 1996 International Polish Folk Festival in Rzeszow, Poland.The men wear blue jackets over red vests, both of which have brass buttons. Their white pants are tucked into long black boots and they have straw hats. There is very little embroidery or decoration.The women wear long, close-fitting vests. The skirts are the same colour as the vest with a few dark bands of ribbon along the bottom. The blouse is of plain linen and only the white apron has some red and blue geometrical embroidery. Warminian women often wear a strand of amber from the nearby Baltic Sea. *Costume description from the book "Polish Folk Costumes", written by Christopher Majka and Sheilagh Hunt.

Zywiec Mieszczanki

This graceful and dignified dance comes from the Southern Polish town of Zywiec. The Zywiecki costume is very colorful and elaborate. It shows many urban influences in its ornate lace-work and eighteenth- century style. The men's costume is simple but elegant. They wear long brocade jackets buttoned to the top with only the collar of their white shirts visible. The pants are black as are the long coats. A loose velvet rogatywka trimmed with Persian lamb is worn on the head. The woman's dress, is in contrast, is much more elaborate. They wear elegant jackets and skirts. Over this, elaborate aprons of white lace are worn. Of lace too, are the shawls which drape over the jackets. Their lace collars are wide and billowy and at the front they wear a large bow with a necklace of red coral. Sometimes a lace headpiece completes the ensemble.