A Greeting Word
MAZOWIACY Integrative Song and Dance Ensemble
The “Mazowiacy” Integrative Song and Dance Ensemble is unique in Poland and Europe. Why? We can proudly say that the Ensemble has repeatedly proven with its continuous, long-term folklore activity in the artistic environment that everything what is commonly said about people with disabilities is not true. They are not weak people who are pathologically withdrawn from life. All activities taken by the Ensemble youth are referred to as therapy through art. This term is understood as dancing, singing, instrument playing, and the opportunity to meet, talk, laugh, sometimes to share different opinions, and to eat a meal together and just to be next to and together with others.
Members of the Ensemble suffer from various kinds of disabilities, mainly mental disability, but also from other related deficits, such as sight and motion disorders, epilepsy, autism. It is sometimes difficult to make the correct diagnosis. Developmental anomalies occur on different areas, are deep-seated and have various symptoms. Therefore, the participants must put a lot of effort, be conscientious and diligent in their work. And yes, all participants are extremely engaged in their artistic work. Sometimes we indeed have to wait quite a long time for the final effect, but all artists are always optimistic.
Organisationally, the “MAZOWIACY” Ensemble is a part of the Foundation to Support the Artistic Culture of Disabled Persons (Fundacja Krzewienia Kultury Artystycznej Osób Niepełnosprawnych) and comprises three artistic sections: orchestra, dancing ensemble and choir. The orchestra’s programme includes classical and popular music. The Foundation’s motto is “Anyone who really believes it may become a creator and artist”. As suggested by its name, “MAZOWIACY”, the Ensemble’s permanent place of practice is Mazovia Region and its artistic focus is on Polish folklore. The songs and dances presented by the Ensemble originate from various regions of Poland and thus show their beauty and nature. The Ensemble has inspired its spectators with the beauty of folklore from all over Poland for more than 34 years. The Group also plays concerts abroad. All artists love their activities in the Ensemble, although the work is sometimes really tough. Each concert is an example of a specific action to overcome the artificial barrier between people of the world of culture and art and people with disabilities. Performances on stage give the Ensemble members a bit of colourful and normal life, fun, joy and happiness, as well as build up their self-esteem and self-confidence.
As mentioned above, the Ensemble works very hard. In the meantime, the Group also practices modern dance and pantomime. That’s why everyone has even more fun dancing. The “Planeta Nex” musical may be classified as the greatest achievement of the pantomime group. This performance focuses on pantomime, techno music and play of magic lights. In December and January each year, the Group presents the Christmas play entitled “A letter to Santa”. The work programme also includes performances about Warsaw and Poland’s history, Patriotic and military songs.
Volunteers play one of extremely important roles in the Ensemble. Most of them are students of various secondary and higher schools as well as parents. They actively support people with disabilities at every turn, both in private life and on the stage. Thanks to the volunteers, the artistic level of the Ensemble is definitely higher. We all are always very grateful to them.
Mazovia is a region in the very heart of Poland and the home town of the “Mazowiacy” Ensemble. All inhabitants of the region are also called Mazowiacy.
“MAZOWIACY”, the unique European music, dance and song ensemble, is composed of ca. 67 young people aged 17-60 with disabilities.
The Ensemble’s repertoire includes classical and popular music, arranged by Prof. Leszek Ploch. A collection of folk dances from various regions of Poland is developed by the Ensemble’s choreographer and teacher Hanna Szczepańska-Ploch.
The Ensemble’s performances are characterised by a high degree of professionalism. It is the result of intensive artistic work and continuous promotion of creative talents of each participant. “This is a phenomenon of the art itself that people with mental disabilities are able to achieve an extraordinary creative power”, said Leszek Ploch.
The members of the Ensemble live with their parents. They attend special schools or work in therapy workshops for people with disabilities. During regular meetings, they intensively prepare for artistic performances. Ca. 33 of them actively participate in stage events. More than thirty other members prepare for stage performances during music and dance lessons. Since its establishment in 1985, the “MAZOWIACY” Ensemble has been supported and promoted by the State Fund.
The Ensemble has already presented many concerts in Poland and abroad and had many artistic successes. In addition to Polish cities, such as Warsaw, Gdańsk, Katowice, Kraków, Bydgoszcz, Poznań and Rzeszów, the Ensemble has also performed many times on stages in Berlin, Kassel, Munich, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Slovakia.