Our scholarships have been awarded to 90 dancers. Meet our scholarship holders who have completed their individual career plans.
Dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, folklore studies and Polish culture studies lecturer. Connected to dance since childhood. Her professional life encompasses 25 years of the stage career in “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble. At the beginning, she held the position of a dancer. Later on, she became a coryphée and finally took over the position of the soloist. In the last period of her stage career, she worked both as a soloist and as an assistant of the ballet manager.
fot. z archiwum Zespołu Pieśni i Tańca ŚLĄSK im. Stanisława Hadyny
Dance is my great love and passion. I started dancing at the age of 5 and since then, I have been an active dancer until the age of 45. Initially, I was associated with an amateur dance group “Nowa Huta”, where my teacher and mentor was Anatol Kocyłowski. After graduating from high school, I took up university studies but at the same time, I wanted to continue dancing. At that time I was already sure that I wanted to join the “Śląsk” Song and Dance Ensemble. I took the audition and won my place in the group. After that, I decided to quit the university studies and devote all of myself to dancing. After some time, I also passed the professional dancer state exam.
It’s always been important for me to get an in-depth knowledge of what I was doing. But I have also always tried to see myself in a wider picture. That’s why, while dancing professionally, I also took up and completed the Qualification Course, the Instructor’s Course of Choreography, Cultural Studies, Journalism and Social Communication, as well as Pedagogy (post-graduate studies).
I made the final decision to end my stage career mainly thanks to participating in the Career Transition Programme for Dancers organized by the Institute of Music and Dance. The Programme helped me formulate the outline of my new career path consistent with my professional plans. The thought of making a change in my life came to me years ago, when I was 40. I was thinking of studying Pedagogy.
I used to dream of becoming a teacher when I was a child and that’s why I completed a high-school with
a pedagogical specialisation. I also remember that, while I was dancing in the amateur dance group “Nowa Huta”, prof. Anatol Kocyłowski, the group’s leader, often asked me to assist him in leading the classes.
I think that prof. Kocyłowski triggered my interest in teaching. Already at a very early stage of my dance career, I began giving dance classes in different cultural centres, which helped me positively verify my qualifications and my passion for teaching.
In my career transition process, I set a precise date of my last dance recital. I decided that after that recital I’d devote myself only to dance education by working in the Silesian Centre of Regional Education in Koszęcin. At that moment I have already had vast practical and theoretical qualifications that were necessary for me to develop myself in a new place.
I currently work as a choreographer and dance teacher, specialising in Polish national dances. I am also an expert of the Upper Silesia region. I work both with small children and adults. With students, who dance in dance groups affiliated to different universities and post-graduate schools. With people of different occupations from all over the world (Brazil, UK, Japan); among others, with teachers who want to encourage their pupils to learn Polish national dances. Recently, the Polish Artistic Song and Dance Ensemble “Wilia” from Vilnius asked me to create a Polish national dances’ choreography.
The most difficult part of the transition process was to combine studying with dancing. The intensity of working as a professional dancer, with all the tournées, made it very hard for me to combine the two.
I received a lot of support from the Executive Director of my dance company – he helped us a lot with the logistics and finding different solutions that would help us study. I also value the support I received within the Career Transition Programme for Dancers – especially, the meetings with the career counsellors and their advice that facilitated my transition process. I believe that both this support and the support of my former employer were crucial.
The career transition process made me realize that I can do various interesting things. In my opinion, when you are in the process of deciding to end your stage career, the most difficult moment comes, when you realize that just a second later the lights will fade out and the audience’s applause will stop, and this applause and being in the limelight were the most beautiful rewards for your effort and artistry.
I know from experience that making a change in your life is not easy, but I also know from experience that it is always good to think about doing something else than the things you are used to. My advice to the dancers who are at the beginning of their stage careers is – from the very beginning of your career, keep learning about yourselves and observing the job market; don’t forget to establish contacts with institutions that support dancers, so that you know who can give you a helping hand and provide you with good advice.