World class choreographer Romana Agnel brings her Cracovia Danza Court Ballet to the streets of Kraków in vibrant festival of colourful dance
The medieval courtly dance, once the nexus of the social and political world, will once again take centre stage in Kraków as part of a week-long celebration of traditional dance and ballet.
The 19th edition of the Cracovia Danza Festival of Court Dance will see dancers descend on the main square, the Barbican fortress and other key Kraków locations to demonstrate the (not so) long-lost medieval art form.
This year's edition, held on the 100th anniversary of Poland's regaining independence, is “War and Peace”. As a result, the programme of this year's festival will include different types of dance and ballet related to war and the military, across all periods of history.
Visitors to the festival will also enjoy workshops with artists and dancers, choreographic illustrations of fights with historical weapons, various competitions and parades. The dance styles will also cut across different periods -- such as the French and Italian Renaissance -- and styles -- like English country dance and baroque.
Festival founder Romana Agnel says she is delighted to have the opportunity to share her love of the artform.
“We always see how suddenly the tourists stop listening to their guide and start watching our show and taking pictures. For them it's like traveling back in time. This is the feeling I want to give them. I want them to feel in perfect harmony with Kraków,” she told The First News.
Agnel, a dancer and choreographer, is the founder of the Cracovia Danza school, which hosts the annual dance festival. After completing her History of Art studies at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where she first became acquainted with the dances of different periods and cultures, she decided it was time for Kraków to have its own traditional dance group.
Since its founding, the Cracovia Danza Court Ballet has worked on the recreation of traditional court dances and ballets of different countries and periods, from the Middle Ages to modern times, including choreographies, costumes and music.
Comprising of a group of 12 dancers -- some of them foreigners -- it is the only professional court and historical dance ensemble in Poland.
The most prominent artist to perform at this year’s festival is Rakesh Sai Babu, an Indian dancer and choreographer specialising in Chhau - a semi-classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and folk origins.
On Saturday, July 28, the Cracovia Danza Ballet will also perform “Chess” – a show inspired by the narrative poem by Jan Kochanowski, presenting a game of chess as a battle between two armies. The dancers, clad in extraordinary costumes, will transform into the chess pieces and re-enact the exciting conflict masterfully described by the famous poet.
Agnel said the “War and Peace” theme is the perfect opportunity to explore different aspects of the dance form.
She told The First News: "This year we mark 100 years of Polish independence, so we will see all sorts of military elements. I like to make a link between dancing and other types of art, such as dance and theater, dance and poetry or dance and fine arts.”
“I want to show the audience different faces of ancient dances, and I want everyone who comes to Kraków to see and feel the performances, wherever they may be.”