When White Eagle Polish Song and Dance Ensemble perform, it presents a colorful tour of Poland's diverse culture and history through song and dance. Each performance is flavoured with a veritable tapestry of art through music and movement. Throughout its 50 intensive and successful seasons, the award winning White Eagle Polish Song & Dance Ensemble has worked hard in developing authentic and artistic Polish cultural entertainment. This colorful and energetic folk group was incorporated into the Canadian Multicultural mosaic in 1966 out of Paweł and Maria Dubicki's dedication to the preservation of Polish folklore, dance, song and costume. Their deep affection, respect and honour for the heritage of our homeland has been reflected throughout the many generations of the ensemble's performers.
In 2016 Alicja Stasiuk has brought the ensemble into a new technical and creative era. With the same values as its founders, she has instilled in the youth a dedication to the professional interpretation, presentation and expression of historical and contemporary Polish cultural traditions and values. The 60 member strong ensemble is comprised of individuals who devote themselves to the cultivation of their ancestors' folk culture through song and dance. The representative group consists of students at the high school and university levels as well as young professionals; while two children's performing ensembles train and develop to continue the legacy as the future representatives of White Eagle.
The White Eagles have traveled internationally and performed extensively for audiences throughout Canada, the continental United States, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Peru, Puerto Rico, Poland and Macao, China. The ensemble has also countless radio and television appearances to its’ credits. One of the ensemble’s most memorable performances was during the Papal visit to Toronto in 1984 when they had the privilege to perform for His Holiness Pope John Paul II. In 2003 the group's travels were highlighted by the honour of meeting, performing and praying with Sister Lucia of Fatima. This private audience was held in the closed chambers of the Carmelite Sisters Convent in Coimbra, Portugal.
Costumes are an integral part of the show. The White Eagle Polish Song and Dance Ensemble maintains a diverse repertoire and wardrobe of Polish folk and court dances. The dynamic rhythms and movements of dances are accentuated by the richly embroidered authentic national and regional costumes, which are of exceptional historical and ethnographic value. Over 300 lavish costumes are presented during a two-hour stage production. Collected over the years, these costumes are made of pure wool, linen, cotton and silk that feature finely hand-embroidered colorful designs and are handcrafted by the best masters of folk art.
Since its inauguration in 1966 Biały Orzeł continues to be a foundation for youth in discovering and maintaining their cultural identity through the preservation of folklore. Notable mention can be given to the ensemble's philosophy of not only entertaining but also educating audiences and dancers alike. Most recently, the ensemble's Artistic Director has taken on the task of researching, exploring, collecting and staging folklore from ``unknown`` Polish sub-regions in which ethnographically, people differentiate themselves.
Strong emphasis is made to the commitment of discovering our roots by creating a new existence to the songs, dances and traditions of our forefathers and their ancient folklore that otherwise may have been lost. This is achieved through our recognition of the existence the many identifiable and diverse ethnographic and ethnic groups within and beyond Poland’s borders (i.e. the folklore of the Czadeckie Highlanders-Poles living in Romania, Roma – Cyganskie, Chelm, Leczyce, Szczyrzyce, Orawa, Pszczyna, Spisz, Wilamowice, Jasliska and Lasowiaks). Ms. Stasiuk recent activities not only add to the expansion of our repertoire and costume collections, but also explores the diverse realms and aspects of Poland’s ornate folk heritage.
Throughout the generations, the immense dedication, love & tireless efforts shared by young artists, teachers, and parents has contributed to Biały Orzeł’s mandate of presenting the rare treasures and exquisiteness of Poland, is realized. The creative synergy of both the Administrative and Artistic Teams enthusiastically strive for a balance, dedicated to opportunity and imaginative development with an unmistakable focus on highly theatrical values.
The Biały Orzeł Polish Song and Dance Ensemble takes great pride knowing that it retains and saves heritage by breathing new life into an art that is quickly dying. In doing so, the ensemble showcases the unique beauty of Poland's rich folk ancestry and enhances the colours of Canada's cultural mosaic.