News

Busy Summer at KDW!

The weather is finally warm, and people are busy getting out and DOING stuff again!

At Kraków Dance Works, the studio is as a place for organizers to take control of their projects and do them their way. This means there is a lot of variety of activities happening at the studio this summer. Find something you’re interested in? We’ll put you directly in contact with the organizer.

Like what? Let’s explore –

Kraków Dance Works flagship event – weekly Fusion dances at the studio. Wednesday nights, these dances are a mixture of all that we do in the studio. The dances usually have a beginner lesson at the beginning and we love sampling different dance styles from across the dance universe. Doors open at 20:30h and bring your own refreshments!

 

 

Canadian Mark Oliver organizes STORY SLAMS once a month on Sundays. Story slams are like poetry slams, only people tell true stories from their lives. These evenings are a wonderful way to get to know new people and learn something about them, and perhaps yourself. Each month has a theme for the stories, and the evening is in English. Who wants to tell a story?!

 

 

Zouk at KDW. Zouk is a sensual Brazilian dance that emphasizes connection between partners and body awareness. Instructors Bartosz & Klaudia teach their unique style of Zouk, grounded in solid Brazilian technique, but also looking to understand the delicateness of the lead/follow dynamic. Intermediate classes on Wednesdays, with a beginner class to be announced soon.

 

 

Cross Step Waltz is the hottest new dance to make its way over from America. Combining structures from ballroom dance with contemporary music, cross step waltz is a partnered, traveling dance that is both romantic and exhilarating at the same time. Instructor Alena has rapidly grown cross step to be one of the most popular dances at KDW. Join her on Thursdays before Balfolks for her intermediate class, and starting soon a beginner class as well.

 

 

The dance of balfolk collects many, many traditional folk dances from around Europe and brings them forward to today. Balfolk is perfect for beginners, as the community is very welcoming and the dances are easy to learn. But don’t worry, there are advanced dances too to challenge even the most skilled dancers. Balfolks happens every Thursday evening and includes a social dance with a lesson.

 

 

Lindy hop practice parties, courtesy of Claire & Mateusz. Need an opportunity to get out and practice your Lindy Hop in a social setting? These Lindy events are perfect for that. Relaxed, welcoming, and lots of fun, these weekend dances are the best way to get back out and reconnect with old and new Lindy hoppers in town. Usually on Sundays, these cozy events are full of joy and smiles.

 

 

One of Kraków’s oldest Swing schools, Swing & Sway has supported KDW since we started. The elegance, high level, and charm of everyone at Swing & Sway is what makes them so special. Check out all the new stuff coming from their school as they kick start the summer season!

 

 

 

A new organizing group at KDW, Nausika has found space in the studio to showcase their expertise in Live Action Role-Playing and creative education. Their talents transform cozy, little KDW into exotic locales, full of thrilling adventures. By far the best way to larp in Kraków, we love having their creative energies flowing around the studio.

 

 

The Swing practice masters at the studio, Kari & Tomasz have been integral to the swing community in Kraków for many years. They both have professional swing careers and love being able to use the studio to hone their skills and show off. Rumor has it that a new Lindy Hop festival is quietly being organized… what will come next from Kari and Tomasz?!

 

 

Kraków Dance Works is not your traditional dance school. Instead, it is a space that encourages and supports creative people to take control of their own projects. Are you interested in organizing something at KDW? If so, contact us at kontakt@krakowdanceworks.com and let’s talk!

Fundraiser complete – SUCCESS!

Wow, what an amazing success! Our Studio REBOOT crowdfunding campaign has finished, and we raised the funds we needed to meet our goals.

From the beginning, we needed help moving the studio to a new location. Over the new year, specifically we needed to

  • refinish the wood dance floor
  • install new mirrors
  • improve sound & lighting equipment
  • …all remaining funds going towards organizing a Fusion dance festival!

In the end, through the support of the community, we raised 7,640zł in donations! This amount will allow us to pay for all of the new studio work, and still have a good amount left over to go towards a Fusion Fest this Summer in Kraków.

If you supported us in this fundraiser, please be on the lookout for communications about your prizes. We’ll need to get t-shirt sizes from everyone. Also, now its time to start planning the studio private event bookings – let’s get together and organize!

Thank you so, so very much to everyone who contributed. When this started, I was a little apprehensive if people would show their support or not. The response has been staggering and I am humbled by it. It makes me both optimistic and excited for the future of Kraków Dance Works.

Let’s get working!

Greg Austin

The Year in Review

Hi there,

Greg Austin here. I want to take this opportunity to look back on the year 2020. It’s been quite the journey.

The first full year of KDW’s existence was quite the unusual one, to put it mildly. We always knew that the first year would be a year of discovery, a year of learning who we were as a studio. However, never could we have imagined that we would face not one, but two lockdowns… and the cancellations, reschedules, and changes that came along with adapting to the constantly evolving situation.

This all being said, as I sorted through the memories of the past 12 months, my spirits were lifted by the activities and people who brought their energy into the studio. We did some super cool stuff this past year!

So let’s take a quick look at just some of what happened in 2020 –

  • We began 2020 with new semesters of Blues, Balfolk, & Zouk dance classes. Our instructors for the semester were Greg Austin, Agnieszka Dworzańska, and Kasia Pawlik.
  • The wonderful dancers of Comhlan held several Scottish folk dances at the studio. Who knew that Scottish Tea Dances could be so much fun?
  • Balfolks continued to organize amazing dances, including an Epic… Sax… Balfolk dance in the theme of Eurovision. The Balfolks people have been some of the most supportive members of the KDW family. They deserve much appreciation for sticking with the studio throughout all of the ups and downs of 2020.
  • Warsztaty Teatralne continued to come down from Warsaw to give theater workshops. Thank you so much Piotr for bringing theatrical vibes into the studio. This provided much inspiration for studio activities later on in the year.
  • The first lockdown arrived in March. Our classes, workshops, and events were thrown into disarray.
  • In response to the lockdown, we created a video news service, Blues Action News, to keep the Blues community in Poland updated on cancellations and reschedules. In addition providing timely information, this service also helped the studio understand what it was that was important to preserve through all the craziness of the lockdowns. We learned that it was our relationships with our community members that were the most important!
  • As the summer arrived, and things opened up again, we held a flurry of events to get the dance juices flowing again following the first lockdown.
  • We hosted a long-delayed Blues dance workshop weekend – Chicago Juke Joint Party – The talented teachers Krystyna & Filip came down from Warsaw to share a workshop on Chicago style Blues dance. That evening, they joined their band, Christine & The Blue Drags for a rocking dance!

  • Building upon the work that Mark Oliver had begun with the Fusion dance scene in town, we pulled our teams together to organize a last minute, mini-fusion festival – Ice Cream Fusion. This event provided the inspiration for a 2nd, much larger Fusion Festival to be organized in Summer 2021. We really hope all will go to plan in the future.
  • Agnieszka was back at it again with a Balfolk workshop and concert featuring Remi Kesteman, all the way from Lyon, France. Remi stuck around for a bit afterwards, and made good use of his time by partnering up with Agnieszka to dance a stunning music video for Remi’s Balfolk band Fahrenheit.
  • As the past summer wound down, we also managed to sneak a 1950’s style party in at the studio. Klaudia Bałazy was an amazing hostess!
  • The surprise hit development at the studio this year was the creation of Karaoke singing nights at the studio. What started as a few friends coming together to practice singing with a microphone turned into joyful regular gathering of Karaoke fans. We’ll be getting a second microphone in 2021, so that we can continue with the good times.
  • Another new evolution at the studio was the introduction of theater evenings, in the form of Murder Mystery Dinner Parties. These were written, produced, and developed all in house, using all of the talent that floats around the studio.
  • Throughout it all, we enjoyed having Swing & Sway at the studio on Monday evenings. They are a pleasure to work with and we look forward to having them continue on Mondays in the new studio. Best Swing school in Kraków in our opinion.
  • With the second lockdown arriving, we turned our attention to getting ready for our move to the new studio space. The moment of quiet has given us the time to reflect on what has been a busy, busy year. It did lead to some great times in December.
  • A Christmas practice of old Zouk friends brought much cheer and nostalgia. Here’s hoping for many more memories in the future.
  • Looking forward to 2021, the most important change to be made will be a move to a new studio location. It will still be in the same building, and we’ll be keeping everything that makes KDW so special. To support this move, we launched an end of year fundraising campaign. It is still live, so head on over and help today! Studio REBOOT in January!!!

  • In addition to the above highlights, there have been so many more events, classes, trainings, birthdays, reunions, and morale boosters throughout the year than we can’t fit onto this Year in Review. Each one of them were special in their own unique way.

Greg Austin back here again. Wow, what a happy trip down memory lane. I know that for me personally, I have grown and developed tremendously. I wouldn’t be the person I am now without the studio. I can say this honestly, I am looking forward to 2021, even if it is just as crazy as 2020. Big hugs and cheers!

Greg

Studio Closed – March 16 – April 26

UPDATE: As of April 10, the closure of the studio has been extended to at least April 26th.

UPDATE: As of March 25, the closure of the studio has been extended to at least April 12th. The tentative re-open date is Monday, April 13th. More updates to follow.

We have been following the COVID-19 coronavirus situation very closely for several weeks now. After a lot of deliberation, we at the studio have decided to close classes and events starting next Monday, March 16th. We will remain closed until at least March 30th. We will update everyone via Facebook on when we will be reopening. We ask that you stay healthy, wash your hands, take care of your loved ones, and best of luck during this period of challenges. Again, we will be closed March 16th and will be opening March 30th, based on the situation.

Best wishes and thank you for your understanding.

A dash of Texas culture

New for January 2020, Texas Line Dance PARTY ANIMATION!

I’m absolutely thrilled to announce a new service available: professional party animation with Texas Line Dance lessons.

Born and raised in Texas, I’m happy to share a slice of my heritage with the people of Kraków. In Texas, we love getting together to dance to country music, and that includes world famous line dances. These fun, easy to learn dances are perfect for breaking the ice and getting the party going. We’ll provide the lesson, the music, and the energy… you just provide the party.

Want to see an authentic Texas line dance? Here’s a short video filmed in Luckenbach, Texas… only 20 minutes from where I grew up.

Texas Monthly: The “National” Magazine of Texas

We Texans have a reputation for being a proud bunch. We rightly think that Texas is the best state in the Union. In fact, did you know that Texas was it’s own country for a time? That’s right, after we won a war of independence from Mexico, we were a nation in our own right… we even had an embassy in London.

Nowadays, we have a magazine called Texas Monthly that carries the spirit of Texas with it. In it we discuss our culture and try to figure out what makes the Lone Star State so special. I came across an article on Blues music in this very magazine.

Naturally, we Texan’s are proud of the influence our native sons and daughters had on the Blues. You may be familiar with the Mississippi Delta and Chicago as birthplaces of the Blues, but did you know about Texas? Check it out!

 

First semester… COMPLETE!

Well, the first semester of Kraków Dance Works is in the books. It’s been a great one, full of ups and downs, new things and realizations… but mostly just a lot of fun!

When people ask me how the studio is going, the best reply I can give them takes the shape of a metaphor. If the studio is a piece of metal, then it has just been removed from the forge. Opening the doors last semester was like pulling the white hot metal out of the fire. We could see the basic shape, but the brilliance of it was too hot to really understand what its final form may take.

Last semester was watching the piece of metal cool down to a point where we can start shaping it. Today, it is a lovely shade of orange. Still hot in the inside, but at a point where we can start hammering on it, turning it into what we wish for it to become.

What does this metaphor mean in practice? This means that the key people involved with the studio are now settled in. It means that the physical space of the studio has been established. It means we all now how the parties work, and can make ourselves at home.

This also means that now is the time to get to work developing the programs and ideas of which Kraków Dance Works will be known for. The chief amongst these is the idea that the studio is just that, a studio. A place for artists to practice their art. It is not a top-down institution. It is not a school, with strict chains of command. Rather, it is a place that nurtures and supports dancers who wish to expand their artistic pursuits.

I can offer an example of one such pursuit. My own.

I see dance as a tool for better understanding the human condition. We were all born human, and it’s important take advantage of what being human offers. Some people write poetry, some people build architecture. Others engage in politics or raise families. We are all given the chance to express how our individualness connects to the rest of humanity. My artistic pursuit is to understand how dance was used in our ancestors’ communities, and how we carry on those traditions to meet the challenges of today.

In practice, this means combining the traditions I learned in Texas and America, with the priorities and needs of my Polish hosts. It means exploring European systems of expression, and fusing them with New World sensibilities. And pursuing this exploration in a way that builds upon the fellow pursuits of the other people in the studio. It’s a team effort, for sure, and it’s all happening right here, right now.

Getting back to that metal metaphor. If the piece of metal that is the studio is now ready for us to hammer on, then now’s the time to get at it, before it cools any further. Of course hammering can be a lot of work, but if you love what you do, work becomes play. The best thing about play is that is combines learning and fun.

We’re going to have a whole lotta fun next semester at Kraków Dance Works!