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