The Polonez costume encompasses 18th century nobility and status. The costumes for both men and women are designed to enhance the upright posture seen throughout the dance. While there are two common costume choices paired with this dance, Polonez opts for the version that dates back to Napoleonic wars. The men’s costume is a uniform appropriate for that given time period and our Polonez ladies wear colorful feminine floor length dresses decorated with lace and their look if completed with pearl accents.
Representing the historical former capital of Poland, the Krakowiak is one of the most well known of all the Polish costumes. It is commonly referred to as Poland’s national attire because of how easily recognizable it has become. The costumes generally represent the owner’s wealth. Here in sunny San Diego, Polonez opts for the sleeveless versions on both the women’s bodices and men’s overcoats. The women’s bodices are ornamented with lavish floral bead detailing. While women from the Krakow regions typically wore a tied kerchief, we opt for a floral crowning around the head meant to signify the youth and femininity of our female dancers. The men’s costume is known for the red pin-stripe trousers and red-lined overcoat. Typically young men from the region would adorn their hats with peacock feathers and add jingling gold hoops to their belts meant to show off their wealth.
The Lowicz costume comes from the Lowicz region of central Poland. This recognizable costume is known for its beautiful embroidery on both the mens’ and women’s costumes. The material used for the majority of the costume is wool or black velvet, making it very thick and quite heavy. These multicolored costumes have a lot of black, orange, and green incorporated into the color palette. For headwear, men are accessorized with a floral hat and ladies with a colorful kerchief. Both men and women wear white button down shirts which showcase intricate embroidered designs on the sleeves. The dances performed in the Lowicz costumes nod towards times of harvest for peasants in this region.
Our Slask costume can be seen in Trojak, our dance in threes. The ladies costume is traditionally put together with a floor length skirt, floral apron, white button up shirt, and embroidered vest. The men are wearing matching blue trousers and a sleeveless overcoat orderned with button detailing. One of the most eye-catching features of this costume is the tall headdresses worn by the women. These headpieces are pinned heavily into place on the heads of our Polonez ladies so as not to fall off during the quick turns and spins in the dance. They are decorated heavily with large flowers, beads, and ribbons.
The men of Polonez can be seen wearing a very stylized version of the traditional Zbojnicki costume. Rather than the traditional tan and white, our costume is an attractive red and black in coloration. This is our effort to demonstrate power and a sense of fierceness which is highlighted through these costumes and the choreography of the dance. The Zbojnicki dance is one performed solely by men representing the masculinity and strength of the Polish highlanders. Bird feathers, embroidery, and tassels are visible elements on our mens’ costumes and axes are used as a prop.
Our Cyganski dance is not one that many other Polish folk dance groups have a part of their repertoire. This female-only dance represents the nomadic lifestyle of Poland’s minority subgroup of gypsies which are scattered throughout the country. The ladies of Polonez wear ankle length layered skirts, black tops, slightly heels black shoes, and hip scarves. Accessories are crucial with this costume as jewelry, headscarves, flowers, and gold chain elements help completely transform our ladies into seductive gypsies radiating femininity and mystery.
Representing Beskid Slaski, dancers are dressed as the Polish highlanders living in the small villages of this Southern mountainous region. Dressing as a Silesian highlander means layering clothing to accommodate for this region's cooler climate and altitude. The women are commonly wearing a white blouse with red ribbon detailing, a black skirt with a dark blue apron, thick red socks, and braided hair. The male costume is composed of tan wool pants, an embroidered white shirt and is accessorized with a thick leather belt. Both our men and women are seen dancing in very distinguishable flat leather shoes which are laced up by hand.
These costumes represent the Nowy Sacz region of Poland which is at the bottom of the Tatra mountain range. Our men wear heavily embroidered wool costumes and our ladies bring in a touch of color with our violet skirts and aprons. A common feature of costumes from this region are the floral and geometric embroidery designs and the colors that are introduced. Given that this region had a lot of trade taking place in it, these costumes have Ruthenian folklore elements incorporated.