Mazury, one of the largest and longest-established Polish dance groups in the UK, was founded in 1949 by Wiesław Gąsiorowski and fellow ex-servicemen and women wishing to uphold Polish folklore and traditions in post-war Britain. As the Dance Company of the Polish YMCA GB, Mazury’s 120 members span three generations of the Polish émigré community, welcoming children from as young as 7. Based in West London, Mazury is led by Artistic Director and Choreographer, Zosia Lesiecka and her husband, Lead Dance Instructor, and Choreographer, Lucjan Santos Witkowski. Together they shape Mazury’s artistic expression of traditional Polish folk dance for a contemporary international audience.

A pupil of former Artistic Directors Jan Ciepliński and Irena Różycka, Włodek Lesiecki led Mazury between 1973 and 2010. Under his leadership, the group grew, and he expanded and enhanced the existing repertoire. Lesiecki set up a folk band, which became an integral part of Mazury. Taking over from Andrzej Kotowicz, Musical Director Maryla Kolendo led the group for 30 years. The current Musical Director, Jadwiga Słomka has set up two choirs during lockdown. Mazury has proudly created most of its costumes: an extensive collection of over 3,000 items, managed by Wisia Saller and a ‘sewing’ group.

Over its 71-year history, Mazury has performed for European audiences large and small, for the Royal family, in West End theatres, operas, theatre productions, cultural and charity events. The group has recorded two albums and has taken part in a Ken Russell film. Mazury has danced in the Festival of the Pyrenees, the UK Festival of Polish Folklore, the Festival of the Beskid Mountains, and the Festival of Kashubian Culture in Poland.

The group appears regularly at London’s Polish harvest festivals and at the prestigious ‘Bal Polski’ charity fundraiser, as well as events hosted by the Polish Embassy in London and the Consulate in Edinburgh. Mazury represented Poland at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to mark Poland’s entry into the EU. The group celebrated its 65th anniversary with a performance at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall before embarking on a tour of Poland, culminating in a performance in Wawel’s Royal Castle in Krakow. More recently, Mazury has danced for new audiences: at the Wilderness Festival, St. John’s Smith Square, Brixton Electric and the Tate Modern.

In 2018, Mazury performed at the Royal Albert Hall, to celebrate the centenary of Poland’s independence and in 2019 marked its 70th anniversary with a sell-out performance at The New Wimbledon Theatre. Mazury aims to bring people together.

Passion, fun and a commitment to upholding Polish culture and traditions through dance and song lie at its heart!