Mazury Dance Company of the Polish YMCA in London was founded in 1949 and today consists of over 120 dancers, singers and musicians in three groups from age 7 upwards. Mazury’s performances over their 69 year history range from charity and social events, to shows at prestigious UK and European venues to audiences of thousands. Mazury’s 'Kapela' (folk band) is made up of professional musicians, most of whom have played with the band for over 30 years.
Mazury have appeared on television in over thirty countries, including 'Come Dancing' and a New Year's Day musical show, as well as several popular network game shows. They have performed at most of the main London dance venues, taken part in a Ken Russell film, cut an LP record, recorded a CD and participated regularly in such prestige festivals as the Festival of the Pyrenees, Arundel Castle, the Cheltenham Spring Festival, Charleston Manor, the UK Festival of Polish Folklore, the Festival of the Beskid Mountains, and the Festival of Kasubian Culture in Poland.
Mazury have performed for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and several other heads of state, and have entertained the Prince and Princess of Wales. In 1992 Mazury took part in the celebrations in Poland marking its return to a free and independent country, and represented Poland at the Foreign Office on the occasion of Poland's entry into the EU. Mazury’s 65th anniversary in 2014 was marked by a sell-out gala performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London’s Southbank Centre and a tour to Poland to dance in the Festival of Beskid Culture culminating in a performance at Wawel Castle in Krakow.
Mazury's costume collection consists of over 3,000 items, most of which have been produced by members, families and friends of Mazury. Over the past 6 decades, members of the group have woven materials, sewed and embroidered costumes, made belts, ornamental axes and brooches. Mazury's costumes are available for hire.
Artistic Director & Choreographer
Zosia became Mazury’s Artistic Director in 2010. She has taken on the role with an enthusiasm and energy that could only have been equalled by her predecessor.
Zosia’s passion for dance started at the age of three when she first began ballet lessons. Officially joining Mazury aged eight, Zosia danced under the watchful eye of her father, Włodek Lesiecki, the group's previous Artistic Director for over 20 years. After finishing her degree in Drama and History of Theatre Arts, Zosia returned to London to assist in teaching the Junior and Middle groups, also running her own ballet and yoga classes.
Zosia is the Programme Director for the Polish YMCA based in Ealing.
INstructor & choreographer
Lucjan Santos Witkowski
Lucjan (known as ‘Lulu’) has been a member of Mazury for 25 years, originally joining on the recommendation of one of his Polish School teachers. Immediately recognising his natural agility and ability as a dancer, Włodek took advantage of Lulu’s gymnastic versatility and invented increasingly difficult solos for him. A skilled Capoeira dancer, Lucjan embraces both his Brazilian and Polish heritage and both countries’ rich dance histories and cultures. He works closely with Zosia in the instruction of all three groups.
Lucjan is a secondary school Assistant-Head teacher, Director of Pastoral Care and teaches science. He is heavily involved in Polish YMCA Youth work, running the annual Summer camps for many years. He is a member of the Mazury Committee and a trustee of the Polish YMCA.
Musical Director of Mazury since 1988, Maryla Kolendo is a full time music teacher specialising in choir and ensemble work. Maryla is constantly expanding Mazury's musical repertoire; her creativity, arrangement and transposition skills are invaluable to the group. Maryla is a perfectionist, with a talent for creating beautiful harmonies. Mazury’s 18-track CD was recorded under her direction in November 2004. Maryla has also run a chamber choir, taught at her local Polish school and is resident organist at her local church.
Wisia took on the mantle of Wardrobe Mistress when the Polish YMCA first moved from their old Queensway home to their current residency in Ealing. Wisia extensively researches costumes and sources materials to ensure that Mazury's costume collection continues to expand. With over 3000 items, it takes the dedication of a team of volunteers: sewing, embroidering and maintaining the collection. Mazury Committee President, Rysiek Saller, works tirelessly behind the scenes, supporting his wife Wisia in her role. As is a common thread within the Mazury 'family', although now retired from dancing herself, Wisia's children and grandchildren span across three groups!