The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
Jacek and Bożena Marek
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Information: Jacek "Jack" and Bożena Marek, teachers of Polish dance.
Jack was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1943. He attended the School of Forestry, joining the Song and Dance Troup Wielkopolska where, for the first time, he saw the folklore of this region. He obtained his Master's degree in Poznan and soon became a soloist in the ensemble. It was at the ensemble where he met his future wife, Bożena. During the next ten years he pursued further dance studies in Gdansk and Warsaw, obtaining a Diploma in Dance Studies and the position of assistant choreographer. He frequently took part in national and international folk festivals and seminars.
In 1973, Jack founded his own dance group at the Poznan Polytechnic Institute. He was the group's artistic director and choreographer until his first visit to America in 1978. At about the same time he was appointed Director of Folklore Arts for the province of Poznan (Wielkopolska).
Since 1973, Jack has taught Polish dance throughout Poland, in Hungary, The Netherlands, and East and West Germany. Many dancers in the United States have had the opportunity to study with him in the course offered each summer in Polish dance by the Polonia Society and by the University of Maria Sklodowska-Curie in Lublin. A special grant enabled him to study Labanotation with Dr. Roderyk Lange in Jersey, Great Britain. Since 1973, he has been a member of the Faculty of Folklore Studies of the Society Polonia.
In 1974, he was on a scolardhip of the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Budapest, where he studied Hungarian dance folklore. In 1966-77, he twice traveled to the German Federal Republic at the invitation of the Polish Society Zgoda, where he worked with the Polish ensembles. In 1977, he studied Laban Kinetography in Jersey, Great Britain, and this knowledge proved to be very useful in his further work. Accepting the position of Director of Folklore Arts in the Palace of Culture in Poznan, he traveled frequently throughout the area where gathered and recorded the authentic dances and customs of the people.
Jack, his wife Bożena, and their son Bartek, arrived in the United States in September, 1978. From 1978 to 1997, Jack was the artistic director and choreographer of the Krakowiak Polish Dancers of Boston, Massachusetts, and, for twenty years, worked with the Krakowiak Dancers of Fall River.
Jack and Bożena have taught workshops and folk dance camps throughout the United States and Canada. In 1992 and 1993 they taught in Japan and Hong Kong. During that time, Jack choreographed gold medal winning dances for students of the Hong Kong High School and the Budlet Folk Ensemble. In 1995, Jack conducted workshops in Australia and New Zealand. In January 1998, he was again on tour in Japan and in the Summer, along with Bożena, taught at the Asia Folk Dance Camp in Taiwan. In 1998, as well as 2000 and 2002, Jack returned to Japan to conduct workshops.
His accomplishments have been included in the Polish-American edition of "Who's Who."
Among Jack's publications are
Dances Jacek and Bożena have taught include Biały Mazur, Błogosławiony, Cieta Polka, Czardasz Śląski, Fafur, Jacok, Kerchief Kujawiak, Krakowiak, Kryżak, Kryżak from Novy Zacz, Kujawiak, Kujawiak od Oberek, Marek's Kujawiak-Oberek, Marek's Mazur, Maruszka, Mazur, Oberek, Okrąc se Wkoł, Okrąc so Wkáł, Polonez, Poniewierany, Przodek Szamotulski, Spiski, Szarocz, Szot Madziar, Sztajerek, Tranblanka, Walczyk Lubelski, and Walc Sadezki.
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