The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Jan Sejda, teacher of Polish dance.
Jan Seda received his dance training at the Warsaw School of Ballet where his teachers included Paplinski and Leon Wojcikowski and completed graduate work in theater at the University of Krakow. Jan (pronounced "yahn"), over the years, had become known in Poland as a professional dancer, choreographer, director, and instructor of classical ballet and character dance.
In 1949, he was one of the original members of the Polish national dance ensemble Mazowsze, the Polish Folk Ballet Company, and a noted expert on Polish culture and customs. In Poland he studied ballet, theater arts, and choreography and traveled throughout the Polish countryside, obtaining and preserving the regional folk songs and dances of Poland. He was an outstanding choreographer and directed performances involving over 3,800 singers and dancers in Silesia, Poland.
Jan left the Mazowsze in 1953 to better pursue his interest in other aspects of dance that of director, choreographer, and instructor of the Wroclaw Opera and Ballet Company, the Silesian Opera Company, and the Silesian Miners' Company. During this period, he conducted classical ballet classes at the State school of music and Ballet, produced choreography for the Cieszyn Ensemble of Song and Dance, and taught classes in character and folk dance at many cultural centers throughout Poland. He was also responsible for the presentation of one of the largest religious pageants in the world performed at the Mountain of Saint Ann and involving over 3,800 dancers and singers.
After Jan moved to the United states in 1962, he founded the Kujawiaki Folklore Ballet at Alliance College in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania, and was it's director until 1972. The ensemble, a student group, closed in 1987.
He directed three successful stage and television programs for the Chopin Singing Society of Buffalo, New York, and choreographed dances for the Krakowiacy of Rochester. He toured from coast to coast, teaching classical ballet, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian folk dancing, giving master classes in character dancing, lecturing on folklore, craft, costume, and costume designing and on liturgical dress.
Jan moved to the San Francisco bay area and became the artistic director of Khadra International Folk Ballet and the choreographer for the Łowiczanie Polish Folk Dance Ensemble. At folk dance camps and seminars, he gave sessions involving a variety of folk arts, costuming, folk songs, stories, and even Polish paper cutting.
Jan died on October 10, 1983. He was to have appeared with his group for a Polish Day performance but was strangled to death in his San Francisco, California apartment. He was 54 years old.
Among Jan's publications are
Dances Jan taught include Blogoslawiony, Chodzony Polonaise, Chodzony Sląski, Gołabek, Hej Na Moscie, Jan's Krakowiak, Jesiotr, Kolomajki, Kuczmierz, Kujawiak, Krakowiak, Krakowianka, Kujawiak, Kujawiak Weselny, Łęczycka Polka, Łęczycka Walc, Mazur, Mazur Przepiorecka, Mysliwiec, Oberek, Oberek Kumoterski, Okragly, Piekla Placki, Powolny od Radziejowa, Skoczek, Sleeping Kujawiak, Szklana Gora, Tompany, Tramblanka, W Ogrodzie, Wislak, Wolny, Zasiali Gorale, Zaloty, and Zielona Rutka.
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