For more than 50 years, the Polonia Polish Folk Dance Ensemble has been entertaining audiences locally and internationally. It is with great pride and determination that Polonia has survived and grown to promote Polish culture through its rich history of song and dance.

The group was originally established in the 1930s as simply a social club for husbands and wives who had recently immigrated to Canada, but it would eventually develop into its own vibrant community, which sought to uphold and carry on the Polish folk traditions of song, music, and dance. In its early years, the group was known as “St. Anthony’s Polish Dancers,” up until the 1970s when the group formally changed its name to Polonia Dance Ensemble and has used this date to mark the group’s anniversary.

Over the years Polonia has had many instructors but became more formally established under the direction of Leokadia Rozycki and Junia Uleryk who initially directed both the Junior and Senior groups of Polonia up until 1987 when Junia Uleryk retired as director of the senior group to focus more exclusively on the junior and intermediate groups with Lodzia Roycki.  In 1987 Stan Slopek became the co-director of Polonia’s senior group with Jozefa Szumlak, and in 1990 he became the sole director of the Senior group, a role that he would remain in for the next 20 years.  Over the years the group continued to see changes in its directors, Mary Ann Langshaw who initially came on as Assistant Director to the Junior and Intermediate groups in 1990, transitioned to the Director of both groups when Junia Ulerky and Lodzia Roycki retired in 1996. Mary Ann remained in this role until 2007 and then passed it on to Tamara Scrimbit who went on to teach the Juniors and Intermediate groups from 2007 to 2014 and the Senior group from 2010 to 2014.

Currently, Polonia’s groups are under the direction of Karin and Marten Fidler – Polonia Beginner group, Daniel and Iryna Smela – Polonia Junior and Intermediate groups, Iryna Smela and Lisa Novak – Polonia’s Senior group and Stan Slopek Director of the Alumni Group Jeszcze Raz.

As the group continued to grow and evolve over the years, so did its repertoire. Polonia invited many professional choreographers from Poland to teach several of the different suites of Poland and work on steps and techniques. The group has grown from having a few sets of home-sewn costumes to 18 complete sets of original costumes purchased directly from Poland along with an expansive library of music some of which was specifically recorded for the group for their many dances and suites.

Presently, Polonia averages around 55 members across all 5 groups.

Beginner Group

The Polonia Beginner group consists of dancers as young as 4. Dancers discover the Polish culture while learning introductory steps and dances while playing traditional Polish games.

Junior Group

The Polonia Junior group consists of dancers aged 7 to 12. Dancers from this group start to learn the basic steps such as the waltz and Polka and get their real first introduction to Polish Folk Dances.

Intermediate Group

The Polonia Intermediate group consists of dancers aged 12 to 18. The Intermediate dancers continue to build upon the foundational steps and figures taught in the Junior group while introducing more challenging steps and full choreography of Polish Folk Dancing.

Senior Group

The Senior group of Polonia is Polonia's principal performing group of Polonia, performing not only locally but also internationally at world folk festivals across Canada, US, and Poland.

Alumni Group

Polonia's Alumni group, known as "Jeszcze Raz", consists of past Polonia dancers who have come together to share their love and joy of Polish Folk Dancing.