TST, Vol. 6, No. 18-19/1998


The VISTULA Polish Dance Company of San Francisco was founded by Dr. Jean M. Novak in 1989. The group has grown from an initial 6 dancers to over 20 active dancing and singing members. Over ninety percent of the members of the group are from Poland or of Polish decent.

Over the past 10 years, VISTULA has participated in many events presenting Polish national and regional dances and cultural traditions in the Bay Area as well as throughout California. The group has performed twice in Hawaii. VISTULA has performed for various annual Polish events such as the Polish Festival and Polish Constitution Day for the Polish American Congress - Northern California Division, the Polonaise Ball for the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, Annual Membership Meetings from the Polam Federal Credit Union, various celebrations for St. Wojciechıs Polish Pastoral Mission in San Francisco and St. Aldalbertıs Polish Catholic Mission in San Jose, Dozynki celebrations for the PNA-Grupa #7, and at dance celebrations for the Polonez Soccer Club of San Francisco.
Among the places the group has performed include the Herbst Theatre in SF, the Place of Fine Arts for the prestigious SF Ethnic Dance Festival, the Dean Lesher Theatre in Walnut Creek, the Vacaville Museum, the Los Altos Greek Community Center, Golden Gate Park Bandshell and Hall of Flowers, St. Maryıs Cathedral, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Stanford University, and the University of Hawaii, just to name of few.
The group has also participated in and presented various Polish customs and traditions over the years such as Dozynki, Andrzejki, Wigilia, Swietojanki, and Karnawal.
The group has been also involved in presenting costume demonstrations and lectures on Polish dances at events such as the PACF Polish Heritage Seminar and at various universities in California and in Hawaii.

In addition, VISTULA has made several donations over the years to help and support various Polish organizations such as monetary support to Mazowsze and Cardinal Glemp, a benefit concert with the Cantio Polonica choral group under the direction of Mr. Jacek Kalisz for the Polish American Club of Sacramento, and holy water holders for the new Polish Church in San Jose. VISTULA always enjoyed visiting Fr. Gluszek at Christmas-time and singing Polish carols with him up until he passed away at 99 years.
The VISTULA Dancers have been fortunate to have had special guest choreographers such as Ms. Bozena Nizanska from Poland, Ms. Donna Kalinowska-Kaye from New York, Mr. Jacek Marek from Boston, and Mr. Edward Hoffman from LA share their talent and expertise with the group. The choreography of VISTULA combines authenticity and accuracy of dance steps with performance quality, which adds up to an educational, exciting and moving experience, for the dancers as well as the audience. Much of the success of the company is due to the dancersı camaraderie and dedication to upholding Polish culture and traditions.
VISTULA also involves its members in fun-time with yearly trips to Lake Tahoe in the winter and Calistoga in the summer.

Dr. Jean (Genia) Novak is the Artistic Director of the group. She has presented many lectures on Polish dances, customs, and costumes. She studied Polish national and regional dances of Poland, ethnography, as well as Polish music and costumes at the choreographers course in Lublin, Poland. In addition, she publishes a bilingual newsletter entitled, "Plynie Wisla," where articles discuss and educate the public on Polish dances, costumes, and customs.
VISTULA is sponsored and supported primarily with private donations and paid performances in addition to support received from the Polam Federal Credit Union, the Polish Arts and Culture Foundation, and the Polish National Alliance.

The VISTULA Dancers rehearse once a week at the Polish Hall in San Francisco at 22nd Street and Shotwell (between South Van Ness and Folsom) on Thurs. eve from 8­10 p.m.
If you have any questions please call: (650) 355-6474.

TST, Vol. 6, No. 18-19/1998

The Summit Times

İ Copyright 1998 by Andrzej M. Salski