So the last week and a bit have been a whirlwind of activity with the PolArt 2015 performing arts festival in full swing, probably easier to summarise the last few days below.
- Catchups with a great friend from my childhood and best pen-pal ever Anna plus her hubby Jake. We enjoyed brunch at Xpressomondo followed by a short drive around town and through St Kilda before Anna took an awesome selfie out the front of Luna Park that is worthy of framing!
- Later I caught up with a friend who helped receive the dance group’s costumes.
- Dinner with parents at No.8 by John Lawson at Crown where we enjoyed venison that was well prepared and delicious but unfortunately took an unusually long time to prepare, ironic given that we were rushed by waitstaff in the first 30 minutes due to another booking.
- Caught up with the roadtrip crew in Heidelberg followed by some shopping to take advantage of the boxing-day-sales, along with an anniversary gift for the folks’ 30th wedding anniversary.
- Later that night I joined most of our Perth Kukułeczka crew to a casual night of social drinks at the Melbourne Central Lion Hotel.
- Today I joined the folks for their big anniversary brunch at No. 35 in the Sofitel, which had excellent cuisine and views of the greater Melbourne skyline, then later checking out from the Mantra in Southbank and into the International House at Uni of Melbourne where the rest of the dance group is staying – finally I don’t need to pack stuff again the next day!
- That evening was a formal opening social function for PolArt at Bond – and you can guess what the theme was…!
Great night meeting new faces as well as those first met 3 years earlier at PolAart Perth, really enjoyed the white-and-red illuminated wall of Belvedere at the bar 🙂
- After a big night at the Bond Bar, we hit the ground running with a full day from 6am to 12am rehearsing & performing the ‘Przeworsk’ and ‘Łowicz’ dances at the Drum Theatre in Dandenong.
- BBQ Lunch at the Polish House “Dom Polski” was great, particularly practice for a typically Polish drinking game in their beer garden which was a great laugh and brought other dance groups in to have a go.
- After a great start to Kuku’s PolArt performances, we had the 29th at leisure around Melbourne.
- Ahead of me and the group was another long day in the theatre with 2 more rehearsals and performances being completed at the Clock Tower Centre in Moonee Ponds. Here we performed ‘Opoczno’ and my favourite ‘Mazur’ which consists of a waltz by the ladies, followed by a march by the men and a classy, opulent choreo with our partners. Thankfully no major hiccups!
- After a successful night of dancing plus some pre-drinks, I headed to Crown with some of the crew for an after-party with fine company from various dance groups making it a fun night.
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day
- Possibly as a reward for my great performance in Mazur dance, I was one of only 2 in the group allowed to sleep in, virtually having a free day at leisure, which was a great opportunity to catchup with Sharon, James & Tarsilla. I first met Sharon and Tarsilla at a snowmobile tour in 2012 on an Icelandic glacier where a snowfight had begun once we noticed eachother’s Aussie accents! Sharon, James & I have caught up since then, though it was great to see Tarsilla join us, 3 years is a long time between chats!
- NYE means NYE Ball and this was held at the Atrium of the Flemington Racecourse where PolArt Ambassador Magda Szubanski happily mingled and joined guests for countless selfies while dancing the night away to live music and toward that all-important countdown. It was a fun night, but no lucky kiss yet again, so the new year is doomed!!
- New Year’s Day was laid-back with a small rehearsal while the rest of the day was at leisure with a delicious lunch of woodfired pizzas at Mercadante on Lygon Street. Highly recommend this pizzeria and my previous visit in 2010 yielded what is still the most delicious pizza I have ever eaten – and I have eaten LOTS of them! Later that evening we had a movie night with our crew and our good friends from Oberek (Hobart) who are also staying at IH.
2nd January 2016
- Today we had our first look at the large stage and auditorium of the Hamer Hall at the Victorian Arts Centre and it’s pretty epic! Here we rehearsed our final dance ‘Wianki/Kupałnocka’ followed by Winko – song and dance about Wine and Vodka, what’s not to love. This is definitely the Kuku group’s favourite dance, both lively, theatrical and introduced onto stage as a beautiful choreo with the ladies performing Wianki. Feedback from other dance groups was “wow” which is why I’m staying in tonight to heal from a hip-injury at a dance workshop today, while most others in the Kuku and a few other groups are out and about through Melbourne’s bars.
- What’s next: Preparation for the big Gala concert tomorrow and a finale performance where all 700+ performers will dance on stage – and I can’t afford to make a mistake at the front row!
Two funny points come to mind from the past few days:
- Ironing & Naps the common theme of PolArt across all the groups – ok and Vodka
- No matter what happens on stage, mishap, injury, wardrobe malfunction… just keep going!