By Alicja Karlic
February 10 marked the 10th Debutante Ball, which took place in the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy. The Presentation Ball is a wonderful opportunity for young people to receive formal presentation to family, friends and the Polish-American community. This is often their only opportunity to have access to such an event. On Saturday’s evening five young ladies were being presented to our society. These young girls are proud of their Polish heritage. With great enthusiasm and passion, they cultivate the Polish culture, traditions, and love of the country of their forefathers as Mrs. Christine Kryszko emphasized during the beginning of the presentation. Mrs. Kryszko is a Director for Polish Alliance Dancers for more than 35 years and for POLANIE. During her speech, she also noted that these young people achieved success scholastically and through their extra-curricular activities at school, in sports and in society.
Christine Kryszko recalled the history of the debutante ball:
“It was back in 1994 that I as a director, along with the board members of the Polish Alliance Dancers and Den. Pulaski Language Schools, decided to hold our first Presentation Ball, here at the American Polish Cultural Center. At that time, we presented 5 young adults – two young men and 3 young ladies. We strongly believed that our young people deserved to be acknowledged for their dedication and their love of Polish culture. What better way to achieve this than to hold a special event in their honor. And so, from that very first ball in 1994, we hold a Presentation Ball every two to three years to honor the fine young members of our dance and language schools. Since our first ball, we had the honor of presenting to our Polonia Society close to 100 young men and women.
Back in 1996, I saw a need to form a young adult group for young people who loved to dance and wanted to continue learning about their Polish heritage and culture. So, in the school year of 1996/1997, together with our first choreographer, Audra Cauchon, POLANIE Song and Dance Ensemble was formed. At that time, we only had 4 couples, Audra and her brother Allen, Brozda sister, Malgosia and Ania, Stefan and Iwonka Bankowski and my twins Ryszard and Stefan. Very determined, these young members encourage many of their friends to join POLANIE and in 1999, POLANIE for the first time traveled to Rzeszow, Poland to perform at the World Festival of Polish Folk Dancing and every three years since, POLANIE has traveled to Poland to participate at the Rzeszow festival.
Each festival is a memorable experience for each dancer, it is a great opportunity to meet young people from 5 different continents. And some of our dancers till this day have friends in many different parts of the world.
Each of our trips to Poland includes a sightseeing tour, so our dancers could experience first hand the beauty of Poland and further their knowledge of Polish culture. They have been from the Baltic coast to the Tatry Mountains and many cities in between. And so, POLANIE is looking forward to travel to Poland for the 8th time to participate in the 50th Anniversary of the World Festival in Rzeszow which will be held in July 2019”.
The evening began with a Royal Polonez and Formal Waltz, performed by debutants and former presentees and members of POLANIE. Among past presentees are very successful professional members of our Polish American community, such as attorneys, doctors, engineers, accountants, nurses, firemen, consultants, university professors, college instructors, IT technology specialists, veterinarians, psychologists, choreographers and many more. Some of former debutantes are now bringing their own children to Polish school and dance classes.
Co-organizers of the ball were Felicia Adamczyk, Natalia Jackson and Krysia Kudla. All of them spend many hours to make sure that the evening is a success. Mrs. Kryszko also addressed thanks to the members of the board: Teresa Jedruszko, Donna Kutylowski and Elizabeth Hassen; instructors and choreographer: Anna Ligendza and Paulina Kowalczyk.
We wish for Mrs. Kryszko to continue the long lasting tradition of the Presentation Ball, Polish Language School and dance groups.
Congratulations for the beautiful evening and thank you for the invitation.