Oberek – named after a lively Polish dance - was formed in 1986 by members of the Polish community in Edmonton in order to cultivate Polish culture and heritage. Its main founder was Teresa Chipiuk who felt there was a need to form such a group for our children. The group thrived due to efforts of its early supporters which included devoted parents Maryla Hasek, Janina Kruszelnicka, Krystyna Cebula and Mazena Gajewska among others. Today, the group is thriving thanks to support and dedication of many parents and the guidance of our talented Artistic Director of 20 years - Ela Kapica.
Ela Kapica has been our Artistic Director and Choreographer since 1991. She has a lifetime of experience as a dancer and instructor both in Poland and in Canada. Since her childhood she had a passion for dance, which she continues to share with our dancers in Oberek and Lowicz.
Our dancers, who range in age from 5 to 16, learn a variety of national and regional dances of Poland. The group’s repertoire includes the following dances: Krakowiak, Polka, Oberek, Rzeszow and Kujawiak. The group also possesses beautiful, custom made costumes from the following regions of Poland: Kujawy, Rzeszow, Krakow, Slask and Opoczno.
Throughout the years, the group has shared their love of Polish folklore with numerous audiences. The group has regularly performed at Edmonton festivals such as the Heritage Festival or the St. Albert International Children’s Festival. We continually enliven many Polish cultural gatherings such as church picnics and yearly celebrations as well as bring joy to the elderly by performing at hospitals and nursing homes. Some of Oberek’s most memorable performances were at the 2006 Peach Festival in Penticton, BC; 2008 and 2011 Disney Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida; and at the 2009 International Children’s Festival of Polish Folklore in Iwonicz, Poland.
Oberek continues to offer our children a fun and positive environment where they can foster their knowledge and experience of Polish heritage. Our dancers make lasting friendships and share unforgettable memories of traveling and performing in front of applauding crowds. After years of dancing, we can observe significant growth in our children’s confidence and self- discipline. Young children learn the basic steps, rhythm and develop grace and poise. They often learn Polish songs to accompany the dances.
On October 1st, 2011, Oberek celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a beautiful banquet at the Polish Hall, where we hosted our dancers, their parents, our friends and supporters, including many local Polish organizations.