Dancers of ŁowiczanieRead the following biographies to find out more about our member's dance experience; where they work and go to school, and what their interests are.
Basia Suroz graduates from University of San Francisco in May 2012 with a B.A in Environmental Studies and a minor in Legal Studies, and looks forward to attending law school in the near future. She spent the fall of 2011 in Rome, which focused her goal to pursue a career in International Environmental Law. In addition to her weekly activities with Łowiczanie, Basia volunteers with the SF Presidio Trust in Habitat Restoration and travels to Sausalito assisting with sick and orphaned seals at the Marine Mammal Center, as well as with the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club. Łowiczanie continues to claim a special place in her heart, and having danced with the group since 2006 and Basia hopes and plans to continue for many years to come. She was named Social Director for the group beginning in Winter, 2012.
Brennan Kreller, a dancer and choreographer, began his training and performance career in his native New Orleans, where he trained in classical ballet and with character Masters. He danced with Komenka, a top local folklore company before moving to California in 1992. He has danced for the Mountain Play (Fiddler on the Roof), choreographed for the North Bay Opera Company (Eugene Onegin, 2006), and has performed with, among others, Westwind International Folk Ensemble, Neva Russian Folk Ensemble, Wan Chao Dancers, and Khadra International Folk Ballet. Brennan, who formerly served as Łowiczanieâ€™s Assistant Artistic Director and ballet master, returned to the Ensemble in 2009.
Krysia Smolen has performed with the Łowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble for thirteen years, and chaired the Łowiczanie Board of Directors for four. She has participated in a number of concerts and festivals in the Bay Area and beyond, including the 2008 and 2011 Rzeszów Festivals in Poland. Krysia has also appeared with the Pocket Opera in The Haunted Manor, Halka and La Traviata. Although most of her dance experience lies in Polish folkdance, other types of dance she has performed include Bhangra and hip hop.
Geoffrey Cant, a native of Palmerston North, New Zealand, was wooed to San Francisco in 2010 in order to work for a high-tech gaming company. He began dancing in the Bay Area with the Swing teams at UC Berkeley, followed by the Blues and (last but not least) Łowiczanie for traditional Polish dancing. Geoff not only dances - he learned to navigate the tricky Polish alphabet and secured a solo singing part in the Biale Podlasie suite and a place with the Łowiczanie Carolers. He currently pursues his singing interests with weekly karaoke sessions. His first trip to Poland was as a participant in the 2011 Łowiczanie international performance tour.
Gosia Suroz is a first-generation Polish-American who is fluent in her parents' native language and travels frequently to Poland for long family visits. Gosia attends Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland and is looking forward to her first year of University in the fall of 2012. With Łowiczanie since the spring of 2010, Gosia danced in the 2011 SF Ethnic Dance Festival, and on tour in Poland in July, 2011. She enjoys playing Varsity Lacrosse for her high school.
Phillip Kosiara, a native of Michigan now living in Pleasant Hill, is a trained Chemical Engineer (Michigan Tech University) who has a passion for three things: sports; dance; and pizza and anything wrapped in bacon (okay it's actually four things). As a performer with Łowiczanie Polish Folk Ensemble, Phil has used his athletic prowess to master various techniques of Polish mountain dances. Phil was a cast member of Pocket Opera's Halka, and toured with Łowiczanie for his first-ever European and Polish visit in July, 2011.
Adam Kodzis, was born in the US, but travels frequently to the Baltic sea coast of Poland (Gdansk) from where his parents both hail. Adas began dancing as a student at the John Paul II Polish Language School of the East Bay, and has honed his talents for performance as an ensemble member and soloist since 2009. Adam was a cast member of The Pocket Opera production of Halka in 2010, and when not dancing with Łowiczanie or his high school dance group, he pursues a passion for rapping. While on tour with Łowiczanie in Poland in 2011, he presented an original rap for the Ensemble's daily tour blog, and has performs his raps at a number of public events and contests.
Karen Oakley has a background in dance and ballet from childhood through college (she is an alumna of Stanford University). She has danced for a number of local ethnic dance performing ensembles: Westwind International Folk Ensemble; Neva Russian Folk Ensemble; Collage/Presidio Dance Theater; the Wan Chao Dancers. Karen has performed in numerous international dance festivals and venues throughout the world including Kovpritschitsa, Bulgaria, the Bursa, Turkey CIOFF Festival, the Wisla, Poland CIOFF Festival, in various Festivals in Hungary and in Zagreb, Croatia, as well as at home in the Hollywood Bowl and on tour throughout the USA. Karen joined Łowiczanie in 2009, and performed nearly the entire active repertoire her first season.
Katarzyna Rostkowska moved to California in 2007 to attend Stanford University as a doctoral candidate in Environmental Engineering. A native of Connecticut, Kasia began dancing at the age of 6 with the local Polish dance group, "Gwiazdeczki," and decided she wanted to continue that activity while in the Bay Area. Besides practices and performing with the Ensemble, Kasia also enjoys dancing salsa rueda, doing yoga, cooking/baking, and finding any excuse to travel.
Ania Gudelewicz, a native of the U.K., now lives with her husband in San Francisco where she also works as an Architect. Ania has been dancing with Lowiczanie since her arrival in the Bay Area, and formerly danced with a Polish ensemble in her native England.
Julia Kite, who has lived and studied in Chicago, New Your City and London, England, is now a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley in Sociology with an emphasis on urban regeneration. Throughout her studies, Julia has made time in her schedule for Polish traditional dance; she also performed with the Polish-American Dance Company based in Brooklyn, NY, and now Łowiczanie with whom she also performed on tour in Poland in 2011. She presently lives in San Francisco.
Aleksander Poppe, born near Warsaw, Poland, moved at a young age to the United States. He began dancing with Łowiczanie five years ago, while a student of Film at UC Berkeley, and remained a member of the Ensemble after his graduation. Aleks has traveled with the group throughout California, and enjoys researching the various styles and dances that the group presents. In addition to his dancing, Aleks is an avid cyclist.
Witold Dudzinski has been a Polish and Russian folk dancer for over 39 years, first in Southern California and since 1982 in the Bay Area and has toured professionally throughout the western United States. Witold has also appeared with North Bay Opera (Eugene Onegin) and Pocket Opera(Strasny dwor; Halka). When not dancing Witold enjoys Fox News, and making Ukrainian hand puppets.
Ryszard Drelich has danced with the ensemble for over ten years. He has participated in the Ethnic Dance Festival in San Francisco and countless other shows around the Bay Area. In his spare time, Rysiek enjoys hang gliding, parachuting and other death defying sports which do not include a safety net.
Mary Kay Stuvland
Mary Kay Stuvland is the group's Artistic Director and Choreographer as well as a dancer, for a more in depth biography, check out the board member's page.
Elzbieta Zienczuk, born and raised in Poland, moved to California in 2003, first residing in the State's capitol, Sacramento. She joined Łowiczanie in November 2010 and enjoys everything that comes with Łowiczanie, especially dancing, performances, and her sweet, frolicking fellow dancers. She loves traveling, salsa (not the one on a burrito), cooking, and painting. Ela also serves on Łowiczanie's Board of Directors, and is an active member of the SF-Polskis.
On Leave Dancers of Łowiczanie
Kelly Nabaglo, a resident of Roseville where she is an active member of the Roseville Polish American Club, travels the longest distance to attend weekly rehearsals with the ensemble. A student at Woodcreek High School, she is also a Varsity tennis player, and a dedicated member of the Speech and Debate Team, with whom she has competed in both northern and southern California. Kelly began dancing with Łowiczanie in spring of 2010 and traveled with the Ensemble for the 2011 international performance tour in Poland.
Alexander Hadas is an avid dancer. Along with dancing in Łowiczanie, Alex is classically trained in ballet and jazz.
Past Dancers of Łowiczanie
( aka Lolo)
Gosia Wojciechowska-Kapusta, Waldemar Kapusta