Bal Maskowy, a masquerade ball hosted annually by the Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble, transports guests to the royal Polish courts of the 17, 18 and 19th centuries. Under glistening chandeliers in the charming Grand Ballroom of downtown Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Club, this year’s event will commence with music, dancing and feasting on Saturday, February 9.
In 2017, PBS Milwaukee featured this event on an episode of 10thirtysix which focused on artistic director, Ada Dziewanowska, as she celebrated her 100th birthday at the ball (she just turned 102!).
With the charm of Old Warsaw, guests enter a mesmerizing time warp where the waltz is all the rage. Guests are encouraged to dress in what was once referred to as fancy dress (elegant masquerade costumes), but many enjoy wearing elegant vintage or updated formal wear. All guests are treated to their choice of decorated mask to get into a festive mood.
On February 9 the evening will begin with cocktails at 5:30 enjoyed along with elegant melodies of the Kunsmann piano and cello duet. A full four-course dinner (with three options) will be served while Chicago legend, Anthony Kawalkowski serenades guests tableside with his magnificent strings. Be ready with your table’s song request!
At 8 p.m. sharp guests will be warmly welcomed to the dance portion of the evening with the refined and traditional Polonez (Polonaise) by members of Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble. First performed by the dance ensemble and then followed with an invitation for all present to join, dancers snake around the ballroom, enjoying the grand opportunity to see and be seen. This is a graceful 17th century dance of the nobility which was adapted from an early favorite walking dance of peasant origins.
Kawalkowski, who has performed for international figures such as Saint Pope John Paul II, along with his seven piece orchestra lead the night of dancing. Guests are invited to step out to the lilting melodies of Kawalkowski’s violin and orchestra while mixing on the dance floor with Syrena members bedecked in beautiful and elaborate costumes.
In Summer 2019 Syrena will be performing in Poland for the 50th World Polish Folk Dance Festival in Rzeszów. In honor of the ensemble’s planned summer tour of Poland, it will entertain ball guests with a performance of Syrena on Tour, which includes songs, dances and costumes from various regions of Poland. Syrena’s current choreographer is Duane Tomka.
The evening will also feature: musical interludes performed by Kapela Syreny, coordinated by Slavka Tomka; an eclectic and appealing silent auction arranged by Nancy Rydell and Kate Josten; and an attractive raffle coordinated by Alicja Newell.
Late in the evening, guests are treated to Syrena’s famous European sweet table which features home baked pastries prepared by Syrena members. Dancing concludes at midnight. Free valet parking is available at the Wisconsin Club. Please contact the Syrena Polish Folk Dance Ensemble in order to receive an electronic invitation.
Attendance is by invitation only, please contact us for details.