Polonaise a la Américaine
Cream, champagne, and class. The scene is dimly-lit, the music sultry, and the glasses full. Miami, Florida: a place of skyscrapers and sun, has been transformed into an atmosphere of royalty and rigeur, for one night.
(In photo: Lady Blanka with Ambassador Wilczek and Senator Anna Maria Anders with John Petkus, Honorary Consul of Poland in Las Vegas.
The American Institute of Polish Culture’s 45th Polonaise Ball entitled “Dream Designs, Bridging Times” honoured Polish architects and engineers and was held at Miami Beach’s Eden Roc Hotel on Saturday, February 4th, 2017. From near and far Polish-Americans and foreigners alike gathered round to share a night of charity, class and luxury.
The greetings and presence of the Polish-US Ambassador, Piotr Wilczek; Polish Senator, Anna Maria Anders; and the Mayor of Miami, Tomas Regalado were the perfect prologue leading up to the beautiful Polonaise dance by the members of the Polonaise Ball Committee. The program radiated both elegance and timelessness, living up to the Polonaise dance it was so carefully named after. The evening also saw performances by the Polish American Folk Dance Company from New York who performed traditional dances such as Mazur and the New Century Dance Company who presented an interesting New Age interpretive shadow dance. (In photo: Lady Blanka, far left, with ball sponsors)
The annual Gold Medal award, a title and privilege awarded to those who have made an impact in American society while holding on dearly to their Polish roots, was one of the key attractions in honour of this year’s theme. This year’s recipients were Dr. Krzysztof Palczewski for his breakthroughs in vision research and Dr. Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk for her environmental communal design. Also Zbigniew Jarosz was specially recognized for his outstanding accomplishments in contemporary design internationally and preservation of historical buildings in Poland. “Amicus Poloniae” title went to Ruby Bacardi for her efforts in promoting cooperation between Republic of Poland and the United States.
The origins of this elegant event are tied to the founder of the American Institute of Polish Culture (AIPC), Lady Blanka Aldona Rosenstiel, who started the organization in 1972 as a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation in the State of Florida. This year Lady Rosenstiel was honored with an Eagle Award from Michal Lisiecki, President of PMPG, Polish Media (weekly paper Wprost). The Eagle statuette, a symbol of Poland, is given to individuals or groups who have been exceptional contributors to Poland’s development. The awards continued into the Special Brunch the following day where Lady Rosenstiel was also added into the Polish Women’s Hall of Fame by Michigan’s The Piast Institute and it’s President dr Thad Radzilowski. (In photo, l-r: Maciej Koper, Josephine Siwko, Irena Sziler and Matt Tyrmand)
Through Lady Blanka Rosenstiel’s strong will to preserve Polish Culture, the organization has flourished into a scholarship fund, source of information, science, film, art, publication, and connection for Polish people in America and Abroad. Also The Institute, thru its effort and activity, brings Poland and Poles closer to Americans..
The International Polonaise is the foundation’s main fundraiser.
More information about the American Institute of Polish Culture can be found at www.ampolinstitute.org.
By Irena Sziler
In photo – l-r: Irena Sziler (Canada), Caroline Byczynski, George Byczynski, Aleksandra Gintrowska (singer from Poland) and Patrick Misiewicz.
Photo Credit: Anna Navas
Beata Paszyc and Lynn Schaefer of the American Institute of Polish Culture
Arleta Sziler with Countess Barbara Pagowski Cooper