Poland, Day 4 (Buses to the Birthplace of Solidarity)

The fourth day of MBA's Poland tour took the dancers from not far from the Ukrainian border to the north of Poland on the Baltic sea.  Their destination was Gdansk, the country's largest seaport and the birthplace of the Solidarity movement - the first independent labor union in a Soviet-bloc country whose strength led to the fall of communism in Poland at the end of the 1980s.

Lunch time in Warsaw

Traveling by city bus, taxi, and intercity bus, the group went from Swidnik to Lublin, Lublin to Warsaw, and finally to Gdansk.  With various starts and stops and a nice lunch in Warsaw, it took them 12 hours to make the 6 hour trip.

On the bus again...

The dancers will stay in Gdansk for 4 days, so they should have plenty of time to recover from the long journey.


Poland, Day 3 (MBA's first European performance)

By Assistant Artistic Director, Lorna Hernandez Jarvis

The language of dance is truly universal. Our first performance in Poland took place today.  Even though we do not speak Polish many of the dancers from studios near Swidnik (particularly the younger ones) kept coming to our students to practice their English skills, but at the end the best way to communicate was to use dance and sign language!. Our dancers got many “you are good!”, “I love you”, “good dancer!” comments from their fans!. For our first performance we danced, Concerto in Modo Antico, La Vivandiere, Awakening of Flora, Copland trio and Song for Viola.  The theater was almost full with approximately 300 people in the audience.  The audience seemed to really enjoy the performance. At the end of the performance our dancers each received a bag with souvenirs from the city of Swidnik.    


Four of our dancers received a surprise special invitation today! Mr. Eduard Balidze and his wife Anna Kipshidze invited them to dance two of the variations from Don Quixote with them in the next four performances!. Maria and Corinne will perform on May 19 in Wejherowo and Warsaw (May 21), and Julianna and Breanna will perform in Gdansk (May 20) and Bialystok (May 23). This was a special honor for them to dance with renowned ballet stars in Poland!. This was even more special since both Edward and Anna, along with Mr. Makhateli will coach them for the performances.  Ana will provide two tutus to make this possible. We are all very excited about this opportunity. Mr. Bablidze and Ms. Kipshidze will dance the pas de deux, variations and coda, and our dancers will do their variation between the pas de deux and their variations and Coda.    

At the end of today’s performance we had a wonderful dinner at a local restaurant, walked back to our hotel, and rested so we can get ready for a full day of travelling tomorrow. We are heading to the Baltic sea! Looking forward to the next phase of our tour.

Poland, Day 2

By Assistant Artistic Director, Lorna Jarvis

Waiting for (something?)...

A second very busy day in Poland!.  Our dancers got to watch a regional dance competition for ages 5-16, including, ballet, contemporary and jazz. There were many dance schools from the area that participated. Lorna was asked to be one of the judges in the competition. The competition was from 9:00AM-12:30 PM . This was a surprise for Lorna but she took to the task and the organizers seem very pleased and appreciative of her participation in this way. At 1:00 our dancers got to take class on stage while all the competition participants and their parents watched (more than 300 people!). After the class, there was a 2 our workshop in which Eduard Bablidze and his wife Anna, rehearsed/performed The Sleeping Beauty pas de deux, and little red riding hood and the Wolf. Also Breanna and Gabe got to rehearse on stage the duet choreographed by Mr. Bablidze (see video clip below). Eduard himself ran the rehearsal as the entire audience watch. After the workshop was the award ceremony for the competition.  Many of the competition participants came to ask for our dancer’s autographs, and were asking: “When can we dance like MBA dancers?” Parents of the competitors asked Lorna questions about the amount of training our students go through and everyone seem to be very impressed and appreciative of MBA dancers. We left the theater at 5:00 went back to the hotel to rest for a few minutes, then went for a long walk around the town. Got back to the hotel had dinner and then it was time for bed since class tomorrow is at 8:00 AM with a performance at 11:00 AM. Our first full performance will be tomorrow and the dancers are really eager to show their talent in Swidnik.

Poland Tour, Day 1 (Planes, Buses, and Automobiles)

By Assistant Artistic Director, Lorna Hernandez Jarvis

Cast of Characters:
Nik, or Nikoloz: MBA Artistic Director, Nikoloz Makhateli
Darla: MBA Board Member, Pianist, and chaperone
Alissa, Breanna, Corinne, Maria, Ashley, Gabe, Natasha, Evelyn, Julianna: MBA Students

Poland, Day 1

Near the hotel in Swidnik, Poland

Our Poland tour started full of adventure!. Half of our group was selected for TSA or  pre-screening, which made going through security a lot easier and faster. The second  half though, had to go through the regular security line, and they made it to our  departure gate 15 minutes before boarding!. Those of us who made it to gate 2  hours earlier had time to eat and relax. Corinne decided to do a little barre while  waiting for our flight, which led to all kinds of reactions from people at the gate. NIk  was amused by a woman who grimaced in pain every time Corinne lifted her legs  at full extension. Breanna joined Corinne as well. A young man and his father  approached Nikoloz, and asked about our school and where we were from. It was  fun conversation. The couple asked Nikoloz about training at our school.  So we were advertising and recruiting even at the airport.

We got off to London on time. The flight was long, and our dancers, talked, slept, ate  and stretched. When we got to London there was an assistant from the airline  waiting for our group to lead us to security and to our next flight. After panicking  twice for a lost boarding pass (found) and a lost passport (found), we rushed  through security one more time. Three people in our group were detained for bag  checks. The two dancers made it through fairly quickly, but Darla  still had to go  through bag check. Since we only had 40 minutes between flights Nik, Lorna and all  the dancers run through the terminal and Darla stayed behind. They were holding  the plane for us and we were the last ones on board. Except that they could not hold  the plane for Darla any longer so she stayed behind in London. She was able to catch  the next plane to Warsaw and arrives a few hours after the rest of the group. The second flight was pretty quiet and our dancers were very tired.

We finally arrived in Poland. When we got there our luggage did not make it. Not a  single one of our 13 pieces of luggage made it.! We had to speak to an agent of  British airways, and they told us that the bags should arrive in the next flight  (probably the same flight that Darla was in. Because of the delays with the luggage,  the bus that Eduard had arranged for us left the airport and did not wait for us. We  finally connected with Eduard, he was able to speak to an agent of British Airways  and they are working on getting our luggage to us tonight.  

End of a long day...

Once that was taken care of, Eduard told us to get on three separate taxis. We got to  the place Eduard told the driver but there were no other taxis or Eduard!. After a  couple of phone call we found everyone and were all reunited. We then were driven  in the taxis for another 4 miles to the bus station. There we were told to get on a  public bus that would take us to Lublin. We got on the bus, and unfortunately, there  were no seats together so all the kids had to seat by themselves. After a 2+ hour  drive we got to Lublin bus station, where we changed buses to take us to Swidnik   (about 5 miles) and finally to our hotel for the night. We had dinner, had an  organizational meeting and then went for a very enjoyable walk around the town. I think we will all sleep well tonight! Looking forward to our first performance tomorrow!


Poland Tour Blogging

The trip begins...

Nine MBA students are on their way to Warsaw, Poland, to begin a 17-day tour which will take them to 6 cities in Poland and where they will participate in 8 performances.

Our hope is that the students and accompanying staff and chaperones (Mr. Makhateli, Mrs. Jarvis, and Mrs. Proseus) will be able to contribute blog posts as the tour progresses.


Today the group left the MBA studios headed for O'Hare airport in Chicago.  They will fly overnight to London and arrive in Warsaw mid-day on Friday the 13th (an auspicious day...).  They will stay the night in Warsaw and then travel to Siedlce on Saturday where they will have their first european performance at 7PM.

Stay tuned here.  There will be updates as the tour progresses.