English Section

Poland's polonaise dance makes UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List

05.12.2023 23:30
Poland's historic polonaise dance has been inscribed on the list of humanity's intangible cultural heritage, as compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Polonaise performed in Polands historic southern city of Kraków.
"Polonaise" performed in Poland's historic southern city of Kraków.PAP/Łukasz Gągulski

UNESCO made the decision at a session of its Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Botswana on Tuesday.

The UN agency approved the Polish government's request to include the ceremonial polonaise dance on the list of humanity's living heritage that should be safeguarded, according to officials.

Once a warrior’s triumphal dance, the polonaise was adopted by the Polish nobility in the 16th century, eventually becoming a dignified ceremonial dance, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Often used to open court balls and other royal functions, the dance was popular among all layers of Polish society, according to historians. 

The dance also inspired the music of composers such as Fryderyk Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, public broadcaster Polish Radio's IAR news agency reported.

The polonaise remains one of Poland's most taught dances and opens various events, including the traditional bal maturalny high school graduation ball.

The polonaise is Poland's sixth item on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which is designed to "ensure greater visibility of intangible cultural heritage" and to "increase awareness of its significance," according to the UN.

UNESCO has previously honoured Poland's nativity scene, Corpus Christitree beekeeping, falconry and rafting traditions.


Source: IAR, UNESCOEncyclopaedia Britannica