Rogalin Dance Troupe History
In the fall of 1969, a small group of PRCUA members got together in the interest of providing their own, as well as future generations of children with the opportunity to gain experiences and knowledge in Polish heritage, tradition, and customs through the medium of dance. Led by first director Edward Bzura and President Victor Targonski, the committee established PRCUA Society #162’s first dance group.
Angeline Cislo was hired to be the first dance instructor and held the position until May 1975. In September of 1975, Janet (Del Grosso) Vilag joined the group as the new dance instructor and continues today. Our instructors provide the children with experiences in Polish dance, song, traditions and language, as well as a variety of other dance styles.
Victor Targonski, held the position of director for the next couple of years. Dolores Kret took over as director until 1985. Helen Sawicki (1985 to 1993), Yvonne Burza (1993 to 1996), Andrea Schmidt (1997 to 1998), Linda Mikus (1998 to 2004), Kendra Akers (2004 to 2007) Michelle Stechschulte (2007 to 2017). Our current director (2017 to present) is Lisa Kret-Brandt. Past directors have also included Charles ‘Fritz’ Bosman, and JoAnn Holicki.
The dance program has undergone several changes as the years have passed. Classes and recitals were originally held on the first floor of the hall. We currently have a dance studio on the second floor and perform our annual recitals in auditoriums of local schools. Known as the PRCU Wyandotte Dancers for years, Rogalin Dance Troupe was selected as the group’s new official name in 1997. A contest was held for any dancer to name the group. Robert Vilag submitted the name Rogalin, which is a village in Poland located on a river that has the largest strand of oak trees in the country. The dance studio is located on Oak Street in Wyandotte.
While names and faces have changed over the years, the pride in our Polish heritage has remained our primary focus. We have become known for our quality performances at festivals, luncheons, dinners, parades, civic and church programs. Dancing at the Detroit Tiger’s annual Polish American Night, first at Tiger Stadium and now at Comerica Park, has been a tradition since the early years.
Through it all, memories and wonderful experiences have been the result. The instructors, directors and parents have supported and offered the guidance necessary for our youth to develop pride and love for their culture and heritage. Many of our former dancers are now proud parents of current dancers and understand the importance and value of instilling our heritage to their children. The pride of our heritage has and will continue to grow through the years to come.