Carol Coulson - for many years she was teaching Polish regional folk dances in PT 'Zgoda' , thanks Carol for your priceless contributions to our Polish community in BC
Carol Coulson was born in Halifax on April 27th. 1937, attended Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia and UBC. She performed with the Halifax Theatre Ballet Company, studied at the American School of Ballet, New York City, under the direction of George Balanchine. Graduated in Lublin, Poland, from, Polonijne Centrum Kulturalne Uniwersytetu, Marii Curie-Sklddowskiej,in Polish Folklore Choreography.
In October of 1965, Carol had the five children in her car, along with her little black Daschund called, Chester. She had just bought a load of groceries, and was heading home, when she passed a sign called, Polish Community Centre. Carol stopped the car and said to Gordon her eldest, to look after everyone, as she was just going in there for a minute to see if they had Polish Dance. She entered the Polish Community Center and “ Wow”, there were tons of people , children and teens, and a man on the stage directing a teen dance group. Carol waited until he stopped, and went up to him and introduced herself, as Carol Coulson, a classical Ballet teacher and Choreographer, and that in New York , she studied Polish dance with Yurek Lazovski. Mr. Roman Zurowski shook her hand as he introduced himself. He stated that Mrs. Wyspianka was no longer teaching the group and they needed a teacher /choreographer. Mr. Zurowski asked Carol to demonstrate a bit of Polish Dance Choreography. Carol said she could not stay, as she had her five little children and the dog in the car. Mr. Zurowski called out to the parents in Polish, and the next thing that happened was , all five children and the dog were brought into the hall. Mr. Zurowski asked the Polish group to demonstrate Krakowiak for Mrs. Coulson. Carol watched and then added a couple of lifts, spins and had the boys turning with the girls in a squat position. Mr. Zurowski liked what he saw, and Carol was hired, on the spot.
In March 2021 Canadian Polish Congress members I. Swiatczak and L. Narodowski had a pleasure to visit Carol in her studio. Below are pictures and stories captured during this visit.
Some of the teen dancers were: Jenina Borowska, Natalie Cholyka, Jan Eichel, Vince Eichel. Tom Faliszewski, Eddy Gacek, Raymond Grzybowicz, Christine Halpert, Terry La Belle, Zygmund Marsz, Anna Milczanowski, Liz Narodowski, Karol Reklinski, Zbyszek Tadelszow, Irene Wasilewski, Joanna Wojcik, Bozena Awsieukiewcz, Wanda Kolanko, John Zlomanczyk, Patti Reid, Kaz Borowski, Ed Wiktorowicz, Roman Zurowski. Carol became the teacher /choreographer for the, POLISH ZGODA “KARPARTY” Dance Group. Although the name of the Polish Dance Group changed many times, Carol was the dance teacher/choreographer for the next fifty years.
At that same time in the 60’s, there was a Polish Orchestra at Zgoda, under the direction of Dr. Kazan. The dance group and the orchestra had many performances together.. Some of the musicians were Stan Kazan, Ed Kazan, Bernice Kazan, Bernadette Nezel, Richard Patraszewski, Chris and Tony Kamensik.
Over the years, the group performed at many Folk Dance Festivals, such as Alaska, Seattle, to name a couple, and they won the Coquitlam Dance festival as the best performance at the festival and kept the trophy for a year.
In 2009, when Ludwick Tokarczuk was president of Zgoda, he presented Carol with a bouquet of 40 roses, at the Dorzynki Festival, for her 40th anniversary teaching at Zgoda, although it was her 40 years in 2005.
Carol, In 1974, 75, and 76, Carol went to Lublin ,Poland to take the three year summer Polish Folklore Dance Course at the “PolonIjne Centrum Kulturalno-Oswiatowe Uniwersytetu, Mari Curie-Sklodowskiej, ,and graduated in ’76.
In 2009, Carol took the, Polish Zgoda Friendship Society, “Polonez” Dance Group, to Palma Majorca for the, “World Folkdance Festival. In 2016 Carol took the Polish group, called “The West Coast Polish Heritage Dancers” to Phoenix Arizona, to perform at the Polish Cultural Festival.
Carol’s love of the Polish culture, the dances, music, costumes, and traditions, have become an integral part of her life, even today.
Over the many years, Carol has also taught at many Ethnic Centres, , dances , from Russia, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Italy, Armenia, Poland, and, at the Alpen Club, German Carnival dances. Carol continues to learn new dance Genrues, presently, “Flamenco”Dances. Carol is preparing to take her Grade 8th. International Flamenco exam. The Flamenco Adjudicators, are held in very high esteem, coming from either, Spain, England, Africa, or USA.
Carol is the Multicultural Chairman, and the Multicultural Examiner, for the Canadian Dance Teachers Association, BC Branch.
Carol taught Physical Education and Theatre at Little Flower Academy in the Elementary. In the 80’s and 90’s, Carol was a ski instructor for Whistler Ski School and Ski Esprit, and also taught skiing in Japan, for a season. Carol has produced the ,”Opening Ceremonies”, for the BC Summer Games, in Delta, Coquitlam, and Port Alberni.
Carol has Designed and made many of the Costumes for her shows, as well as Polish Costumes, such as, Men’s Krakowski Coats, and Girl’s Gorsets. She now has over 4,000 costumes . Carol paints in watercolour and acrylic. Carol raised five beautiful children, and has ten grandchildren and three great grandchildren.