Michal_KuleszaMichał Kulesza, born in 1867, was a disciple of Hipolit Meunier, Joseph Mendez and Rafael Grassi.  In 1905 he became a ballet-master at the Warsaw Opera.  A year later he staged a ballet Tadeusz and Zosia, the contents were based on [Adam] Mickiewicz’s Pan Tadeusz.  The ambitious idea of a purely Polish ballet performance, however, failed.  Staging that kind of ballet would require the cooperation of a good writer, musician, and stage designer.  Meanwhile the management of the theatre – for understandable reasons – was by no means concerned with the success of a purely Polish ballet.

Next Kulesza put on a ballet Sen after the ball and The Enchanted Forest and resumed ballets of the former repertoire, like Robert and Bertrand, La Fille Mal Gardée, Pan Twardowski and others. He was a director of the ballet at that time with outstanding pedagogy Jan Walczak, who also held the position of the manager of the ballet school.  In 1909 with Kazimierz Łobojko arrived from Petersburg involved there and put on ballets on the Warsaw stage Harlequin’s Million (a.k.a. Harlequinade) and The She Butterfly.  Then pupils of Walczak were prima ballerinas: Maria Pawińska, Waleria Gnatowska and Anna Gaszewska.

Maria Pawińska and Waleria Gnatowska enjoyed the great sympathy of the Warsaw audience.  Every their performance attracted crowds of spectators who didn't spare mentions to dancers for the theatre, giving them with flowers and gifts.  In 1913, discussing the premiere of the Szecherezada ballet, commentator of the “Morning Courier” (11 March) writes:  “Ms. Gnatowska was a central figure of the soirée who in dances and the mime game developed the fine arts, rich technology, and the elegance.”  In 1917, when Zajlich took out on the Warsaw stage large divertissement, commentator of the “Morning Courier” (4 December) writes:  "Our Prima Ballerinas, Waleria Gnatowska and Maria Pawińska, had twice the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities, and so Ms. Gnatowska temperament, grace and charm, and Ms. Pawińska spotless cleanness of the dance line and purity."  Speaking about the participation of the ballet soloists in the opera Carmen, this comment of 26 November 1917 is noted:  "Amongst a riot of colors two white soloists, Ms. Gnatowska and Pawińska, made a highly artistic impression."


  • Wysocka, Tacjanna. Dzieje baletu, PWN Warszawa, 1970, S. 419-420.