Magda Jhagru Artistic Director
As a first-generation Canadian, I’ve made it my mission to learn about my culture and help create a path for future generations. As a child, my parents signed me up for Saturday morning Polish lessons and Catechism class, took me to a Polish church every Sunday and enrolled me in the School of Dance SPK ISKRY. Learning about Polish traditions, reading and writing in Polish and learning the language were staples in our household. The most influential and memorable experiences on my journey to learning about my roots stem from Polish dance. I remember being a young child and watching in awe as the senior dance ensemble performed at Folklorama. The colourful costumes and lively music were so captivating that my friends and I couldn’t take our eyes off the performers. Never would I have thought that it would be me on that stage one day.
I started dancing with the School of Dance SPK ISKRY when I was six. At the age of 17, I enrolled in the senior dance ensemble. Throughout the years I took on the role of Costume Coordinator and later as the President of the Ensemble. There has always been a special place in my heart for the group with whom I’ve shared the stage. We have grown to become a family and have shared great memories while performing for audiences in the USA, Canada, and Poland. A beautiful memory that I have is going for dinner as a group of 40 members to a traditional karczma in Kraków. We did this before participating in a week long festival with groups from all over the world. Very few people get to travel with so many close friends, and many of us have done it more than once.
When the opportunity to become Director of SPK ISKRY came up in 2019, I felt it was a natural fit. My love that has grown for this form of cultural preservation was undeniable and it has always been a big priority in my life. It is incredibly humbling to have over 40 individuals from all walks of life gather weekly and put their trust in me to teach them about our Polish heritage through song and dance. I am incredibly lucky to have a husband who supports me and helps me make my dreams a reality. I hope to see my two daughters proudly polka, waltz, and oberek with SPK ISKRY one day.
While the costumes, makeup, and smiles look effortlessly beautiful on stage, the work that is put in all year round is the foundation of these great performances. Muhammed Ali highlights this importance, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses- behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. Similarly, I will continue to challenge our dancers and show them the hidden spark that shines in each and every one of them.