The team was established at the Poznań University of Technology in 1973 on the initiative of Zbigniew Solak under the name of the Folk Dance Group RU SZSP of the Poznań University of Technology, but its history dates back to 1953, when Kazimierz Michalik, the only student of the Engineering School in Poznań from Podhale, at the instigation of his colleagues, founded a highlander team . It was probably the only group of this type in the Polish lowlands. It was popular both at home and abroad.
In 1970, after years of break, eight students of the Faculty of Civil Engineering formed a folk music group. The team was composed of: Tadeusz “Duży Tadzio” Cudziłło – manager, and Ewa Wojciechowska, Wiesław Duszeńczuk, Ryszard Grajewski, Janusz Grześkowiak, Marian Kałmucki, Henryk Maćkowiak and Kazimierz Misztal. The band’s repertoire included folk songs from all regions of Poland. He performed during student rallies and dance evenings at the “Sęk” club.
Shortly after, Zbigniew Solak joined the group, whose ambitions went beyond the band. In 1973 he founded a folk dance ensemble with a band. The band has performed in Poland and abroad, in Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, East Germany and West Germany. In 1979, the artistic management was taken over by Sławomir Pawliński. The first instructors were: Barbara Kurek – music director, Zbigniew Wawrzyniak – organizational manager and Jacek Marek – choreographer. Kazimierz Budzik supervised the musical arrangement. In 1982, the team was honored with the Golden Collective Badge of the SZSP.
Od 1984 roku, kiedy kierownictwo nad Zespołem przejęła Marzenna Biegała-Howorska, nosi on nazwę Zespołu Tańca Ludowego „Poligrodzianie”. W skład kadry Zespołu wchodzili kolejno kierownicy muzyczni: Bogdan Bard i Magdalena Wasińska, instruktorzy wokalu: Marian Wiśniewski i Paweł Łuczak oraz instruktorka tańca Renata Banaszewska.
As the oldest folk group in the student environment of the city of Poznań, it raised over 500 young dancers and musicians. Currently, the team consists of over 60 dancers and a 14-person band. They present national dances, rituals, customs and songs from all over Poland. The choreographies are based on consultations with outstanding regionalists, including Mirosław Bobrowska, Janina Foltyn, Alicja Haszczak, Janina Kalicińska, Janina Marcinkowa, Maria Romanowicz, Danuta Sury, Jan Brodka, Kazimierz Budzik, Bogusław Linette. The dancers perform in original costumes, and the music is arranged according to the instruments appropriate for a given region.
For many years, the ensemble has been one of the most active ambassadors of Polish culture abroad, visiting 68 countries around the world and traveling well over two million kilometers, often paving the way for Polish artists. “Poligrodzianie” gave concerts for UNESCO 4 times, they were guests of Pope John Paul II twice. They were invited to concerts by the mayor of New York, the King of the Kota Kinabalu region, the president of Malta or Nepal, the ministers of culture and tourism: Ireland, South Korea, China, Mexico, Venezuela, Turkey and Israel and many others.
They were the first to represent Poland at the annual congress of the representation of European Community regions in 1998 in Rennes. They have won a number of awards at home and abroad, including the most important ones: in 2012, the 1st prize at the Theater Olympics in India in the Folk category and the Folklore World Championship in 2015. They gave concerts for prisoners in the USA, on the Mongolian steppe, in the mountains of Nepal, Chile and Mexico, sometimes being not only the first Polish artists, but also the first Poles in these lands, on prestigious stages in Milan or Nashville, at Disneyland, or for an audience of over 30,000 in China.
They recorded programs for national television, among others in Sweden, Italy, Canada, Mexico, China and Serbia. They participated in such events as the EXPO in South Korea, Europada and the Christmas Fair in Frankfurt. The ensemble was decorated by the Minister of Culture with the “Ambassador of Polish Culture” and honored with a diploma for merits by the Marshal of the Wielkopolska Province. In 2013 and 2018, he received a commemorative award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage for his services.
For organizing the jubilee concert in 2013, he received the “The Best Creative and Artistic Folk Art Performance in Europe 2013” award. In 2014, he received the “Best in Poland” certificate from the president of the Hipolit Cegielski. From this year he is also the “Ambassador of Wielkopolska Culture”.
“Poligrodzianie” is not only a unit promoting Polish folklore on stage, but also conducting extensive educational activities. The team carried out over 1000 programs for children and school children from the Wielkopolska Region. He recorded a series of lectures for elementary and middle schools in Mazovia. He runs children’s and youth groups and the Folklore Academy. The band also supports the local community by giving and producing charity concerts for children and youth, including the disabled, and supports non-commercial events of other social organizations.