The Folk Dance Ensemble of Maria Curie-Sklodowska University was founded in 1953. Created and run by Stanisław Leszczyński, M. A., a senior lecturer at the University Centre for Physical Education and Sport, it is the oldest student representation art group of the MCSU.
The main goal of the Ensemble is to make students dance and sing and to sensitize them to the beauty of music, words, movement and gesture. This artistic ensemble of the University is currently comprised of about 300 members; to date, over 7000 students have been the group's member-dancers and remain its enthusiastic supporters About 40 former members conduct their own folk dance groups all over the country. The Ensemble is well-known in many Polish towns and villages as it has given 6500 concerts in most provinces of Poland. It has toured 260 times in 51 countries of five continents, and has given about 5000 concerts abroad.
So far, the Ensemble has recorded two LP albums (in France and Poland) audio cassettes and two compact discs. Its 20-hour-long repertoire consists of Polish national and regional dances, songs, and of many folk dances and folk melodies of other countries, all of which are performed in authentic costumes and original languages.
The dancers are accompanied by an excellent band. The Ensemble, in co-operation with the Karol Namyslowski Peasant Orchestra, has presented a full-length programmme at numerous national concerts, festivals in France, as well as went with the Peasant Orchestra on a 1-month long tour of the USA and Canada.
The most valuable international distinctions granted to the Ensemble are: the Silver Necklace at the 26th World Folklore Festival in Dijon, France, in 1969, the FVS European Award for achievements in popularization of folk culture, granted in 1973 (for the first time to a Polish group), the "Golden Artemis" at the Folklore Festival in Ephesus, Turkey, in 1977; the first award (eccelente), the gold medal and two cups for the Ensemble and the dancing duo in Gorizia, Italy, in 1984.
In 1988 the Ensemble represented Europe at World Folk Festival and in the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, where the members received 36 Olympic medals.
The Ensemble has become an honorary fellow citizen of two cities: Selçuk in Turkey and Rexburg in the USA.
Among numerous achievement s of the Ensemble one can find taking part in the artistic programme of EXPO'92 in Seville (Spain), EXPO 2000 in Hanover (Germany), EUROGATE 2000 in Taipei (Taiwan).
In 2001 the Folk Dance Ensemble of MCSU took part in one of the most important international tourism events, 10th International Tourism Fair HOLIDAY WORLD 2001, where the Ensemble presented its repertoire in the ballrooms of Royal Prague Castle for the ministers of numerous countries responsible for tourism, as well as for leaders of toutrism organisations and international associations from over 70 countries.
Apart from their artistic work, The Folk Dance Ensemble of MCSU is involved on permanent basis in charitable activities. The Ensemble works in cooperation with many organisations, such as the T. Goniewicz Foundation “Fundacja Pomocy Szkołom Polskim na Wschodzie”, providing help to Polish schools in the former Soviet Union.
On the Ensemble’s initiative a Polish-Dutch Foundation "Pod Wspólnym Dachem" (Under the Same Roof), was established. The foundation aims at helping the disabled and one of the results of its activity is building three Residential Care Homes in Kazimierzówka near Lublin. The opening ceremony took place during the jubilee celebration of the Ensemble.
Good relations of the Ensemble with Egypt resulted in establishing economic cooperation between the Lublin region and the Egyptian region of Fayoum.