A Warsaw theatre company have taken the spirit of UEFA EURO 2012 to the stage, with director Małgorzata Potocka telling UEFA.com: "Football and dancing have a lot in common."
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Football is drama, but in the Polish capital the drama is football too, with the Warsaw Sabat Theatre putting the action on stage in the all-singing, all-dancing Euro Football Show. The theatre's director Małgorzata Potocka told UEFA.com: "I felt that the EURO was so important for the whole of Poland that artists should promote it and celebrate it."
First opened in April, the Euro Football Show gained considerable inspiration from Potocka's friendship with Kazimierz Górski, the legendary coach of the Polish national team, and his players from that 1970s golden age, nicknamed the Eagles. "When I danced around the world, sometimes we met up somewhere abroad, and I have beautiful pictures and messages from Górski, who was coach of the millennium in Poland," she recalled.
The show features songs and dances for all of the finals contenders. "The rehearsals took quite a while because we had to learn songs for all 16 countries, which my group sings in their original languages," Potocka explained. "We also had to learn dances specific to each country. We have been preparing for about five months. It took all that time to prepare the choreography, costumes and arrangements.
"A show like this, where there are lots of costume changes and where the action changes very rapidly, is always a big effort for artists," she added. "It's all a bit like one big pop video, where arrangements and costumes change all the time. The hardest thing was learning folk dances: Irish dancing, can-can, flamenco and Portuguese fado were the biggest challenge for the ballet company and the soloists."
Polish fans can hear more familiar footballing hits like On The Green Grass The Ball Is Rolling or Three Friends On The Pitch, with the EURO-friendly programme also including the Portuguese song Ronaldo and Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca. "For the opening night, we invited some of the great Polish coaches and players: Jacek Gmoch, Henryk Kasperczak, Jerzy Engel, Stefan Majewski and many others," said Potocka. "It was a real football feast in the theatre and I was very pleased that our guests enjoyed the spectacle."
Fans are enjoying the show just as much. "I love theatre and I also like sport – this production has both," said Justyna from Warsaw. Simão from Portugal added: "If I was to compare this performance to a football match, I would say the tactics were very good and the skill was impressive. I really enjoyed watching it."
"Football and dancing have a lot in common," concluded Potocka. "What you need in both are very good fitness, good timing and a sense of rhythm. Both also evoke powerful emotions."