Irena Turska (1912–2012) – critic, ballet historian and theorist. In 1943 she graduated from the J. Mieczyńska School of Rhytmics and Artistic Dance in Warsaw. She developed her dance and ballet knowledge studying with S. Głowacki and at Ecole Supérieure d’Etudes Chorégraphiques in Paris (1964–1966, scholarship from the French government). In1946 – 1948 she gave dance history classes at the State Drama School (PWST) in Łódź. In 1947 she began to publish. She wrote reviews and features on dance and ballet culture in Poland for Warsaw daily papers („Życie Warszawy”) and cultural magazines („Pamiętnik Teatralny”, „Teatr”) and from 1957 also for „Ruch Muzyczny”. At the same time she worked as an artistic and ballet supervising inspector of the General Directorate of Theatres, Operas and Philharmonics. In 1951–1953 she was a member of the State Verification Commission, founded by the Ministry of Culture and Art to regulate the issues of professional certification of dancers employed in culture institutions across the country. In the mid-50’s she started to work with PWM Edition, creating monographs and compendia on the history and theory of dance art. She also created ballet scenarios for Polish opera theatres (including Teatr Wielki in Warsaw). In 1972–1989 she lectured dance history and aesthetics in Evening Studio for Dance Teachers at the Faculty of Musical Education of the Academy of Music in Warsaw. She created dance history textbooks for the Studio and for other ballet schools; they were published by the Central Pedagogical Centre for Art Education. From 1996 she worked with the Polish Section of the European Dance Research Information Directory. In 2002 she was granted an award from the Minister of Culture for her contribution to ballet studies and promotion of ballet art in Poland and in 2012 – a Gold Medal for Merit to Culture „Gloria Artis.” In 2012 she was also granted a medal from PWM Edition “Ad honorem”.
She is the author of numerous important books on dance, being one of the first trustworthy works in this field of art which were available to the Polish readers: What is ballet (1957), A short history of dance and ballet (1962, 5th edition 2010), Around dance (1965), Ballet guidebook (1st edition – 1971; 2nd edition – 1997); Almanac of Polish Ballet (1983) and Meeting the art of dance (2000). Her considerable achievements include also articles on dance and reviews of ballet performances.
Works — Russian and Soviet Ballet, «Opera Słowiańska», booklet 1, Warsaw 1950; What is ballet, “Pan Twardowski” by L. Różycki (review of the ballet music by W. Bogdana) and P. Tchaikovsky’s Ballets, «Small Ballet Library» vol. 1, 2 and 4, Cracow 1957, 1959 and 1981; L. Wójcikowski, with J. Iwaszkiewicz and A. Szyfman, Warsaw 1958; Brief history of dance and ballet, Cracow 1962, 1983; Dance in Poland, Warsaw 1962; Around dance, Warsaw 1965; Dance is fun, dance has stories, Warsaw 1970; Ballet Guidebook, Cracow 1973, extended editions 1989, 1997, 2011; The history of contemporary dance, Warsaw 1980; Almanac of Polish ballet 1945–1974, Cracow 1983; Meeting the art of dance, Cracow 2000; Life danced through. L. Wójcikowski, Cracow 2006, Analysis of dance movement according to Jooss–Laban–Leeder method and Textbook for teachers of dance history, 2 parts, «Auxiliary materials for teachers of art schools and centres», booklet 63, Warsaw 1963 and booklets 158 and 184, Warsaw 1976 and 1981; numerous articles in magazines including: „Nowa Kultura”, „Przegląd Kulturalny”, „Stolica”, „Pamiętnik Teatralny”, „Teatr”; entries in PWM Encyclopaedia of Music, Encyclopaedia of Music edited by A. Chodkowski and other PWN’s dictionaries as well as in : Ballet. Encyclopaedia edited by J. Grigorovitch, Moscow 1981; translations: J. Rey Dance, its development and forms, Warsaw 1958; J.G. Noverre Theory and practices of dance, Wrocław 1959; scenarios for ballets: Królewski błazen, music by T. Kiesewetter, choreography by H. Tomaszewski, Bytom 1958, Stańczyk, choreography by W. Borkowski, Bytom 1964; Mazepa, music by T. Szeligowski, choreography by S. Miszczyk, Warsaw 1958; ballet for children Pinocchio, music by J. Szajna–Lewandowska, choreography by M. Mróz, Wrocław 1964; scenario for educational film Dance, with K. Gordon, directed by K. Gordon, 1959.