Friday, March 14, 2014

The "Flavors" of Serbian Kolo

Blessed are they who go around in circles, for they shall be known as wheels.

Today's post is about a dance much-loved in Serbia, the kolo.

The Serbs don't have a monopoly on the kolo because people dance it in Bosnia, Croatia, and Slovenia. These countries used to be part of a larger entity,  Yugoslavia, the place that brought us the Yugo, the car that didn't go. The country went the way of the car. May they both rest in peace.

Kolo means "circle"and it can also mean wheel. Not all kolos are danced in a circle, as you will see in the following videos. From what I've observed most groups do them in a line. Professional ensembles are more likely to dance them in an actual circle. Circles and lines, by the way, are geometric figures, which are very prominent in folk dances from Eastern Europe.

The first video is Ersko Kolo, an easy and fun dance, performed by the Tanzgruppe Schmelz from Vienna, Austria.

The next dance is a medley of three Serbian kolos, and judging from the stamping, the dances are probably of Vlach origin. The Vlachs were people of Romanian (Latin) ancestry, and they travelled all over the Balkans. They traditionally worked as shepherds, which explains their wandering ways.

This is another example of a Vlach dance from Serbia: Vlashko Kolo.

Kolo Koalition, a group from California in the USA, has many dances, including Serbian kolos, posted on their YouTube channel.  Prekid Kolo, best described as kolo interruptus, is related to another very popular Serbian dance, U Ε‘est.  Read the notes to find out why.

Finally, here's the Kolo Ensemble performing during a halftime show at an NBA basketball game in Canada.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

The "Flavors" of Serbian Cacak

The "Flavors" of Bulgarian Rachenitsa, Parts One and Two

The "Flavors" of Romanian Sirba

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