Saturday, April 23, 2016

The "Flavors" of Croatian Kolo

The description of right lines and circles, upon which geometry is founded, belongs to mechanics. Geometry does not teach us to draw these lines, but requires them to be drawn.
Isaac Newton

The kolo is a dance very popular in Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia. Kolo means "circle" or "wheel" and the dance is often done in a circle.

Today's post features kolos from Croatia, and as you will see, not all of them are circles. Some are done in lines, which are also geometric figures. It also depends on the number of dancers in the group.You usually need at least 5-6 people to do a circle dance.

Video #1 is the dance Slavonkso Kolo, from the Slavonia region of Croatia (not to be confused with Slovenia or Slovakia). The performers are the Dunav group from Vukovar.

The dance starts at 0:42 after a short slideshow of Vukovar.  In the video there are many dancers in folk costumes and a large tamburitza orchestra.  Tamburitza ensembles are very popular in Croatia (and all over the world - see Croatian Diaspora).

The dancers start in one large circle, then two circles, one male and one female. Afterwards, the circle breaks and the line goes into a "S" shape, into a a circle again, and finishes with a line. Geometry takes on some interesting forms in Croatia :)  Notice the squares on the floor!

There is a call and response in the song.  Listen for it at 1:18 and 2:24.

Video #2  is the dance song Nabrala je.  The lyrics are provided so you can sing along, and if you need a translation you can find one here (in German). It is about a young woman gathering strawberries and flowers for her sweetheart.

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you will recognize the Dunav group from Jerusalem, Israel.  There are a number of folk ensembles from the Balkans (or connected with Balkan music) named Dunav. The reason for this is that Dunav is the word for Danube, the River of Many Names in several Slavic languages.

There are two Balkan dance groups in Israel, the other is Balkanitsa.

Video #3 is Malo Kolo.  Since there are only two dancers, this one's in a line.  This is a more complicated dance than the previous two, with some fancy footwork, and it's accompanied by tamburitza music but no singing.  By the way, this is the Croatian version: there is also a dance with same name from Serbia.

If you enjoyed this you may also like:

Crazy Croatian Dance Songs

The River of Many Names Part Six: The Danube in Croatian Folk Songs

What's in a Name Part Two: Croatian Confusion

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