Serbian Traditions – National Folk Dance

Serbian folk dancing is an old tradition and a strong element in the Serbian culture. The traditional dances are of social function, bringing the community and families together at various important days such as weddings, Christmas or Easter. The dances can be part of performance art (theatre, i.e. part of historical events) and social life. Kolo is the traditional collective folk dance, where a group of people (usually several dozen, at the very least three) holding each other by the hands or around the waist, dance, ideally in a circle, hence the name. There is almost no movement above the waist. Each region has at least one unique kolo. The dance is accompanied by instrumental two-beat music with the same name, made most often with an accordiaon, but also with other instruments: frula (traditional kind of the flute), tamburica, sargija, zurla, gajde, tapan, or harmonica.

During centuries, Serbian folklore has evolved and it has had significant influence on originality of folk creations. This is easily recognized in songs that have the same text but are, on the other hand, interpreted differently in different ambient.

The same situation goes for folk dances: traditional “kolo” today differs from the one danced fifty years ago. The names, however, didn’t undergo any changes. The spirit of people, the strongest initiator of all ideas in art, is never still. People will certainly always create their art, and incorporate their ethnicities and distinct features in it.

The exact period from which certain dances and songs date can’t be determined, but they started being collected by the end of the 19th century. Hence it can be assumed that some of them originate from the 18th century.

Folk dances and songs aren’t the product of composers, instead they were written down directly by folk people. Serbian folklore is various when it comes to the rhythm, dance steps, way of dancing, music and folk costumes.

Music folklore is preserved in tradition and it depicts the folk art of previous epochs. Serbian national music can be divided in vocal, vocal-instrumental and instrumental music. Vocal music is scientifically most interesting, while pure instrumental music mostly accompanies folk dances, even though it also coexists independently.

Folk dancing in Serbia is very popular. There are hundreds of folk ensembles in the whole country. Serbia even has the national enseble called “Kolo” which represents Serbian tradition, customs and dances in the country and abroad. The entire ensemble is professional, meaning they are financed form the state budget. Serbian folk dancing, being so live and rhytmic, always wins first awards on international folk dancing festivals.



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