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History - Croatian dance

The circle dance (kolo) is one of the basic forms of Croatian folk dance. The circle dance is regarded as the oldest form of dance, and can be seen as an expression of community, especially in village life.

DANCE FROM DUBROVNIK - RAGUSAN DANCE THE CIRCLE DANCE (KOLO) IS ONE OF THE BASIC FORMS OF CROATIAN FOLK DANCE. THE CIRCLE DANCE IS REGARDED AS THE OLDEST FORM OF DANCE, AND CAN BE SEEN AS AN EXPRESSION OF COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY IN VILLAGE LIFE. THROUGHOUT A LARGE PART OF CROATIA RIGHT UP UNTIL WORLD WAR II, THE KOLO HAD BEEN THE CENTRE OF VILLAGE SOCIAL LIFE. THE KOLO AS A DANCE BECAME A TOOL FOR SOCIAL GATHERING, AND WAS OFTEN THE MAIN PLACE AT WHICH YOUNG WOMEN AND MEN COULD GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER. WITH MANY DANCES, THE SINGING OF JOCULAR VERSES DURING THE PERFORMANCE SERVED AS A WAY TO EXPRESS FEELINGS OR TELL A STORY. BY SINGING, MOVEMENT, AND GESTURES ONE COULD EXPRESS WHAT WAS PROSCRIBED IN ORDINARY SPEECH. MANY YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN USED THIS AS AN EXCUSE FOR COURTING AND TEASING ONE ANOTHER. OCCASIONS WHERE PEOPLE MAY HAVE PERFORMED A KOLO OUTDOORS ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS INCLUDE HARVESTS, WEDDINGS, AND RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS TO HONOR A SPECIAL SAINT. MORE RECENTLY, THE DANCES ARE PERFORMED AT WEDDINGS, CONCERTS, FESTIVALS OR ETHNIC CELEBRATIONS.  EUROPEAN DANCES BECAME POPULAR IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE COUNTRY SUCH AS THE POLKA IN THE NORTH AND THE FURLANA IN ISTRIA, DUE TO GERMAN/AUSTRIAN AND ITALIAN INFLUENCES RESPECTIVELY.  DANCE FROM DUBROVNIK - RAGUSAN DANCE

Dance from Dubrovnik - Ragusan dance

Throughout a large part of Croatia right up until World War II, the kolo had been the centre of village social life. The kolo as a dance became a tool for social gathering, and was often the main place at which young women and men could get to know each other. With many dances, the singing of jocular verses during the performance served as a way to express feelings or tell a story. By singing, movement, and gestures one could express what was proscribed in ordinary speech. Many young men and women used this as an excuse for courting and teasing one another. Occasions where people may have performed a kolo outdoors on special occasions include harvests, weddings, and religious celebrations to honor a special saint. More recently, the dances are performed at weddings, concerts, festivals or ethnic celebrations.

European dances became popular in certain parts of the country such as the polka in the north and the furlana in Istria, due to German/Austrian and Italian influences respectively.
 

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