Annual Summer School of Croatian Folklore Wraps Up

Every year the school covers one zone, this year it was highland (alpine) Croatia, with the audience at the closing show regaled with the dances and folk costumes of northwestern Croatia, Istria County and the Croats of the Gradišće (Burgenland) region.

The international School of Croatian Folklore, an event organised by the Croatian Heritage Foundation, was staged in Zadar for the fourth consecutive year. The participants demonstrated the skills they had gained this year at the end-of-event performance at the youth hostel in Borik, the event host. Every year the school covers one zone, this year it was highland (alpine) Croatia, with the audience at the closing show regaled with the dances and folk costumes of northwestern Croatia, Istria County and the Croats of the Gradišće (Burgenland) region.

"The school ran ten days, with classes running from morning to evening, plus the preparations for the closing concert. This year we had about a hundred participants who are already versed in dance, tamburitza and traditional instrument playing – our school offers a venue for their education as heads of culture & arts societies and ensembles. Half of the participants hail from across Croatia and the other half from around the world – Australia, Germany, Austria, the United States of America, Vojvodina, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Gradišće region. We also had an ethnic Croatian from the Molise region in Italy and a member of the Czech minority in Croatia who came to learn Croatian dances," said Snježana Jurišić of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.

The school is taught by prominent folklorists and artists and led by Andrija Ivančan, the artistic director of the Lado dance ensemble. The tamburitza section is led by Tibor Bün, with Vjekoslav Martinić heading the traditional instruments section. Also on hand as a guest lecturer was maestro Siniša Leopold.

"Everyone believes traditional culture is a thing of the past, but it is woven into the fabric of each and every one of us. Folklore is more than dance; it is a system of values in which customs, instruments, music and etiquette have emerged from our very spiritual essence," says Ms Jurišić.

Given that the small land of Croatia has no dearth of folklore treasures the event programme was also rich and diverse in content. Zadar was an excellent host of this year's international school, with collaboration already hammered out for the coming year. There is already great interest for the upcoming event among the participants – if additional space could be secured there would certainly be a greater number of people taking part.

Zadar deputy mayor Jagoda Surać paid a visit to the participants of the school during their ten-day stay in the coastal city.
(Zadarski list newspaper; Valentina Mlađen)

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