A gala concert staged on the 8th of August wrapped up yet another very successful Summer School of Croatian Folklore, a programme featuring traditional culture targeted to folklore dancers and players that has been organised by the Croatian Heritage Foundation for many years.

For the third year running the folklore school has been staged at the Zadar hostel operated by the Croatian Youth Hostel Association in the Borik settlement in Zadar, a stunning setting just off the Adriatic waterfront offering us ideal conditions for boarding, classes, swimming and socialising. The hostel staff, led by director Irena Batur, made sure that the ten-day stay was pleasant for everyone and that the participants and lecturers felt more than welcome. This was a tall order as this summer saw a record number of folklore school participants – ninety dancers and players joined by thirteen lecturers and a musical rehearser. This large number of participants speaks volumes about the need for the Summer School of Croatian Folklore and how much it is esteemed among the Croatian emigrant communities and that interest in the programme is on an upward trajectory. It comes no wonder then that participants came from all around the world – from faraway Argentina, the United States of America, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Serbia (Vojvodina), Bosnia-Herzegovina and, as always, from across Croatia. There were a particularly large number of participants from Germany this year, fifteen people representing Croatian folklore ensembles from Berlin, Nurnberg, Ehingen, Filderstadt, Wuppertal and Stuttgart. The Summer School of Croatian Folklore has also been recognised by the City of Zagreb Amateur Folklore Federation, which sent thirteen of its members to attend.

This summer we studied the dances, folk costumes, songs and musical instruments of Croatia’s PANNONIAN REGION, i.e. the folk dances of Turopolje, Moslavina, Posavina, Bilogora, the Slatina, Donji Miholjac, Orahovica, Našice, Nova Gradiška and Požega valley areas, the Valpovo, Brodsko Posavlje, Đakovo, Županja and Vinkovci areas and of the Srijem region. Instruction was provided on the dances of the Croatians of Vojvodina (Serbia), Hungary and the Bosanska Posavina region in Bosnia-Herzegovina that belong to the Pannonian dance region.

Professor Andrija Ivančan – the long time leader of the Summer School of Croatian Folklore – once again pooled a team of outstanding lecturers, experts in Croatian folklore and music, including Slavica Moslavac, Miroslav Šilić, Nenad Sudar, Ratko Poznić, Mišo Šarošac, Goran Knežević, Kristina Benko Markovica, Katarina Medarić, Tibor Bün, maestro Siniša Leopold and Vjekoslav Martinić. Antun Kottek served the role of musical rehearser. Participants had the option of choosing one of three offered lecture groups: folklore dance, playing the tamburitza or traditional Croatian instruments.

All of the participants will agree that the school was very demanding, with a full ten days of dancing and playing of musical instruments in morning and afternoon sessions, learning dances, dance notation and the basics of musical notation. Numerous and diverse folk costumes from the Pannonian region were studied and worn. The free time was used to prepare the closing concert, visit the beach, socialise in the evening with tamburitza music and much more.

One of the evenings was also dedicated to the presentation of the latest work by writer Slavica Moslavac, an ethnologist and the director of the Museum of Moslavina in the town of Kutina, a folio on The Folk Costumes of Moslavina, the Croatian Sava River Basin and Banovina Region. Slavica Moslavac is a prolific author of numerous specialist papers, book, folios and exhibitions related to her ethnological research of her native regions of Moslavina and Posavina (the Sava River basin). School leader professor Andrija Ivančan spoke about the author and her latest folio. For the participants Ms Moslavac presented models wearing the folk costumes depicted in the folio and offered her expert commentary, which was of particular interest to everyone on hand.

Mr Mišo Hepp, a great friend of the folklore school and the former president of the Croatian national self-government in Hungary, now a representative in Hungarian parliament, honoured us with a visit and organised another unforgettable “Hepp-iad”, an evening of socialising with tamburitza music featuring the culinary delights of the Croatian community of Hungary.

The culmination of every folklore school, and this year’s, was the gala closing concert featuring the school’s attendees, staged on the night of the 8th of August on the terrace of the Croatian Youth Hostel Association hostel in Borik. The event programme was prepared by the participants with the help of their colleagues – young choreographer Iva Cvetko, the head of the tamburitza section Tibor Bün, the head of the Croatian traditional instrument players section Vjekoslav Martinić and music teacher Kristina Benko Markovic. It was a brilliantly performed programme featuring dances, songs and tamburitza music from the Croatian Pannonian region, and thanks to the beautiful folk costumes provided by Tomislav Miličević’s Velika Gorica-based Kolovrat company the performances of our folklorists and players were met with ovations from the many who gathered to take in the show.

Text by: Srebrenka Šeravić; Photos by: Slavica Moslavac, Tibor Bün, Srebrenka Šeravić


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