The ten days of classes were held at Crikvenica’s Kaštel hotel and at the sports auditorium of Dr Antun Barac Secondary School. This year’s school pooled 90 participants from the USA, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia (Vojvodina), Bosnia-Herzegovina and from across Croatia.

A gala concert staged on Sunday, January 12th at Crikvenica’s Municipal Sports Arena marked the close of another traditional CHF Winter School of Folklore.
The programme of this year’s instalment of the folklore school included the dance, song, folk costumes and instruments of northwest Croatia: Međimurje, Podravina, Hrvatsko Zagorje, Prigorje, Jastrebarsko, Karlovac and the wider region, Gorski Kotar and Istria and, which was particularly interesting, the dances of the Gradišće (Burgenland) Croatians.
Joining school director professor Andrija Ivančan in holding instruction (Međimurje, Podravina, and the Samobor, Zaprešić, Vrapče and Zagreb Prigorje regions) were other top folklore experts: Vido Bagur (Gorski Kotar and the Grobiničko Polje area), Senka Jurina (Hrvatsko Zagorje), Nerina Štajner (Istria), Miro Kirinčić (Karlovačko Pokuplje and the Jaska Prigorje and plains) and Štefan Novak of Austria (dances of the Gradišće Croatians). Dr Goran Oreb held a lecture on dance history, the cultural and historical specifics of Croatian folklore dance, dance zones and dancer training methodology. Bojan Pogrmilović led singing instruction and participants had an opportunity to learn about the folk costumes of northwest Croatia from Josip Forjan, who provided an opportunity for participants themselves to try on some of the costumes and thus learn how they are properly worn, all the parts they consist of and the folk names of the individual articles of apparel.
Along with the folklore dance group, the most numerous, lessons were also given for traditional instrument players, instructed by Vjekoslav Martinić, and the tamburitza players, instructed by Tibor Bün, joined by guest lecturer maestro Siniša Leopold, the chief conductor of the Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT) Tamburitza Orchestra.
The ten days of classes kicked off right after New Year, January 3rd, and was staged, as it has been for all of its past twenty-five years at Crikvenica’s Kaštel hotel and at the sports auditorium of Dr Antun Barac Secondary School. This year’s folklore school pooled a total of ninety participants, twenty more than last winter, coming from the United States of America, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia (Vojvodina), Bosnia-Herzegovina and from across Croatia – from the Baranja region to the deep south of the country.
Along with the intensive daily instruction, which was held in the morning and afternoon, and the regular rehearsals for the closing concert, this year’s participants had excellently organised elective evening programmes many were more than happy to take part in. At the very start of the school we met the members of the Vienna-based Kolo Slavuj folklore ensemble of Gradišće Croatians, who made the trip to Crikvenica to present a major and very important project they are soon to complete: a book on the dance and song of Gradišće Croatians based on the research of a great among Croatian ethno-choreologists, the late Dr Ivan Ivančan. During his life Dr Ivančan researched, recorded and wrote down a wealth of material on the folklore traditions of the Gradišće Croatians. The members of the Kolo Slavuj folklore ensemble acquainted the participants through song, dance and a short lecture with the content of this worthy edition. Professor Vido Bagur screened the films he shot during his field research on the dance of northwest Croatia and their links with similar dances in Austria, Germany and Italy.
Mišo Hepp, the president of the Croatian local self-government in Hungary, put on his traditional Heppiad reception for the participants, featuring the specialities of the Croatians of Hungary. Guests of the evening along with Mr Hepp were Radoslav Jankovič, president of the Croatian Culture Federation of Slovakia, Ivo Jelušić, Member of Parliament and president of the CHF board of directors and Croatian Heritage Foundation director Marin Knezović, who visited the Winter School of Folklore to meet the participants and lecturers and learn more about the programme.
The participants also organised evening events: a communal bee featuring presentations by participants of dances and songs of the regions and countries they hail from, a masquerade ball and a Kajkavijana evening featuring the customs and specialities of northwest Croatia. And it hardly needs to be said that the school tamburitza players created a wonderful atmosphere with their playing every night.
As it does every year the close of the Winter School of Folklore came all too soon for both the lecturers and participants. They all went their own ways with many wonderful memories and plans for the next Winter School.

Text and photos: Srebrenka Šeravić