World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival

FESTIVAL DANCERS

Koraci Croatian Folklore Ensemble

DANCE ORIGIN: Croatia, Region of Podravina
GENRE: Croatian Folk/Kolo
DIRECTOR/FESTIVAL LIAISON: Leo Andres
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2007
Website: www.koraci.org

Established in 1991, the Republic of Croatia is situated at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and Central Europe. Its shape resembles that of a crescent or horseshoe and remained a mark of the northern frontier of the Ottoman Empire’s advancement into Europe. Croatia shares borders with neighboring Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro, Slovenia, and Hungary. Nearby, Italy lies across the Adriatic Sea – in fact, Marco Polo was born in Korcula, on one of the thousand islands offshore of Croatia.

The Croatians have long fought for their independent cultural and political identity, and continue to preserve their artistic traditions with numerous national folkloric performing ensembles in Croatia. Croatian folk dance seminars and festivals occur internationally throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. San Francisco has a vibrant and active Croatian community, which has as a focal point the Croatian American Cultural Center, formed in 1857. Two popular events sponsored by its cultural committee are the annual San Francisco Croatian Festival, and the San Francisco Tamburitza Festival.

In these festivals, the most commonly practiced dance is the kolo. This circle dance expresses and reinforces community, and is the center of village social life in rural Croatia. Holding hands or with arms around the waist, dancers perform steps in unison, ranging from very basic to ornate variations and syncopations. Kolo as a social gathering is an opportunity for young men and women to get to know each other, and also can be a socially sanctioned outlet for mockery and social criticism, through the singing of witty verses.

The Koraci Croatian Folklore Ensemble started nearly ten years ago as a cultural outgrowth of the Croatian community centered at the Croatian Parish in San Jose. What began as a way of bringing children together to have fun and learn about their heritage, has blossomed into a polished performing company, with three age divisions and nearly fifty performers.

2007 PERFORMANCE

TITLE: Podravski Svati
DIRECTOR/FESTIVAL LIAISON: Leo Andres
DANCERS: Adriana Andres, Davor Bakovic, Andrea Cukrov, Antonia Cukrov, Katherine Dlaka, Mate Dlaka, Sandra Dlaka, Stephanie Kolaric, Matea Kresic, Jelena Kutlesa, Ante Marcelic, Marijana Marusic, Ivo Miskic, Tea Muftic, Marija Radic, Ruza Radic, Luka Sertic, Maya Sertic, Daria Simunic, Filip Sola, Zvonimir Sola, Igor Verkic, Ivana Verkic

Koraci Croatian Folklore Ensemble presents Podravski Svati (A Wedding Celebration in Podravina). It is a medley of several dances and songs surrounding the nuptials of a young village girl. It starts with a fast kolo. The songs are culled from the folk traditions of the Podravina region in Slavonia county of Croatia.

The next section of heart-felt songs depicts the bride as she is prepared for the marriage ceremony. She takes her place by the bridegroom; the songs highlight her entrance into her new life, as wedding participants take turns wishing her well. The melancholy tone of the music picks up and the partygoers, who offer a toast to the young couple, sing the last song before the dancing. The national folk instrument of Croatia, the tamburitza, is a lute-like instrument heard in the accompanying music. As the wedding party begins, the company joins together in dance again for a lively celebration.

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