Dance Styles

Bunjevačko

Bunjevci are a Croatian community living mostly in the Bačka region of Vojvodina. On special occasions, young, unwed girls traditionally wore white dresses decorated in eyelet cutouts, to present themselves as available to single young men. The older women of the community wore darker, embroidered gowns, which were made from French silk, along with headwear. Traditionally, Bunjevci of Bačka were associated with land and farming, this was celebrated by females who wore woven wheat accessories called perlice.

There are 22 Bunjevačko dances in total, but the Momačko kolo (the Bachelor's dance) is the most recognizable to this region. The men in this dance are seen to be competing against each other to see who can exhibit the most challenging steps to impress single females. Their abilities are showcased when the small metal plates on their boots create musical and rhythmical effects while dancing.

Children's play

Traditional Croatian children's play contains important elements of our history and culture, and has been passed down through the generations as a way of preserving our traditions. There are many instances where old traditions have been preserved through children's play. These traditions have taken on many creative forms, including songs; rhymes; games and acting. Every region has it's own variation of these games. 

Ero (dance finale)

Ero s onoga svijeta (usually translated as Ero the Joker, or literally, Ero from the other world) is a comic opera in three acts by Jakov Gotovac. In the finale of act three, a round dance is performed in traditional Croatian costume. Folkloric groups around the world soon began to perform this dance. The origins of the opera are at Vrlička Česma in the town of Vrlika, which is why the costumes and movements can be likened to traditional Vrličko kolo.

Međimurje

Međimurje is a small region in the north of Croatia, which has represented a connection between Croatians and Hungarians throughout history. This has resulted in a strong Hungarian influence on Međimurski folk dancing. It is especially present in the music, which has a strong range of melancholic melodies in a minor key. There is also a wider range of instruments that play in an orchestra for Međimurski dancing. Alongside the usual tamburica, there can be violins, cimbalons, clarinets and even some brass instruments. The dance style is very lively and involves clapping and exaggerated steps.

Neretva Delta

The Neretva Delta is a Dalmation region that surrounds the towns of Metković, Ploće and Opuzen. The many villages that are scattered throughout this region are surrounded by fruit groves, crops and water canals. This region is close to the Dalmatian coastline but is also very close to the borders of Hercegovina, which is why there is such a strong resemblance between the traditional Neretvan costume and the traditional dress of Western Hercegovina. Many of the dances from the Neretva Delta are partnered dances that are made up of dainty footwork, known as a šotić. These dances are accompanied by a mandolin orchestra rather than the usual tamburica which is typical to many other regions of Croatia.

The songs of the Neretva Delta are a stark contrast to the delicate sounds of the mandolin music that is used for dancing. These songs are sung a capella, in a ‘call and response’ style and are quite raw in sound. Traditionally, this style of singing was used by both men and women who would gather in groups and sing together in their villages at the end of each day. This style of folk singing is still used as the main form of song during mass in some church parishes across the Neretva Delta.

Podravina

The Podravski Svati choreography is a medley of several dances and songs surrounding the nuptials of a young village girl. The bride sings a heart felt song as she is prepared for her marriage ceremony. The song highlights her entrance into her new life as a married woman. As the story evolves, the music picks up in tempo and the dancers come together to act out a lively wedding celebration.

Posavina

Dances from Posavina are lively and include plenty of singing. Dances that are are typically seen in Posavski choreographies are a Drmeš - which is a fast bouncing step present in many Croatian dances; Staro sito; Ja Posijah Repu and Dučec. The Dučec is probably the most energetic of these dances and is made up of split jumping. In the past it was believed that the higher you jumped, the taller your harvest would grow. The Posavina costume is covered in intricate red and white floral embroidery and was traditionally made with flax. This is the most recognised Croatian costume throughout the world.

Slavonsko kolo

Kolo (circle dance) is one of the basic forms of Croatian folk dance and remains dominant among the dances of the Pannonian part of Croatia (Slavonija, Posavina, Moslavina, Bilogora and Podravina).

Throughout a large part of Croatia, Kolo was the centre of village social life. Kolo as a dance and as a social gathering was the main place at which young women and men could get to know each other; express mutual liking; make pledges of brotherhood and sisterhood; and also provided an opportunity for mockery and social criticism. By singing, movement and gestures one could express what was proscribed in ordinary speech. With its liveliness, song, and shouting dancers, it became the trademark of Slavonija - a symbol of regional identity.

Old dances of Split

Stari Splitski Plesovi (Old dances of Split) is a typical partnered court dance, which has been heavily influenced by Western Europe and the Mediterranean. These influences are present in the luxurious costumes and dance style, which is elegant with soft movements. The choreography for this dance usually includes the Monfrina, the Četvorka (quadrille) and the Šaltin Polka.

Zagrebačko Prigorje

Zagrebačko Prigorje consists of a series of villages perched on the slopes of the Medvednica Mountain, north of Zagreb. Dances from this area are lively and cheerful in nature, and include the well known Sukačica and Kriči Kriči Tiček. The local drmeš for this kajkavian region is danced in couples or in circles of three or four, where dancers are almost seen to be vibrating on the spot. The costumes from this region are bright and colourful, and have become a cultural symbol of Zagreb.