Throughout this winter, Scottish dance music has become a familar sound in Vrboska. It all started with the island’s resident Scots and Irish at the end of last summer as we enjoyed a few dances of an evening followed by pizza and drinks. We’d take over the hall above Studenac in Vrboska on Friday evenings, dancing ceilidh favourites to music on a little portable Bose speaker. Any visitors and friends coming to the island were a welcome addition as we began to expand our repertoire and learn some new dances. As winter set in, and our local neighbours had more time, we turned into a bilingual class in English and Croatian. It all adds to the fun as we try to find appropriate terms to help everyone get the figures right!
Scottish country dancing is a form of traditional dancing that is still very much alive at parties and social get-togethers. Although you’ll also see it danced formally in the same way as our local KUD Jelsa group performs Dalmatian folk dances, for most of us Scottish dancing is what we do at parties and weddings and other fun events. Getting it right isn’t nearly as important as simply enjoying ourselves! There are groups of dancers in halls all around the world, happily birling away to the sounds of Scottish music. That’s mostly due to the efforts of the RSCDS, (Royal Scottish Country Dance Society), which was set up in the 1920s by a bunch of enthusiasts to keep our dancing heritage alive, and to spread the word. In that spirit, we’re making connections between the Dalmatian and Scottish cultures, and we’d love to include some Croatian dancing in our programs, if only we can find a teacher!
Around once a month, our dance group holds a ceilidh, ie a party, when we decorate the hall and bring food and drink to share between dances. Back in November we celebrated St Andrews day, for January it was national poet Rabbie Burns’ birthday, and in February, of course, we held our own Valentine’s day dance. This month, we’re already practicing some Irish dances for St Patrick’s day, which involves learning some nifty footwork.
UPDATE 14 March Due to the Corona virus restrictions, our dancing sessions have been suspended until further notice, including our planned events. Stay safe out there, everyone!
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Here’s a quick video of us in action…