Malo kolo, Мало коло – Serbia – update


4 thoughts on “Malo kolo, Мало коло – Serbia – update

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  1. Thanks much. Knew a lot of the Serbian/Croatian info b/c of family background, but not the R/L Orthodox/Catholic issue.


  2. several of the examples here were not Malo Kolo, but just “kolo” (what Americans call u sest). One Vlach band in the video began with that and then went into Vlainja, which is another family of dances. The last Vlach video showed the way Vlainja is now done (they just call it “danca”) – the same pattern of Vlainja, but with all steps being done to the right, and slower than the traditional Vlainja. I suspect it evolved to fit dancing on carpet in high heels…


  3. Question – some kolos move to the dancer’s right, some to the left. Reason? Choice, region, style? Especially when reading Malo Kolo and watching videos – same dance, different direction….Thanks.


    1. Thanks for your question – it’s a good one!

      I’m not a specialist in the various kinds of Malo Kolo, but as a general rule Serbian dances move to the right and Croatian to the left. Serbs and Croats were intermixed in the Banat, and some still remain in Serbian territory even after the ‘cleansings’ of the 1990’s war, so they share many dances. Serbs are officially Orthodox, while Croatians are officially Catholic, and as a more general rule, Orthodox countries move to the right, while Catholic countries move to the left.

      There are many theories as to why this is so, but a consenus of dance scholars believes that in ancient (prehistorical) times everyone moved to the left. It is believed that moving to the left was an imitation of the sun’s travel, which moved from left (sunrise in the east) to right (sunset in the west), and may have been part of sun-worshipping rituals. This only works for people in the Northern Hemisphere, (standing with their back to the north), but that includes everyone in Europe, the Middle East, and most of Asia.

      Anyway, it seems that beginning around 500 BC a general belief became common that our right side was our ‘good’ side and our left was our ‘bad’, so moving to the right became an ethical choice, at least among the peoples in the Eastern Roman Empire (later the Byzantine Empire). Christianity eventually became its official religion, but that religion split in two around 1000AD into the Greek ‘Orthodox’ east, and the former ‘Barbarian’ ‘Catholic’ west. Maybe one of the points of contention (though not part of official doctrine) was whether it was ‘good’ to dance to the right or left. All we know is the Orthodox world believes right is good so that’s the way we should dance, and Western Christians also believe right is good, but it’s OK to dance left because that’s the way we’ve always done it – it’s no sin.


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