On October 24, 2014, Karadak Dances were introduced at the fully stuffed Theatre Hall of Gjilan, in front of the audience of over 300 – mostly young people. During this activity a premiere of the documentary was screened on the history, value and typology of these dances followed then with the performance of professional and amateur dancing ensembles.
Greeting and occasion speeches delivered the PCDK project coordinator at the office of the Council of Europe, Mrs. Merita Limani, and director of the Department of Culture in the Municipality of Gjilan, Mr. Bujar Haziri. All of them emphasized the value of promoting of Karadak Dances as one of the pearls of the intangible heritage of the region and the importance for being documented and shared with new generations.
Karadak dances are traditional folklore dances innate as a result of specific political, economic and social circumstances in the eastern region of Kosovo, also referred to as the Anamorava Valley. They are distinctive dances in Albanian speaking territories, where the key peculiarity is the expressiveness of the dancers and the experience almost in the level of a theatrical play. These dances were used to express the call for freedom and, concurrently, bravery of the community. At the end of each dance a dynamics of deliverance or outbreak of joy, happiness and freedom is expressed. The instruments used during these dances are daulle (double-headed bass drum), surla (zurna – large double-reed horn) and sometimes çiftelia (double-stringed instrument). As the community ofthis region says, “What the man from Drenica says with his çifteli, Karadak puts it with a dance”.
Karadak dances appear similar as those are performed in three dance rhythms. They are divided into three major groups:
1. Manhood dances – held belt to belt or waist to waist. These include manly dances such as: Deli Agushi dance, Janja dance, Topalli’s dance, Çene Kalaja dance, Çoban’s (Shepherd’s) dance, Kaçaks’ (Outlaws) dance, etc.
2. Bravery dances – held shoulder to shoulder, which include: dance 2, 3 and 4, Gjilan’s dance, Presheva’s dance, Fujza’s dance, Bilaç dance, Gajde’s (bagpipe) dance, etc.
3. Lyrical dances – are dances where dancers hold each others hands. The group of lyrical dances includes women dances such as: Hatixhe’s dance, Pembe dance, Çerqek dance, pinky-pinky dance, highland’s old lady dance, etc.
During this project, CHwB has also developed an educational component with over 30 volunteers from elementary school “Abaz Ajeti” in Gjilan. Schoolchildren were provided with information about the history and value of these dances and, under the guidance of professionals, have held practical classes on these dances. Through an essay, Agnesa Imeri, pupil of this school, brought forth their experiences during this activity, while later she was joined by her peers in performing of a dance chosen for that particular day.
During October 2014, Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB) hosted two pilot activities on intangible heritage practices in Ferizaj/Uroševac and Gjilan/Gnjilane in the framework of the Joint EU/CoE Project “Support to the Promotion of Cultural Diversity” (PCDK). These activities have been designed and developed in close collaboration with the Regional Working Groups (RWG) and the PCDK team involved in the project.
In the following weeks, a booklet and a DVD with the documentary on traditional Karadak dances shall be produced, containing more information and will be available through CHwB Kosovo office.
For complete photo gallery from the activity in Gjilan, click here.
For more information about the Joint Program of European Union and Council of Europe “Support to the Promotion of Cultural Diversity” (PCDK), click here.