Dances we important events for the Slovenian Association Melbourne. Since before the Slovenian Club was formed, the dances were organised. The first Slovenian band Bled has been entertaining Slovenians and their friends for years. It was an important venue socially, to meet with other Slovenians and, many times, meet the future husbands and wives.

There used to be at least one dance per month. The halls were hired until the premises at Eltham was built with a huge hall. Dancing is a favourite past time for all Slovenians, especially to Slovenian and other tunes, dancing polka, waltzes and some modern dances as well.

Many dances has a theme and people were dresses accordingly and the hall was decorated to echo the theme. Most favourites were the Annual Ball and St Nicholas Dance, later as well the Bowlers’ and the Hunters’ dances.

Dance themes:

1 Pustna zabava – A Shrove celebration when people, dressed up as comical characters, were masked until midnight when masks were removed to reveal true identities. Pustovanje is always accompanied with merrymaking, doughnuts and a meal with smoked meat.

It is an old tradition, kept from pagan times in Slovenia, and still very much alive among Slovenians. Sometimes a Kurent (an old Shrovetide figure, viewed as the ‘Slovenian Dionysius’) would visit the dance.

Kurentovanje - a Shrovetide carnival lasting for ten days before Lent.

2 Kresovanje - A Midsummer Night’s dance (24 June, the feast of St John the Baptist), usually accompanied with a bonfire. In olden times, on the eve of St John the Baptist, young girls walked from house to house, singing special songs that pleaded for a good harvest. The kresnice – girls dressed in white, with covered faces, were to be given gifts otherwise, according to the old beliefs, houses and farms would be in danger of a bad omen. In the Northern Hemisphere, the days had shortened so people tried to be pleasant to the Sun, a pagan god. They helped supplement his strength to shine by lighting the bonfire on the eve before the feast. Midsummer’s night, according to old folk beliefs, is a night of special powers and acts of witchery. It is believed to be a night when mischievous spirits reign supreme.

3 Kraljica nageljev - The Queen of Carnations, emphasised with a solo dance – the Carnation Waltz. Men bought carnations, organised by the Association, and the girl who ended up with the most carnations was crowned the Queen.

4 Planinski ples - Mountaineers’ festivity with an improvised Tower of Aljaž stolp Mt Triglav created on stage. Mt Triglav is of particular significance to Slovenians. Triglav is the highest mountain of Slovenia and is on the Slovenian coat of arms.

5 Miklavževanje - St Nicholas's dance included a visit by St Nicholas accompanied by angels and devils with chains in their hands. St Nicholas gave gifts to children and adults, with some of them being asked questions. Those who could not respond had to kneel and pray.

6 Majski večer - The May Evening represented the romantic Northern Hemisphere spring month of May when all is in bloom.

7 Silvestrovanje - New Years Eve Dance, with specially decorated tables, was a traditional awaiting of the New Year.

8 Jurjevanje - St George’s Day was a re-enactment of the celebration of the Feast of St George (April 24). It incorporates a person dressed completely in greenery since, in the Northern Hemisphere, St George’s Day means the end of winter and celebration of new growth. It is a pilgrimage to the god of growth and fertility. A procession, accompanied with whistles and fiddles, is intended to prevent evil forces. A decorated tree represents the deity of the tree, while a young man or a girl covered in birch greenery represents the deity’s human form. The girls sing and removal of leaves from the tree symbolises the deity’s death. Normally performed on a bridge, when the Zeleni Jurij is thrown into the water, indicating the death and birth of a new deity, the plea is for a fertile rain.

Later in history, Jurjevo became an important shepherd’s feast, in the belief that Jurij was a shepherd who encouraged confidence. Symbolically, his figure represented a national positive attitude that could overcome life’s hardships.

9 The Evening of the Waltz – Valčkov večer, a circular waltz is danced at all Slovenian dances

10 Zabavni večer - Entertaining festivities – an evening of fun and humorous entertainment

11 Cvetoča poljana - Flowering Meadow, a dance featuring romantic music and songs where decorations were intended to evoke images of flowering meadows

12 Vinska trgatev – Grape picking dance, decorations included grapes, barrels, klopotec –a wind rattle from the vineyards, and vine leaves. During the evening, if anyone stole a grape from the vine, they were put into an amusing jail cell.

13 Jesenski večer – The Autumn Evening

14 Planinska veselica – The Mountaneering festivity, with the stage specifically prepared with a reconstruction of the Aljaž tower on Mt Triglav, a symbolic presentation of the highest mountain in Slovenia, which means so much to Slovenians.

15 Kje je moj dragi dom? – Where is my dear home? An evening of songs and music with Slovenia in mind

16 Pomladansko rajanje – Spring dance celebrated with great happiness that winter has ended

17 Nageljčkov valček – The Carnation Waltz, usually with the selection of the Carnation Queen

18 Kostanjev večer – The Chestnuts' Evening (13 May), when chestnuts are roasted and served. In Slovenia, chestnuts are roasted on town street corners during autumn and into winter months, so that the heat of the roasted chesnuts can warm cold hands.

19 Večer polk in valčkov - The Evening of Polkas and Waltzes

20 Slovenski večer – Slovenian Evening (8 August), an evening of Slovenian songs and tunes

21 Cvetoča livada – The Flowering Meadow

22 Prosvetni večer – A Cultural and Educational Evening, focussed on intellectual achievement and frequently dedicated to an outstanding scholar, poet or writer

23 Veseli Večer – The Happy Evening, an evening of humorous content, short sketches, song and dance

24 Veliki letni ples – The Large Annual Dance, usually incorporating the selection of the Beauty and Charity Queens, with many guests and judges

25 Vestnikov večer – The Vestnik Evening

26 Vrtna veselica – The Garden Fest, the dance is a tradition in Slovenia: the dance floor is built outside and the tables and chairs are set around the dance floor, sometimes on the grass

27 Balinarski ples – Bowlers dance, organised by the bocce players, with presentations of trophies, special acknowledgements, music and songs

28 Kmečki večer – Farmers evening, with decorations including farmers’ tools and bales of hay. Program includes folk dancing and features simple food such as kransky sausages and sauerkraut.

29 Kmečki večer pri vinski kleti - Farmers Night by the Wine Cellar

30 Lovski ples - Hunters dance, organised by the hunters section. The hall is decorated by the stuffed animals and pine branches. The game meat is prepared as culinary delicacies.

Draga Gelt



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