By Mudassir Raja
Cultural Diversity Festival continues to entertain Doha audience with a variety of folk and traditional dances from different countries.
The most recent entertaining act during the Cultural Diversity Festival was the performance of a Serbian folk dance ensemble at Katara Amphitheatre.
The harmonious music, well-choreographed folk dances, and traditional clothes with vivid colours from Serbia made the pleasant Saturday evening enchanting for the audience, who were present in the open air theatre in large numbers.
The ensemble called Dukat exhibited the diverse dances from different regions of Serbia for two days in Katara. The 22 dancers, young boys and girls, danced in rhythm to melodious tunes tirelessly in groups. Clad in colourful traditional clothes, the performers danced in tandem often holding each other’s hands.
The performances portrayed traditional gypsy dances and dances from Hungarian, Slovakian, Belgrade and Kosovo regions of the country. The extent to which the audience loved the performances was visible when they clapped and applauded the dancers after every dance.
The cultural festival started on October 18 last year and will continue to till March 19. In total, folk music performers from 17 different countries are taking part in the festival. So far, the artistes from Qatar, India, Oman, China, Macedonia, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic, Iran, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Bulgaria, Morocco and Serbia have performed. Further, the folk dance groups from Sri Lanka, Bosnia, and Russia will also perform in Katara.
Talking to Community, Dunja Miltic, spokesperson for the ensemble, said: “We have been performing different traditional dances from Serbia. We also presented dances from different minorities in Serbia. We like to show the diversity of our country. Ever part of Serbia has its own costumes and dances. We had 18 differently choreographed folk dances. However, there used to be much more folk dances in Serbia.
“In old times, every village used to have different dresses and traditions. The people used to gather in the centre of their village and dance to celebrate different occasions. Such parties were also a way for the young boys and girls to choose their futures spouses. We presented these old dances. In Serbia, we speak same language with different accents and have distinct cultures.”
Speaking about her ensemble, she said: “Dukat is a kind of gold necklace that the boys used to gift their would-be brides. I think similar kinds of traditions do exist in Arab world also. The ensemble is a group of 40 dancers and 22 of them have come to Qatar. Most of the dancers grew up together and formed the ensemble. I started dancing when I was seven-year-old. We have been performing in different countries across the world. We travel every year at least one time. This is our second time in Qatar. I was not a part of the ensemble when it first came to Qatar in 2002. We have performed in Algeria, France, Belgium, Hungary, and China. I am very happy to be in Qatar. I like the architecture and old side of the country. We are familiar with the Islamic way of life as we have Muslim population in our country.”
When asked how the cultural exchanges help the two countries understand each other better, the dancer said: “No matter where we are travelling, I think we can just exchange of cultures and can learn more about each other. In this way, we can remove whatever barriers we have in different cultures. We should have more and more people to people contact events.”
Jovana Bozic, who was the part of the ensemble during its 2002 visit to Qatar, said: “We as an ensemble like to perform in other countries. In 2002, we were the first ever group from Serbia to come to Qatar. A lot of dancers could not make to come here again. At that time we used to perform every night at the Corniche during an international festival. I still remember that the families used to have a walk in the area and would enjoy the dances at the same time.
“I must say Qatar has grown a lot. The development seems to be a fairy tale to me. Everything has changed. We had a lot of fun last time. Now, also we are having a great time here.”
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