8.   Orebic - (peninsula) Peljesac

The video fragment shows the dance named Kapetanski ples (Captain's dance) performed by the local folk dance group Poloneza. This is the example of the newly reconstructed and invented tradition that became an unavoidable sign of the Orebic identity.

Like numerous coastal or island communities, settlements such as Orebic have a special term in the Croatian language. Misto identifies a settlement that is a mixture of urban (town - grad) and rural community (village - selo). This small community characterizes a friendly atmosphere where everybody knows each other. On the other hand, most of Orebic's inhabitants live modern urban lives following all recent urban trends (fashion, standard of living). To better understand the present way of life in Orebic we should look at historical and recent economic resources and circumstances, which are comparable to most  Dalmatian island (coastal) towns. Agriculture, and shipping trades were main economic resources in the past. Shipping trade was the most important financial source. The golden age of shipping trade was the second half of the 18th and 19th century. The navigation is still important feature of Orebic.  Today, its captains are still sailing all over the world.

The folklore movement started in 1964, with the increasing interest for the new source of economic dependency - tourism. Matko Zupa, the chief of the tourist office at the time, started a folk dancing group, in desire to contribute to the tourist offering. For the first performance of the folk group, Matko invented Kapetanski ples [30]. Choreography of the dance includes elements from various dances informally performed in Orebic in the past: malfrina, polka, mazurka, poloneza, sotis ("Scottische") and valcer (Vekaric 1975:129). The dancers formed two parallel rows with the capo  in front of the group. The capo commands the figure changes and leads the group through the space. The reconstruction of costumes has been designed according to the old photos of the Orebic nobles of the late 19th century. Thanks to their captains, the textile and clothing materials, at that time, came from sea ports all over the world.

For the music accompaniment, Matko Zupa, rearranged the melody of the well-known Chopin's Polonaise (Op. 40, no. 1) (Marunovic 2000: 4). At the first performances, diatonic accordion, [triestina, botunara, Plonerica (Caleta 2002:79)] played by local musician Branko Njakara, accompanied kapetanski ples. The diatonic accordion performer was the one who invented the lyrics which dancers collectively sang in unison during the performance.  The musical accompaniment has changed these days and depends on circumstances. Beside the diatonic accordion the most common instruments are the chromatic accordion, tamburica (nowadays substituted by mandolin), guitar, flute and clarinet. After more than 40 years, the folk group Poloneza still exists, performing at the various folk festivals and local events. However, performances for tourists are still the most frequent performances of the Poloneza folk group. The process that started as a common practice for the tourists' purposes became an important marker of local traditional culture identity.


(file wmv, 1'05", 1.28 Mb)

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