Dancing Soldiers in Korcula

From very late August to mid-September 2014 I travelled around Croatia. Not only to one of its cities, but to almost half of it. You will find other posts about Croatia later. Now I would like to let you know about a cultural performance called the “Moreska Sword Dance.”

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It is said that sword dances are originated from Spain. There were times when a city state in Croatia, Dubrovnik, had close ties with Spain. But now, the sword dance is only practised in the town of Korcula. This is because they use real weapons in the dance, so they must be really careful not to hurt each other, moreover themselves. I guess not many people would risk their life for a dance.

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The story is based on the battle on the Moors. Basically it’s the same old love story between the good and the bad. For what? For a girl. A maiden.

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The dance started gradually. From moderate dances to powerful fights that even made the swords spark fires every time they are pitted against. They formed a circle with the black soldiers (the bad guys) in the middle of the white soldiers (the good guys, dressed mostly in red). There are times when they intentionally pause, or as I would say, strike a pose. But of course, there are also times when they move so intensely my own eyes couldn’t even follow them correctly.

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And, of course, the good guys won.

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Once, to be a part of Moreska was a matter of honor. The weapons and costumes were passed to sons by fathers. Though Korcula was obliterated during World War II, the dance survived as their valuable cultural treasure. You can find out more about this dance here.

And now, the white king may kiss the bride..

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I mean, the maiden!

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