Nijemo Kolo, silent circle dance of the Dalmatian hinterland
Inscribed in 2011 (6.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Nijemo Kolo, silent circle dance of the Dalmatian hinterland
The Nijemo Kolo is practised by communities in the Dalmatian hinterland, in southern Croatia. Nijemo Kolo is performed in a closed circle with male dancers leading female partners in energetic, spontaneous steps – the male dancer publicly testing the skills of his female partner, seemingly without defined rules. The steps and figures, often vigorous and impressive, depend on the mood and desire of the participants. The defining feature of the silent circle dance is that it is performed exclusively without music, although vocal or instrumental performances may precede or follow the dance. Nijemo Kolo is traditionally performed at carnivals, fairs, feast days and weddings, and acts as a way for young women and men to meet and get to know each other. Differences in the performance of the Nijemo Kolo from one village to another are also a way for the residents to distinguish their identities. The dance is transmitted from generation to generation, although increasingly this occurs through cultural clubs where its movements have been standardized. Some villages of the Dalmatian hinterland, however, preserve the spontaneous performance of steps and figures. Today, Nijemo Kolo is mostly danced by village performing groups at local, regional or international festivals and at local shows, carnivals or on the saint days of their parish church.
Decision 6.COM 13.11
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Formerly performed in the everyday life of the communities in the Dalmatian hinterland and now in the context of cultural clubs, the Nijemo Kolo constitutes an important part of their identity;
- R.2: Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to the awareness of the intangible cultural heritage and encourage dialogue particularly among communities that perform similar dances both at the local, national and international levels;
- R.3: Current and proposed measures to safeguard and promote the Nijemo Kolo, such as festivals, local activities, research and seminars, demonstrate the commitment of the communities and the State;
- R.4: The nomination was elaborated with the cooperation and commitment of the communities and groups, particularly through their cultural clubs, and they have given their free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: The Nijemo Kolo was included with the cooperation of the community in 2009 in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
Inscribes Nijemo Kolo, silent circle dance of the Dalmatian hinterland on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website