Slovácko Verbuňk (Dance of recruits)

Slovácko Verbuňk is an improvised dance performed by boys and men living in the South Moravia and Zlín districts of the Czech Republic. The name of the dance is derived from the German term werbung (changed into Verbuňk), meaning “recruitment”, reflecting its historical origins in the recruitment of dancers and soldiers for the military in the eighteenth century. Today, it is performed by folk dance groups in most towns and villages of the Slovácko region, mostly in connection with festivities, such as the annual Hody community celebration. 


Slovácko Verbuňk is danced to a music called New Hungarian songs and usually consists of three parts. At the beginning, a song is performed, followed by slow movements and then faster dancing parts. The dancing is not bound to a precise choreography, but marked instead by spontaneity and individual expression, including jumping contests. It is usually performed by groups of men, with each dancer interpreting the music in his own way. There are six different regional types of Slovácko Verbuňk, which allow a great variety of figures and dance rhythms. These types evolved in the early twentieth century and have continued to further develop until today. The dances are an essential component of local customs, ceremonies and celebrations and are performed at the annual contest of the best dancer at the International Folklore Festival in Strá?nice, among others.

The migration of young and middle-aged people to the country’s urban centres is considered the greatest threat for the viability of the different regional typesof Slovácko Verbuňk. This tradition also relies on financial support since the traditional costumes and musical instruments are made by hand and need regular maintenance.