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SLOVAK FOLK ENSEMBLE BROADENS ITS TRADITIONAL FOCUS

Top Pick: Traditions go modern

THE FOLK ensemble called SĽUK, is presenting a new project entitled 'Circus World'. This grand stage performance is an attempt to introduce traditional folk music and dance in a modern form.
"The creators based the show on folk traditions and folklore and gave the performance a newer, more modern look", says Marek Ťapák, SĽUK's artistic director.
"We want to appeal to everyone, not just folklore enthusiasts. We would like to show that Slovak folk traditions are magical and poetic," he adds.


PERFORMERS blend old and new.
photo: Courtesy of SĽUK

THE FOLK ensemble called SĽUK, is presenting a new project entitled 'Circus World'. This grand stage performance is an attempt to introduce traditional folk music and dance in a modern form.

"The creators based the show on folk traditions and folklore and gave the performance a newer, more modern look", says Marek Ťapák, SĽUK's artistic director.

"We want to appeal to everyone, not just folklore enthusiasts. We would like to show that Slovak folk traditions are magical and poetic," he adds.

The show, combining motifs from Slovak folklore with the music and dance of other central European cultures, will be staged in Bratislava from October 25 to 27. The Biblical theme of creation and the power of the four elements - earth, water, wind and fire - are among the many themes that are touched on in their show.

SĽUK (which stands for Slovenský Ľudový Umelecký Kolektív, or the Slovak Folk Artistic Ensemble) is Slovakia's only professional folk ensemble specialising in the interpretation of traditional folklore. The company has toured more than 60 countries in its 53-year history, presenting local folkloric traditions in a way that is accessible to modern audiences.

This new project has gone a step further. It consists of a group performance by 22 dancers and a solo performance by an organ grinder, the main character and narrator of the story. SĽUK's spectacular use of light and sound also plays an important role, emphasising the modern and dynamic nature of the show.


THIS is not your grandfather's folk dancing.
photo: Courtesy of SĽUK

Choreographer Ján Ďurovčík, costume designer Alexandra Grusková and composer Henrich Leško have all used folklorist heritage as their inspiration, adapting it for a modern audience.

"I do quote themes from traditional Slovak folk songs, but the rest is original music, featuring not only central European tunes but also some exotic instruments", says the composer Leško.

"Despite the modern touch, our performance is without a doubt authentic Slovak folklore. I am convinced that folklore can develop and traditions can be altered," he says.

The 'Circus World' dance show runs September 25, 26 and 27 at the Istropolis Cultural Center in Bratislava. Tickets cost Sk450-550 and can be purchased in advance at Istropolis (Trnavské mýto, Mon-Sun 15:00-20:30). For more information call 02/6285-9112 or visit www.sluk.sk.

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