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Tihomir Djordjević and Folk Dances/Plays

Folkloristika 3/2 (2018): 67‒79
Author: Vesna Marjanović
Text: PDF


Tihomir Djordjević is the first in Serbian ethnology who pointed to the significance of study of folk plays and dances, though until that time some ritual children games had been published, and they had been collected by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić and his associates. Djordjević’s discussion and classification of folk dances, as well as his role as the editor of collected and systematized plays and the material about dances/plays in the book Serbian Folk Dances/Plays – which was discussed previously by Luka Grdjić Bjelokosić, Stanoje Mijatović and Atanasije Petrović – represents even today unavoidable piece in studying of folk dances/plays in the wider sense of the word, аlthough it has been 111 years since the book was published (as the ninth volume of the Serbian Academy of Sciences series Serbian Ethnographic Collection). In this paper the author discusses the contribution and the pioneering work of T. Djordjević in collecting, studying and classification of folk dances in the culture of the Serbian people. Except that, the author tries to identify folk plays and dances in the framework of their cultural context in Djordjević’s time, since he also tried to point out their importance for better understanding folk culture. Nowadays we can observe folk dances/plays on two levels. Firstly, folk dances are present during some holidays or feasts and are performed by ordinary people who are keepers of the traditional culture. Secondly, there are dances performed by players of folk ensembles and choreography is more or less successful. During Djordjević’s lifetime, folk ensembles did not exist, especially there were not any educated choreographers, and dances were passed on from generation to generation. Summarizing Djordjević’s work on folk plays and dances is important for the Serbian folklore and ethnology studies. We can conclude that Djordjević’s book about folk dances and his other articles on the topic did not fall behind the contemporary themes which were studied in broad European circles.
Keywords: folk dances/plays, Tihomir R. Djordjević, classification, systematization of folk dances and plays, culture