Ensemble

About ensemble

The Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble Dr. Ivan Ivančan

From its very beginning in May 1945, the ZFDE (The Youth Cultural and Artistic Society “Joža Vlahović” at that time) was dedicated to performing artistically formed folklore of certain villages or areas. All spectacular elements or stylized elements were avoided. The foundations to such approach were laid by the first art director and choreographer, prof. Zvonimir Ljevaković, who called exclusively the dancers and musicians of the ZFDE to the new Ensemble of the national songs and dances of Croatia “Lado” which he founded in 1949 (it was called the Choir of national dances and songs). One of the founders of the ensemble and the successor of prof Zvonimir Ljevaković as the art director and choreographer, Dr. Ivan Ivančan, Ph.D. went the same path. He developed the principles of the scenic use of folklore and scientifically formed them. One cannot become a good choreographer without previous experience in original dance, music and areas. A choreographer chooses themes from the traditional folklore origins by being present at village festivities, and by writing down parts of the national inheritance. The ensemble constantly includes a choice of different national costumes that are always authentic into its program, and special care is paid to adequate national costume, the decorations and the headgear. The musical instruments are used in the program the same way. Besides tambura (a string instrument) other instruments are used: string instruments like ljerica, samica, dangubica, wind instruments like sopile, dvojnice, šurle, diple, windpipes like gajde, dude, mišnice, vidalice, and the drums.

 

Performing the Croatian folklore requires good dancing technique and expressive singing. When auditioning for new dancers and singers, special attention is paid to his or her singing abilities.

 

The Zagreb folk dance ensemble “Dr Ivan Ivančan” is the largest and the most successful promoter of the Croatian folklore. A continuing high quality of the ensemble has resulted in many travels and performances on almost all important festivals and competitions in the world. It should be mentioned that the ZFDE has won one or more prizes on all competition festivals in which it took part:

- Prague (Czech Republic) 1947 – silver medal

- Agrigento (Sicily) – 1957 – 1st place

- Moscow (Russia) – 1957 – bronze medal

- Helsinki (Finland) – 1962 – gold medal

- Sofia (Bulgaria) – 1968 – two silver medals

- Bucharest (Romania) - 1969 – 1st premium, gold medal and the laureate title

- Szged (Hungary) – 1975 – bronze medal

- Valjevo (Serbia and Montenegro) - 1986 – gold medal

- Middlesbrough ( United Kingdom ) – 1990 – three first prizes, two second prizes and one third prize

- Middlesbrough (United Kingdom) – 1992 – one 1st prize, two 2nd prizes and three 3rd prizes

- Dijon (Burgogne, France) – 1992 – bronze medal

- Llangolen (Wales, UK) – 1997 – 1st place and the “Gwynn Williams Trophy”

- Dijon (Burgogne, France) - 1997 – bronze medal

- Zakopane (Poland) – 2003 – three 1st prizes and one second prize

The sum total of all these meals makes the ZFDE the most awarded Croatian folklore ensemble and one should bear in mind that all the prizes were won for the dances, songs and music of the Croatian folklore.

The ZFDE also performed on many world festivals that were not competitive: Luneville, Monterejeau, Quimper Isoire, Haguenau, Concarneau, Bourg – Madame (France), Kairo, Ismailia, Luxor (Egypt), Carthage (Tunis), Istanbul (Turkey), Lisabon (Portugal), Barcelona – Rubi, Madrid, Vitoria, Puigcerda, Durango, Ciudad Real, Badajos (Spain), Enschede, Soest, Beverwijk, Leiden, Amserdam (the Netherlands), Kiel, Bittburg (Germany), Koper, Portorož (Slovenija), Valjevo (Serbia and Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Schoten, Antwerpen, Liege, Mons (Belgium), Diekirich (Luxemburg), Messina, Como, Udine, St. Vincent, Marostica, Valdagno, Bologna, Vicenza, Agrigento (Italy), Sidmouth, Scunthorpe, Birminmgham (England), Martigny (Switzerland), Drummondville, Ottawa, Hull, Toronto – Brampton, Cornwal (Canada), Detroit (USA), Tokyo (Japan), Pećuh (Hungary), Rosario (Argentina), Lima (Peru)....

Program wise, the greatest strength of the ensemble are two-hour concerts where the concept, beauty and the value of the choreography, songs, music playing and technical performance, the stature and the youth of the ensemble comes to its full bloom. All those things make their performance impressive, and artistically valuable. Their ability to perform such shows many times in a row is a quality of top performers.

The ZFDE has confirmed that on numerous concert performances all over the world, presenting Croatian traditional culture in the famous concert halls: “Queen Elizabeth Hall” in Londonu and “Town Hall” in Birminghamu (England), “Sapru House” and “Music Concert Hall” in New Delhi, and “Homi Babha Auditorium” in Bombay (India), “Liaknuat Memorial Hall” in Lahore , Islambad (Pakistan), “Radio Concert Hall” in Bagdad (Irak), “Amphiteatre Romain” in Tunis (Tunis), “Pitman Theater” in Millwaukee (Wisconsin, USA), “Hart Plaza” in Detroit (Michigan, USA), “Duquesne University” in Duquesne, Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), “Hilton” in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), “Georgetown University” in Washington (Washington D. C., USA), “Kemal Ataturk Concert Hall” in Istanbul (Turky), “Deutsches Teater” and “Prinzregenten Teater” in Munich, “Stadtteater” in Ingolstadtu, “Palmengarten” in Frankfurt (Germany), “Arnele Romane” in Bucharest (Romania), “Nationaltheatre” in Luxor (Egypt), “ De Doelen” in Rotterdam and “Vondel Park” in Amstedamu (the Netherlands), “Expotheater” in Montreal (Canada), “Teatro Municipal” in Madrid, Gihon i Valladolid (Spain), “L odet Palace” in Quimper and “Lino Ventura” in Nice, "Opera house" in Antibes (France), "Teatro Peruano Japones" in Lima (Peru), "Auditorio Belgrano" in Buenos Aires (Argentina), „Teatro El Globo“ in Buenos Aires (Argentina), „Colegio Mallinckrodt“ in Buenos Aires (Argentina), „El Circulo“ in Rosario (Argentina), Auditorio SODRE „Nelly Goitiňo“ in Montevideo (Uruguay), „Teatro La Cúpula“ in Santiago (Chile), „El Teatro Municipal“ in Antofagasta (Chile), "Hemicolo Teatro Municipal de Iquique" in Iquique (Chile), Teatro «Santa Ursula» in San Isidro - Lima (Peru), Hungarian National Opera House in Budapest (Hungary) and in many others. The ensemble regularly performs at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb.

 

The ZFDE has also made special programs for television around the world, such as BBC, RAI, ZDF and in Canada, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Switzerland and elsewhere.

 

The constant performance, and the success of the ensemble since its foundation (in May 1945) are not accidental, but a result of the attitude towards the artistic profile of the ensemble, on part of the greatest Croatian folklore expert, researcher and etnochoreologist, dr. Ivan Ivančan, Ph.D. and his followers in the ZFDE. During his time as the art director, he was first assisted by Hanibal Dundović (he later became the art director of the Ensamble of the national dances and songs of Croatia “Lado”). His second assistant was dr. Stjepan Sremac Ph.D. (he was also the art director of the ZDFE and the general manager of “Lado”) Dr. Stjepan Sremec was succeeced by Josip Živković, who led the ensemble for ten years, and he was succeeded by the present art director and the choreographer Andrija Ivančan in 1989.

Dr. Ivan Ivančan Ph.D.

Dr. Ivan Ivančan Ph.D.

One of the founders of the Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble (ex. Joža Vlahović) was born in Molve in Podravina (a region in Croatia), on June 15, 1927, in a family of teachers. He went to grammar school in Krapina and high school and music school in Varaždin and Zagreb, where he finished the First Male High School in 1945. He received a degree in chemical technology from the Technical school of the Zagreb University in 1963. He also received a B.Sc. in ethnology at the Philosopy Department of the Zagreb University and a Ph.D. with his thesis on the origins and ties of the Kumpanija in the island of Korčula. He worked in the Ethnology museum, Institute of Ethnology and Folkloristics, in the Republic Committee for Education, Culture and Physical and Technical culture, as the Art Director and General Manager of the “Lado” Ensemble and as a General Manager of the “Arto” company.

 

Ethno choreography has become an independent area of research in Croatia with the arrival of Dr. Ivančan to the Institute of ethnology and folkloristics. Until nineteen fifties the research of dance was done exclusively by ethnomusicologists. Together with similar studies conducted in Europe, Dr. Ivančan has defined dance zones according to the style and structure of dances. Dr. Ivančan also actively participates in discussions of the world renown ethnocoreologists trying to create universal terminology and analytical methods of dance research. He suggested a tactmotiff as the smallest unit of dance structure, and for the factors that cannot have several explanations. During his present work he makes comprehensive field research in Croatia, and it can be safely said that there almost isn’t a village in Croatia that he has not visited. The results of his research are published in his fascinating collection of books:

 

1956 National Dances of Croatia1963

National Dances of Istria1963

National Dances of Croatia 2 1967

National Customs of the Kumpaija at the Island of Korčula1969

National Dances of Croatia 3 1971

Folklore and the Stage1973

National Dances of Dalmatia 1 1981

National Dances of Dalmatia 2 1981

National Dances and Games in Lika 1982

National Dances of Dalmatia 3 1985

National Dance Customs of Southern Dalmatia1986

National Dance Customs of Banija and Pounje1987

National Dance Customs of Međimurje1988

National Dances and Dance Customs of the Požega valley 1989

National Dance Customs of Podravina 1 1991

National Dance Customs of Podravina 2 1996

National Dance Customs of Croats1998

National Dance Customs of Podravina 3 1999

Molve – Folk Life and Families 2000

Memories and Dreams

 

Besides the imposing number of published books Dr. Ivan Ivančan also published 31 original scientific papers, 27 specialist papers and 38 reviews of other authors. He is the author of a valuable review of original documents for the research of history and origins of dance in Croatia from the 13th century on. This study of Dr. Ivančan gives an insight into the Croatian dance culture through the centuries and speaks of reaches and interests of the Croatian ethno choreology until the nineteen eighties. He uses the comparative approach to the dances, their history and development, in connection with the political connections, and relations in Europe. A large collection of dance customs and dances, imposing number of published books, scientific papers and specilaized works, motion pictures, TV shows (20) and tapes and photographs as well as CDs definitely makes Dr. Ivančan the most prolific Croatian ethno coreologist. This makes any new research impossible to start without consulting his work first.

 

In accordance with the opinions of many European ethno choreographers who in stage presentation see salvation from destruction and oblivion of the folk dances, Dr. Ivančan also does papers on the problems of stage presentation. He is one of the founders of the “Zagreb School of Stage Usage of Folklore”. He develops the principles of its stage application and forms them in the scientific way in two books ("The Usage of Folklore on Stage" and "National Dance Customs in Croatia"). The name of Dr. Ivančan has become synonymous with the sixty years of top work with the rewarded Croatian folklore ensemble “Joža Vlahović”, and the members decided to rename the ensemble into The Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble Dr. Ivan Ivančan.

 

Dr. Ivančan is also takes credit for the great artistic achievements of the professional Croatian ensemble “Lado” where he was the Art Director for many years. His choreographies are the basis of the program of the best Croatian folklore ensembles as well as many of the European and world ones, that base their programs on the Croatian national dances. The ensembles using the choreographies of Dr. Ivančan regularly win awards (mostly first places). With intention of training folklore choreographers and art directors he has founded and for forty years with great success has lead the Croatian School of Folklore. This way he passes his passionate love for the folklore to younger people. Under the leadership of Dr. Ivančan, the Zagreb School of Stage Application of Folklore has become a world renown institution. It initiates the same attitude on folklore stage implementation in many countries and serves as a model for them. 117 of his choreographies have been copyrighted, while others were specifically made for the theatre, movies or television. As the undisputed authority in this field he was chosen for the artistic part of two stadium shows – opening of the Mediterranean Games in Split and the University Games in Zagreb. His knowledge of the authentic material, knowledge of the field performance, and transformation of his own experience into a stage event, as well as his knowledge of stage rules are the foundations of the Zagreb and Dr. Ivančan School of the Stage Application of Folklore.

 

Dr. Ivančan was the Secretary and the President of the Foklorist’s Society of Croatia and the Union of the Folklorist’s Societies of former Yugoslavia and the President of the Board for Dance Culture of the Education Parliament of Croatia. He is one of the founders of the International Folklore Show in Zagreb, of the Balkan Folklore Festival in Ohrid and of the Yugoslav folklore in Koper, and of the Festival of Međimurje Folklore in Donja Dubrava. Also he was a member of many international juries and boards for the folklore, a representative of former Yugoslavia in the Mediterranean Music Center in Tunis, and in the dance department on the International Folk Music Council. His work was described in many professional publications in the world. He is a member of the Croatian Society of Composers, of the Society of Ballet Artists of Croatia and of the Croatian Society of Folklore Choreographers and Art Directors. He received many awards for his work and the most interesting are:

 

1985 - The award of the Union of Cultural and Art Societies of Beograd for his work on amateur folklore (the only one ever awarded to someone out of Beograd)

1991 - The cultural award of Gradišćanski Hrvati (the first one to be awarded)

Despite not being a member of any party he received medals.

1975 - Medal of Work with red flag

1984 - The Order of Republic with the silver laurel

1996 - The Order of Croatian Danitza with the image of Marko Marulić

1998 - The Order of the Croatian PLETER

 

He has spend all his working years in Zagreb, and since his retirement he lived and worked in Molve, where he passed away on August 03, 2006.

Directors

 

The Artistic Director and Choreographer

 

Stjepan Perko was born in Zagreb in 1981, where he finished Elemntary School and Classical Grammar School. He enrolled ethnology and Croatian language and literature studies in 1999. His engagement in folklore started in 1996 in KUD „Preporod“ as a dancer. He joined Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble Dr. Ivan Ivančan in 1998, where he is still active as a dancer-singer, and from 2005, as the artistic head assistent.

 

He finished the Croatian school of folklore organized by the Croatian Heritage Foundation, where he has been the assistant and demonstrator from 2004-2008. He also attended

 

Goran Knežević’s seminars on children folklore creativity, as well as seminars on application of traditional costumes on stage organized by Folk Costume Manufacturing and Rental Department.

 

From the year 2000 to 2010 he works as the head of the KUD “Preslica” from Zagreb, and KUD “August Cesarec” from Brckovljani.

 

He is a member of the Croatian Musicians Union and Croatian Folk Dance Choreographers and Heads Association.

 

In 2007, he participated for the first time on the Folk Dance Choreography Festival with the choreography “Gde se ljube dva goluba mlada” (Where two young doves are kissing), songs and dances from the Podravina Region.

 

In 2008, he won the 2nd place on the Folk Dance Choreography Festival with the choreography “Pri mladenkine hiže”, a segment from a wedding custom from the Zagreb valley.

 

In 2009, he won the 3rd place on the Folk Dance Choreography Festival with the choreography “Biokovo za oblak se veže, mene srce u Bekiju steže”, folklore motives from Gornja Bekija, Western Herzegovina.

 

In 2010, he won the 1st place on the Folk Dance Choreography Festival with the choreography “Za gorami, dolinami, tam vojaci logruju”, songs and dances of Croatians from the Morava Region (Czech Republic).

 

Musical Director

 

 

Marko First was born on June 15th 1984 in Zagreb, Croatia. He gained his first musical education in Music School "Blagoje Bersa" in Zagreb, taking the violin course, from 1990 to 1999. Soon after he became a member of Zagreb Folkdance Ensemble "dr. Ivan Ivančan". He`s been attending Croatian School of Folklore for many years where he learned to play tamburitzas and different traditional croatian instruments. He graduated from college (Studia Croatica at the University of Zagreb) in 2010, courses philosophy and sociology, with the final paper on the subject "Philosophy of Music: Meaning, Expression and Understanding". During his musical education Marko First also attended jazz workshop in Grožnjan (2011) as well as numerous other workshops.

 

In 2006 he became the artistic director of the Zagreb Folkdance Ensemble orchestra. He colaborated and colaborates with bands, ansambles and musicians such as Massimo Savić, Cinkuši, HRT Jazz Orchestra, Valungari, Miroslav Škoro, Jaques Houdek, Adastra, Picksiebner, Croatian Bagpipe Orchestra, Kvartet Gubec, Drugi način, Damjans (Giipuja), Oridano gipsy jazz band, Mate Matišić, Elma Burnić, Damjan Krajačić, &M Dance Company etc. During the 2010, 2011 and 2015 he performed as a soloist with the 100 Tamburitzas orchestra in Budapest and Zagreb, and also from 2009 to 2011 as a soloist with the Russian National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments "Ossipov", having concerts in Strassbourg, Paris, Moscow and in the General Assembly of the UN in New York. Occasionally performs with HRT Tamburitza Orchestra. As a member of Leibnitz Youth Symphonic Orchestra he participated in a concert in Leibnitz accompanying jazz trumpet player Randy Brecker in 2011.

 

In 2010 Marko First as an music arranger, along with the choreographer Stjepan Perko, won the first prize at the Croatian Choreography Competition for the choreography "Za gorami, dolinami, tam vojaci logruju". He also colaborated with Marko Kovačić (lyrics) and Damir Zagoršćak (music) on a song "San" (writing the arrangement), which in 2013 won the first prize in VGF music festival in Croatia. He is the recipient of "Status" award (awarded by Croatian Musicians Union) for musicianship in year 2014.

 

During the 2010 and 2011 he participated with music group Cinkuši in a theater play named Man Who Saved Europe which was directed by Rene Medvešek in ZKM. In 2014 and 2015 he was a member of the house band on the TV show "Uhvati bingo ritam" (RTL television).

 

Managing Director


Duško Janjatović became a member of “Vlahović” on September 9, 1955. He went to dance school of Dr. Ivan Ivančan and became a member of the concert ensemble. Together with his dancing, he very early took over organization. Ever since 1960 he has organized all concert activities of the ensemble in the country and abroad. He has been selecting young dancers and preparing them for the concert Ensemble. Among many generations under his guidance there were also the last two art directors – Josip Živković and Andrija Ivančan.

He helps all art directors as an assistant and in case of their absence or inability to work, he independently leads the ensemble. He also holds an absolute record in the ensemble – thirty three years of active dancing.

Mr. Janjatović was also the last president of “Joža Vlahović” when it was composed of several departments which later became separate Societies - mixed choir “Emil Cosetto”, dance company “Liberdance”, and the The Zagreb folk dance ensemble Dr. Ivan Ivančan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mentor of the Ensemble

 

 

Andrija Ivančan

Vile Velebita 34

10000 ZAGREB

CROATIA

phone: ++ 385 (0) 1 285 3730

mob: ++ 385 (0) 91 2626-234

ANDRIJA IVANČAN, prof.

Ethnologist and Polonist

(December 30, 1966, Zagreb)

Mr. Ivančan lives in Zagreb where he graduated from the High School of Applied Art, Department of Art Photography Techniques. Afterwards he continued his education at the University of Zagreb – Faculty of Philosophy and received a degree in ethnology and polonistics in 1997. His postgraduate studies include ethnology and cultural anthropology and Mr. Ivančan prepares his Master’s Degree entitled “National Dance Customs of Turopolje”.

Mr. Ivančan started his work in folklore in 1983, when he became a member of the The Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble Dr. Ivan Ivančan (former Youth Cultural and Artistic Society “Joža Vlahović”). He has been the Art Director of the Ensemble since 1989.

Since 1990 until 1994, Mr. Ivančan was employed in the Folk Dance Ensemble of Croatia “Lado” and in 1994 he becomes the only free lance artist in folklore choreography in Croatia and has been the only one ever since.

At four Festivals of Folklore Choreography, as many as have been held in Croatia till today, Mr. Ivančan won three first places, one second place and one third place, the audience award and two awards for costumes.

In the last fifteen years he won many awards with the Zagreb Folk Dance Ensemble at some of the largest world competitions. In Middlesbrough (UK) he won four first prizes, four second prizes and four third prizes, in Dijon (Burgogne, France) he won two bronze medals, in Llangollen (Wales, UK) he won 1st place and the “Gwynn Williams Trophy” for the best performance of the competition and in Zakopane (Poland) he won one 1st prize and one 2nd prize, the audience award and the award of the press.

Furthermore, he is the Art Director of the Croatian School of Folklore at the Croatian Heritage Foundation. He is one of the founders of the Croatian Society of Folklore Choreographers and Art Directors, and has been a member of the Board of Directors since its founding.

Mr. Ivančan is also the official instructor of the Croatian national dances for the Council of International Folklore Festivals and a member of the Croatian Composer Society (HDS) and of the Croatian Society of Professional Ballet Artists (HDPBU).

Mr. Ivančan is the author of several works for the stage which are performed by professional and amateur ensembles in Croatia, Europe, Australia, North and South America. For the last three seasons he creates choreographies and prepares Croatian songs and dances for the stage performance for the Duquesne University Tamburitzans in Pittsburgh, USA.

He is the author of several papers on ethno-choreography, folkloristics and tradition culture.

 

Marko First was born on June 15th 1984 in Zagreb, Croatia. He gained his first musical education in Music School "Blagoje Bersa" in Zagreb, taking the violin course, from 1990 to 1999. Soon after he became a member of Zagreb Folkdance Ensemble "dr. Ivan Ivančan". He`s been attending Croatian School of Folklore for many years where he learned to play tamburitzas and different traditional croatian instruments. He graduated from college (Studia Croatica at the University of Zagreb) in 2010, courses philosophy and sociology, with the final paper on the subject "Philosophy of Music: Meaning, Expression and Understanding". During his musical education Marko First also attended jazz workshop in Grožnjan (2011) as well as numerous other workshops.

 

In 2006 he became the artistic director of the Zagreb Folkdance Ensemble orchestra. He colaborated and colaborates with bands, ansambles and musicians such as Massimo Savić, Cinkuši, HRT Jazz Orchestra, Valungari, Miroslav Škoro, Jaques Houdek, Adastra, Picksiebner, Croatian Bagpipe Orchestra, Kvartet Gubec, Drugi način, Damjans (Giipuja), Oridano gipsy jazz band, Mate Matišić, Elma Burnić, Damjan Krajačić, &M Dance Company etc. During the 2010, 2011 and 2015 he performed as a soloist with the 100 Tamburitzas orchestra in Budapest and Zagreb, and also from 2009 to 2011 as a soloist with the Russian National Orchestra of Traditional Instruments "Ossipov", having concerts in Strassbourg, Paris, Moscow and in the General Assembly of the UN in New York. Occasionally performs with HRT Tamburitza Orchestra. As a member of Leibnitz Youth Symphonic Orchestra he participated in a concert in Leibnitz accompanying jazz trumpet player Randy Brecker in 2011.

 

In 2010 Marko First as an music arranger, along with the choreographer Stjepan Perko, won the first prize at the Croatian Choreography Competition for the choreography "Za gorami, dolinami, tam vojaci logruju". He also colaborated with Marko Kovačić (lyrics) and Damir Zagoršćak (music) on a song "San" (writing the arrangement), which in 2013 won the first prize in VGF music festival in Croatia. He is the recipient of "Status" award (awarded by Croatian Musicians Union) for musicianship in year 2014.

 

During the 2010 and 2011 he participated with music group Cinkuši in a theater play named Man Who Saved Europe which was directed by Rene Medvešek in ZKM. In 2014 and 2015 he was a member of the house band on the TV show "Uhvati bingo ritam" (RTL television).