Dance as a form of communication that is understood by the whole world, regardless of cultural differences, erases borders, brings people together and nurtures tradition. The professional national ensemble “Kolo” manages to be the guardian of traditional art for 73 years, by processing folk dances, preserving their style and character. Through the style of games, choreographic figures, traditional music, costumes on the stage, they have made a great contribution and recognition to Serbian culture.
Milos Vulovic, one of the top professionals, the most prominent players and the first soloist of the Ensemble “Kolo”, artistic director and choreographer of KUD “Oplenac”, speaks for Dance and the City.
Milos will tell us about what it is like to be a part of the best national ensemble and its artistic form of expression on the stage, how folklore has become his life’s calling, what the game is for him and what he advises young people.
~ When did you realize that folklore would be your life’s calling?
Milos: I started doing folklore as an amateur in 1990 in Badovinci, out of pure love for the danace, which has grown into something more over the years. Going to audition for the National Ensemble “Kolo” – in 2004, I accepted the job of a professional player-singer as a life vocation and commitment.
~ How much has your love of folklore changed your life?
Milos: My love for folk art has definitely influenced and changed my life path and course. If I hadn’t become a professional player today, I would probably be a worker in one of the telecommunications companies (I finished PTT school), a coach in one of the local clubs or a farmer on a family farm. Nevertheless, I became a professional player and with the help of the work we do, my colleagues and I are spreading Serbian culture and tradition around the world. I can freely say that my love for the game changed my life for the better.
~ How does it feel to be a part of the cultural heritage that keeps Serbian folk culture and its reputation from being forgotten?
Milos: Extremely big part, obligation and pleasure! It is a great pleasure to pass on knowledge to new generations, to pass on our culture and tradition to people all over the planet. I think that we as a nation are still not aware of how rich our culture and tradition is, how much we need to know and learn about ourselves. Fortunately, UNESCO and people around the world have a great interest in getting to know and preserving that cultural heritage with our help and knowledge.
~ Folklore requires a lot of physical fitness and is permeated with sports, so what would you compare it to?
Milos: As a man who has been involved in sports and coaching for years, I can say that dealing with folklore, dance, songs, is extremely physically demanding. To be a solid player of a good amateur ensemble, you must have the physical strength and fitness of a first-league professional athlete. The physical strength and condition of a professional player would be somewhere in the rank of trialtons.
After each concert, a professional dancer loses 1.5 to 3 kilograms in an hour and a half as long as one concert lasts on average. The monthly average of the concert is 7-10, and each working-training day of a professional player lasts 4 hours of joint-group work, plus individual work on each individual. I think this best depicts the physical spending of a professional folk dancer-singer.
~ Who was your inspiration and motivation during your life to persevere in what you do?
Milos: My grandparents were my inspiration and motivation, and they raised me in the spirit of the tradition of our people. I have the opportunity to educate a large number of people through work about the values and qualities of our cultural tradition, and that gives me additional motivation and perseverance.
~ What does it mean, in addition to good technical performance, to be a good artist in this type of art?
Milos: In addition to great work, great sacrifice, great perseverance, huge investment in yourself and constant upgrading of your knowledge and physical fitness, you have to be special, different. You have to have that X factor, otherwise you are unrecognizable, in jargon – part of the “mass”.
~ How challenging is it for a choreographer to match the elements of the play, the song, the costumes and the people on stage?
Milos: Huge! Wrong order of dance-songs in choreography means failure of that choreography, not to mention the wrong dance-song, part of the costume (which does not belong to the climate for which you are doing choreography, and that is what happens). It is a debacle for choreography, choreography, and above all a desecration of the tradition and culture of that area. Extreme care must be taken about the choice of dance, steps, melodies, dynamics, the choice of players, soloists who can perform the work, as well as the choice of adequate costumes that give color to the stage. All this is just a good precondition, a good basis, but it does not necessarily mean that the choreographic work will “come to life” in practice, it is the audience that gives and determines the “lifespan” of the choreography.
~ How much did “Kolo” manage to popularize the Serbian cultural heritage in the country abroad and how much did it adapt to the modern way of stage expression over the years?
Milos: I think that “Kolo” managed to bring closer and popularize folk dance, song, music, in the right way. The high quality of the performance of the ensemble “Kolo” has positioned this art house on the highest ladders both in the country and abroad. Concerts on the world’s most prestigious stages in New York, Chicago, Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow, Vienna, Paris, etc… literally on all continents and world capitals, prove how successful “Kolo” is as an ensemble as a presenter of our culture. It is a model for ensembles in the country and abroad, it is the winner of the highest state decorations and one of the best ambassadors of the country in the world.
“Kolo” was one of the implementers and project holders in the entry of “KOLO U 3 and KOLO U 6” on the UNESCO WORLD LIST OF INTANGIBLE GOODS. In 2010, the then Ambassador of Serbia to Japan sent an OPEN NOTE to the President of Serbia, saying that “Kolo” did more at the presentation of Serbia in an hour and a half with a concert in Tokyo than he did for the entire 5-year term.
The ensemble does a lot of work on modernization and follows modern trends, raises its quality and works on the breadth of both playing quality and production newspapers. But we must keep in mind that we are still dealing with the preservation of folk culture, dance, song, music and tradition.
It maintains its visibility and availability on all social networks and internet platforms.
~ Is the interest of today’s youth in the styles of folk dance and folklore the same as before?
Milos: Unfortunately, the interest in physical activity among young people today is much less than in the past, and therefore the interest in folklore is declining.
~ What are your recommendations for young people who would like to pursue this type of art professionally? What can the game teach them?
Milos: The recommendation for all young people is DO DANCE! It has been scientifically proven that people who play are much happier and more satisfied. By playing, you raise your psycho-motor abilities, socialize, get a healthy body. Those who opt for professionalism must be willing to work, perseverance, perseverance and the results will come on their own.
~ What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Milos: I played on all continents, on the best playing stages in the world, I taught and I teach people around the world to play Serbian cars. For the boy from the village, dreams have come true!
~ What is a two-word dance for you?
Photos: private gallery