Dubrovnik, famous for its picturesque old town that features in The Game of Thrones, has its own local show. This live show of traditional Croatian dance and music is presented by the Lindo Folklore Ensemble. Even if you don’t know much about folk dance, it makes for a truly enjoyable, upbeat evening. You can learn more about the decades-old folk troupe and read the show review below.
History of the Lindo Folklore Ensemble
Since the Lindo Folklore Ensemble (or the Folklorni Asambl Lindo) was formed in 1965, more than 3000 people have participated in the Croatian cultural group. The traditional Croatian dancers have performed around the globe, receiving a gold medal at the International Folklore Festival in Dijon (1973); and the troupe regularly performs at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. During other times of the year, visitors can see Croatian dance by the Lindo Folklore Ensemble at Lazareti Dubrovnik.
Lazareti Dubrovnik, the venue for Dubrovnik’s Lindo folk show, can be found in the city’s historical quarantine houses (or Lazzarettos). The complex of interconnected buildings was previously used to protect Dubrovnik’s citizens from disease that could be carried across the seas by international merchants. Now the space is mainly used for recreation and entertainment: music, theatre and art galleries. It’s a quick walk from the old port through the old town’s Ploče Gate. Signs will lead you to ticket collection, where you will be directed to the auditorium.
Traditional Croatian Dance
The Linđo dance, for which the Croatian dance troupe takes their name, was formerly known as kolo poskočica. It is a wheel dance, which is danced in pairs to Croatian music played by the three-string lijerica. Historically, “humorous and spirited songs [accompanied the] fast-moving wheel dances [about] the symbolic regeneration of nature and love affairs,” according to the Folklorni Asambl Lindo virtual museum. And interestingly, Linđo was influenced by Spanish culture – with fingers snapping like the castanets used in flamenco.
But there are plenty of other Croatian traditional dances. Pairs of dancers hold hands during the konavle potkolo, while the lead couple holds a kerchief between them. The moreška is a sword dance, performed only by men, which was historically performed as a battle section within a larger play. The sword dance tradition is still performed today on the island of Korčula weekly throughout the summer and annually on 29 July. At one point, there was also a tailors’ dance and a shoemakers’ dance.
Lindo Traditional Croatian Dance Show
Local musician and AirBNB host, Vlaho, grew up in Dubrovnik’s old town way before the tourism boom, when there were only 500 permanent inhabitants – and he enthusiastically recommends the Lindo folk music and dance show. “They only pick the most talented women to join [the Croatian dance troupe]!” Vlaho explained to my mom and me, as a dreamy look passed onto his face… Popping out of his reverie, he added “and men,” as a clear afterthought. And it’s true, the musicians and dancers of Lindo are pretty impressive.
Dubrovnik’s Lindo folk dance show features a mix of instrumental music, singing and dancing. Since a majority of audience members are likely unfamiliar with Croatian and other Central and Eastern European folk dances, short explanations of each number are announced in English and French throughout the show. The narrations introduce the region where the dances originated and other information about the choreography, the costumes and its sociocultural context. These little guides help viewers to appreciate the nuance of the traditional folk dances.
The melodic sounds wrap around the room, and even with a sold-out show (which means that views can be slightly obstructed, especially if you’re short like me) there is always something to watch. Although you won’t find leaps and pirouettes, like you would find in ballet, the Lindo Dubrovnik group still impresses with their moves. Throughout the many dances, I was particularly fascinated watching the dancers:
1. Coordinate their spacing, while creating interesting floor patterns
2. Spin dizzyingly quickly, solo or with a partner
3. Sing beautifully and loudly, while skipping and jumping in sync
4. Toss props around with the coordination of the Boston Globetrotters
However, the most notable aspect of the show was the sense of community. If you pay attention, you’ll find many genuine smiles between the dancers and friendly nonverbal banter between the Lindo players, trying to “one up” each other. The evening entertainment is quite heartwarming, and it feels special to watch such well-preserved traditions. I was imagining the performers’ ancestors coming together and dancing in celebration as friends – and coyly eyeing other dancers in search of a potential mate.
If You Go to The Lindo Folk Ensemble Show
Show time: 9:30pm, running twice per week on Tuesdays and Fridays in summer
Venue: Lazareti Dubrovnik, near Dubrovnik’s Old Town
Tickets: You can purchase tickets online in advance or when you arrive in Dubrovnik.
Price: 120 kuna (HRK), which is approximately $18.50 (USD), £14.50 (GBP) or €16 (EUR)
All information correct and up-to-date at time of posting.
For more information about dance in Croatia and the Lindo Folklore Ensemble, visit the their webpage – where you can see their beautiful collection of traditional Croatian dress in detail.
Did you manage to see the Lindo Folk Ensemble while you were in Dubrovnik? If so, what did you find most impressive about the show? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!
Disclosure: Dance Dispatches received free admission to the Lindo folk dance show in Dubrovnik for an open and honest performance review.