Split arose from the palace of a Roman emperor Diocletian where many people have settled from nearby Salona (Solin). It soon became a significant urban and ecclesiastical centre. Administratively, up to the 20th century, it was overshadowed by the northern Zadar. Even though Croatian rulers succeeded from time to time to gain control over Dalmatian towns, their further development will be marked by the centuries-long Venetian rule that reinforced after Croatian united with Hungary. Up to that time, Split has already integrated with its hinterland and gained Croatian character. Split of that time was focused on maritime development. Being a part of the Venetian Republic, it had a perfect conditions to follow the trends of European Mediterranean culture. Humanism and renaissance left indelible mark in the architecture of Split and the way of life.
Folkore in particular reflects these features through typical urban dances, closer for instance to the court dances of Louis XIV than to the rest of Croatia. Upon overseas discoveries Venetian influence has significantly decreased, which in turn influenced the Split economy. Still, important patrician class which dominated over the population from the free hinterland remained untouched. Split traditional dances are characterized by noble bearing, distinguishing style and refine movements, all connected with a typical Dalmatian “fjaka” (similar to leisure time of not doing anything or doing things in a rather slow manner, tiredish like). Folk costumes attract the attention with their gorgeous ravishing look. Traditional Split dances are performed in festive Split costume that gained its final from in the second half of the 19th century. Man’s costume emerged from the Dinara type, while female costume belongs to the Adriatic type. Man’s costume consists of: linen shirt with a hem (“ošvica”), sleeveless waistcoat (“ječerma”), longleeved jacket (“žurka”), trousers (“gaće”), silk levantine belt. Red flat crown hat on the head and high-heel shoes on legs (“gete”). Main parts of female costume are: buttoned waist coat (“korpet”), pleated skirt (“brnica”), short caraco with sleeves (“kurtin”), apron (“traversa”), tying up piece of garment (“fjok”), scarf (“berta”), high-heel black shoes (“gete”) and jewlery.
Female costumes reflect west-European and Mediterranean influences, also visible in dance movements. One of the basic features of the dancing style is elegance and softness of dance moves and subtle, casual vibrations.
Famous choreography of the old Split dances has remained the same for six decades now. It comprises three dances: “monfrina”, “četvorka” and “šaltin polka”. These dances are characterised by the elegant moves, sophisticated posture and soft steps which reveal the influence of west Mediterranean. Choreography is signed by a well-known choreographer and ethnochoreologist Branko Šegović.
Foto: KUD Željezničara Filip Dević