Dancing Through the Summer: Adriana Kangrga’s Amazing Opportunity

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Dancing Through the Summer: Adriana Kangrga’s Amazing Opportunity

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Many students spent this summer sweating in the Arizona heat, waiting for the first sign of rain, or at least a breeze. One of our students, however, spent the summer enjoying the cool climate of the Balkan countries in southeastern Europe while performing traditional Serbian dances.

Adriana Kangrga (11), spent the summer performing traditional Serbian dances through out the Balkan countries. Photo courtesy of Adriana Kangrga.

Adriana Kangrga (11) spent her summer in Serbia, Montenegro, and Republika Srpska visiting many ancient monasteries and performing traditional Serbian dances, known as kolo. Kolo, also known as folkor, consists of a chain of dancers holding hands while dancing in a circle. The dances differ depending on which area they originate from but are a huge aspect of Serbian culture.

Last year Adriana performed at the International Knights Festival here at ACP with the Gavrilo Princip Folklor Group, and this summer, on July 1st, Adriana jetted off to Europe to start her happy vacation. Here’s what she had to say about her spectacular opportunity:

Q: What places did you visit? Which was your favorite? Why?

A: We traveled all over Serbia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, and Montenegro. My favorite place was Trebinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Hercegovina. Trebinje was my favorite because of the scenery. It was extremely peaceful and had a cozy atmosphere, as all of the Balkans do, but Trebinje just gave me a feeling that’s practically indescribable.

Adriana with some of her friends in front of Hram Svetog Save (Saint Sava’s Church) in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. Photo courtesy of Adriana Kangrga.

Q: What monasteries did you see?

A: On our trip we probably visited around 25 different monasteries and churches. Some of these include Studenica Monastery (Brezova, Serbia), Oplenac Church (Topola, Serbia), Hram Svetog Save (Belgrade, Serbia), Tvrdoš Monastery (near Trebinje, Republika Srpska, Bosnia i Hercegovina), Monastery Hercegovačka Gračanica (Trebinje, Bosnia & Hercegoniva), Cetinje Monastery (Cetinje, Montenegro), and Ostrog Monastery (Ostroška Greda, Montenegro).

Q: Who did you perform with?

A: I performed with the Kalemegdan Folkor Group based in Los Angeles, California.

Q: How long have you been performing?

A:  I’ve been dancing Serbian folklor for 13 years.

Q: Where did you perform? What is the name of the dance?

A: We performed in front of Studenica Monastery, First Kragujevac Gymnasium (a specialized school with advanced secondary education), Folk Festival in Dubica, in front of the Church of Saint Prince Lazar, and at a humanitarian event for Stefan Marković (a young boy with cerebral palsy). The names of our dances are Studenica and Bosilegradko Krajište.

Adriana and the Kalemegdan Folklor Group of Los Angeles, California performing in Kragujevac, Serbia. Photo courtesy of Adriana Kangrga.

Q: Are the dances complicated?

A: Depending on what region the dance is from, steps can range from what some may consider easy, to what others may consider difficult. The particular dances we performed have constant footwork with very little breaks or time to breathe, which in my opinion is the hardest part about performing these two dances; you’re constantly moving your feet and gasping for air but have to make it look easy.

Q: How did you feel about the entire trip? Would you do it again?

A: This trip was an experience of a lifetime! I’m so happy that I got to spend the summer performing with some of my best friends. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

A huge thanks to Adriana for taking the time to teach us a little about the Serbian culture! I really enjoyed interviewing Adriana because we’ve known each other for a long time, due to our shared Serbian roots. We both spent the summer visiting family and friends in Serbia, and Adriana got the experience of a lifetime. Hopefully we’ll get to see her perform at International Knights Fest again next year!

To check out Adriana’s performance, click on this link: https://youtu.be/lfB8VF4dRdw