The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

Thursday 23 January – Prof. Elsie Dunin

Please join us Thursday January 23, 4.30pm (LOGAN CENTER, Rm. 501) – please note the change from the usual location. This is a collaborative workshop with Center for East Europe and Russian/Eurasian Studies.

We warmly welcome Professor Elsie Dunin who will present the following paper:

 “Forty-Five Years (1967-2012) of a Romani Spring Event in Skopje, Macedonia” 


As a dance ethnologist, my studies focus on continuities and changes of social events with a dancing component. Since 1967 I continue to observe and record a community-wide event of the Romani population in Skopje, Macedonia in relation to their evolving social changes. Most of the dancing took place in public spaces within a framework of a five-day calendar holiday, known with multiple names – Gjurgjovden (St. George’s Day) a Slavic Macedonian term, Erdelezi (coming of spring) a Turkish-based term, and šutalo pani (spring waters) a Romani term. The diminishing public dancing during this event parallels a period that introduces major socio-cultural changes to Romani families such as a change of personal living space (1960s), encouraged education (1970s), and migrant work opportunities (1970s–1980s). After Macedonia’s secession from SRF Yugoslavia in 1991 and into the 2010s there are numerous proselytizing religious groups and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, an emergence of conflicting Romani political parties, and the site of a new United States Embassy for Macedonia where a major part of this community-wide holiday was celebrated. Using the holiday event with its own continuities and changes since 1967, the presentation provides a selected overview of socio-cultural markers in a parallel time period.

Accompanied by PowerPoint the presentation shows selected images and dancing examples from 1967 into 2012.

Elsie Dunin is Professor Emerita (Dance Ethnology), University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and dance research advisor with the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (IEF) in Croatia. Dunin is also active with the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Ethnochoreology and with the Cross-Cultural Dance Resources (CCDR) in Arizona. Her research focuses on the relationship of socio-cultural changes with the continuities and changes in social dance events. Studies have taken place in Macedonia among both Macedonian and Romani populations; with the Croatian diaspora in California, Chile and Australia compared with source emigrant areas in Croatia. Professor Dunin is author, editor, and compiler of numerous publications.

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