Celebrating Korcula's Traditions 60 Years Ago: 1958 Kumpanija Sword Dance (VIDEO)

By 3 June 2018

June 3, 2018 - Korcula is an island of great tradition, including sword dancing, a tradition which has changed little over the last 60 years, as this 1958 video shows. 

One does not have to be on the island of Korcula very long to realise it is an island of great tradition and heritage. It was here, for example, that slavery was abolished more than 800 years ago. Korculans are fiercely proud of their traditions - and rightly so - and one only has to walk around the stunningly preserved old town to appreciate the huge influence of the past. 

Come at the right time and you can see some of the famous sword dances on the island. Every Thursday night at 21:00 in Korcula, the Moreska sword dancers will be performing, but this is not the only sword dance. Learn more about Kumpanija, courtesy of the Blato Tourist Board:

The Knight’s society Kumpanija is a folk ensemble that keeps traditional dances and customs from Blato. The most interesting is the sword dance Kumpanija that is accompanied with a drum and a bagpipe. During the summer Kumpanija and other dances are performed weekly on the square in front of the parish church.

Sword dance Kumpanija or “the battle dance“, as it is traditionally called, presents the tradition of the local militia that used to protect the town because there were no walls around it to keep the invaders out. So the people of Blato formed the militia. The practice and exercise of that militia developed into the sword dance.

Accompanied with the drum and the bagpipes, the dancers follow the captain performing a different combination. The dance ends in the sword duels. Very interesting is the dance of the flag-bearer with the flag three meters long and two meters high. The main performance of Kumpanija is on the Day of Blato on April 28. On that occasion, Tanac, couples dance from the end of 17th century, follows the sword dance. During the summer Kumpanija and Tanac are performed weekly on the church square as well as other dances in picturesque costumes.

The Knight’s society Kumpanija was founded in 1927 and is constantly active on keeping Blato’s folklore heritage. The society collects and preserves tangible and intangible heritage of Blato: costumes, music instruments, songs, dances, recipes etc. The society often performs in Croatia and Europe.

Now see the Knight's society Kumpanija performing in Korcula Town some 60 years ago. Beautiful - and not a lot has changed...