WATERLOO – Nine-year-old Andjela Golub took a break after performing with her Bosnian cultural dance troupe on stage on Saturday night to enjoy traditional Bosnian desserts with her friends.
“We can all have fun, express how we dance, meet new people and make more friends,” she said.
The girls are dancers from KUD Kolo, which means Cultural Artistic Assembly of Dance in Bosnian. They celebrated their 16th birthday in Waterloo with a performance in the West High School auditorium.
Andjela and a few of her fellow dancers, Alissa Kordic, 10, and Dalila Nuhanovic, 9, munched on baklava, hurmasice and tulumba from the bake sale. They said that some dances are difficult to learn, but they like the exercise.
The evening included a program filled with traditional songs and dances from regional Bosnian, Herzegovinian and Balkan cultures.
“Once you get familiar with the dances, the more you learn about our culture,” Andjela said.
KUD Kolo was formed in 2003 to help refugees in Cedar Valley stay connected to their heritage. Most of the members are first- or second-generation immigrants whose parents came to Iowa in the 1990s to escape their country’s civil war.
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“It was very difficult for us to leave Bosnia, but now we have come here and this is our home, so we want to bring our traditions here and say, ‘Thank you guys for welcoming us here. said Rizah Sarajlija, whose wife, son and daughter play. “And we also want to keep this tradition with our children.”
Dance techniques and colorful outfits date back hundreds of years, he said. Funds from the bake sale support Bosnia’s extravagant outfit.
Transmitting historical cultural dances to young people not only fosters an appreciation for traditional music and dance, but it also builds character, teaching young community members how to engage and actively participate in something larger than themselves, said Sarajlija.
Amra Ozegovic, president of KUD Kolo, said the group has stepped up efforts to reach the community through marketing.
The group traveled to other cities in the Midwest to perform as well as the Cedar Valley at the Village Inn and Friendship Village.
“We hope to have a lot more, and the more people there are supporting us, the more we can dance and the more we can dance,” said Andjela.
The group will also perform Thursday at CultureFest at the Waterloo Center for the Arts.
“And we hope everyone can come because you don’t have to be Bosnian, you don’t have to be of any kind of religion or culture to join us. You just have to sign up, think about it and have fun, ”said Andjela.