Serbian Folk Dancing Costume

In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant

 As the daughter of first generation Serbian immigrants, participating in ethnic folk dancing was, let’s say, strongly encouraged throughout my childhood. Each Friday, while my friends attended play dates, I was stuck in a sweaty church hall, alongside other Serbian immigrant children, hopping around to ethnic music. To say that I dreaded Fridays is an understatement. 

I grew older and my passion for the activity flourished. I became involved in a professional Balkan dance group, which practiced several times a week and traveled across the U.S. and Europe to perform. My duties didn’t only lie in dance, but I sang and played instruments, too. However, when I enrolled at NYU, it meant that I would have to leave my group behind. With that, my passion for ethnic dance screeched to a halt and slowly began to fade year after year. 

The items in the attached image are a few original costume pieces that I wore during performances. In this sense, original means that they have been passed down for a century, lightly repaired here and there, kind of like an old building. Costume pieces are passed down, typically from parent to child, often staying in the family, brought back to life with each new generation.

While my personal experience with Serbian ethnic folk dancing is over, I still attend performances and covet my family’s original pieces. And, every so often, I find myself singing cultural songs in the shower.  

– Bojana Galic

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant